SWANSBORO, NC – Chris Burns and Joshua Yeoman made sure the fans got their money’s worth in Saturday night’s race at Carteret County Speedway.
The two drivers swapped the lead several times during the 60 lap Late Model feature race which headlined the season opening event at the 4/10-mile track in Swansboro, North Carolina. The battle for the win ended up being decided with five laps to go when Yeoman got loose exiting the corner prior to the two drivers making contact, sending Yeoman around.
“Nothing against Chris, he drove me clean,” Yeoman, who ended up finishing third, said. “My car was just really loose there at the end. It’s really disappointing, really heartbreaking.”
Burns went on to hold of a challenge from pole-sitter Kenneth Mercer in a five lap shootout to score the victory, his first of the season.
“We’ve worked our tails off,” Burns said in victory lane. “Many long nights and many laps around this place. We’ve burned some fuel out here. This is a great place. Josh raced me great. To race side-by-side like that on the outside and not get run into, that’s great. I got into him in turn two. He got a little loose and I checked up a little bit and thought he had it under control and he got back loose. I wouldn’t ever race anybody like that intentionally and I know he knows that.”
Burns took the lead from Mercer in the opening laps of the race but surrendered the lead on lap six to Yeoman. Burns regained the position on lap 12 only to surrender it again on lap 30. Shortly after that, the two drivers raced side-by-side for around 15 laps, swapping the lead back and forth prior to the incident on lap 55.
“There’s not as much grip up there as there is on the bottom but we made it work,” Burns said about the thrilling side-by-side duel that excited a near capacity crowd. “It was a little free on the outside but we stuck it there for a little while. Saw Zach [Henshaw] coming up in the rear view mirror so we had to readjust our situation there and get back to the inside.”
Henshaw finished in fourth place, behind Burns, Mercer and Yeoman. Jim Kelley was unable to start the race after a rear end gear broke during pace laps.
Jesse Council, who picked up a win in the inaugural race at Carteret County Speedway last September, led the field to the green flag in the 35 lap Street Stock feature. Council appeared to have the fastest car until an early race caution and restart allowed Jonathon Belfiore to catch back up. Belfiore took the lead on lap 12 and never looked back en route to victory.
“The caution definitely helped me out,” Belfiore said. “He was fast and I was trying as hard as I could and, honestly, I needed that caution. Once we got past a couple lapped cars, I gained a little room on him and I just kept pulling and saw him come back but I wasn’t worried. This wins means a lot to me.”
Michael Rouse led wire-to-wire to claim the victory in the 40 lap Mini-Stock feature over Travis Miller and Travis Provost. Former Southern National Motorsports Park U-CAR division champion James Stroud scored the win in the U-CAR feature over Travis Miller and Jesse Jones and Brent Irving scored the win in an entertaining Legends feature over Billy Hall and Justin Mitchell.
The next race at Carteret County Speedway will be on Saturday, May 28th, featuring Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini-Stocks, U-CARs, Legends, Bandoleros and the Southern Ground Pounders Vintage Racing Club.
-Carteret County Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Alicia Hackett/Frameworks Photography