The 16th Annual “East Coast Rumble” kicked off Friday at Princeton Speedway (WV), beginning the traditional FASTRAK Racing Series’ Labor Day weekend battle for the Heavyweight Championship belt. The weekend began with the $2,000-to-win opener at Princeton Speedway nestled off I-77 in magnificent West Virginia. At the conclusion of the 40-lap feature, Carson Ferguson from Charlotte, NC put his Rocket XR1 chassis in victory lane for the fourth time at four different race venues for 2019 to continue his quest as FASTRAK’s $10,000 national touring champion and first ever back-to-back Rumble champion.
The race would feature Fairfield, Virginia’s Samuel Bryant leading the field to the initial green for five circuits. On lap five of the feature, he’d hook a rut exiting turn four, shooting up the track and allowing Ferguson to take the top spot. Bryant would fight through lap traffic to continue his hot pursuit of Ferguson.
That pursuit ended on lap 34, as Bryant spun after contact with the wall as the duo negotiated traffic. No damage resulted from the incident, but Bryant had to restart at the tail end of the lead lap. This would give veteran Eddie Hambrick the second position to try and force an upset.
That would not happen as Carson Ferguson would take the $2,000 pay day to open up the Labor Day weekend triple header of speed in front of the enthusiastic faithful at Princeton that concluded the track’s 2019 mini race season. With Ferguson taking the win, Schalger would have a soild night with a top three podium finish to mount pressure on down the stretch with $10,000 up for grabs.
Friday marked Ferguson’s first-ever trip to Princeton, but he quickly figured out the package needed to score the victory.
“We had a basic idea for this place never racing here before hot laps,” said Ferguson. “Then, we made adjustments from there to build on throughout the night.
He was also thankful to not be collected in Bryant’s misfortune six laps shy of the finish.
“Getting around lapped cars coming to the end, the #99 [of Bryant] clipped the inside wall,” said Ferguson. “Such a tough break for him but I’m fortunate we didn’t get collected too.”
Bryant took full blame for the incident and missing out on a shot at a win. Bryant ultimately finished 10th in the race.
“This night is all my fault, just my own driver error,” said Bryant. “We ran up on traffic, the #00 locked up the brakes and I just slipped in the process. Man, I wanted to win this thing and had a legitimate shot. Overall, hell, I couldn’t ask for a better car.”
Hambrick’s runner-up finish was a career-best with the FASTRAK Racing Series. That – and a flip of a coin – convinced him to make the trip to Tyler County Speedway for the second round of the East Coast Rumble, held in conjunction with the Hillbilly 100.
“We are just very happy with 2nd, it’s the best finish on the FASTRAK touring program we’ve ever had,” said Hambrick. “We called heads; the crowd wants us there guess what, we’ll be at “The Bullring” Saturday.”
Championship contender Nick Schlager rounded out the podium, rebounding from a struggle last weekend at Virginia Motor Speedway in the Prelude to the FASTRAK World Championship. It was a strong run, but still a night that saw him lose ground to Ferguson in the title hunt.
“Last week we had bent things on the car at Jamaica, we turned things around having a solid finish,” said Schlager. “Just searching for the two extra spots, but man, Carson is killing me, that’s his fourth [win].
“We just have to put our heads together and find a way to close in on these points, but I want a FASTRAK touring win too, we’ll see what happens next two evenings at Tyler County.”
The FASTRAK Racing Series powered by Chevrolet Performance will now embark on a double-header weekend paying $2,000 to win to close out the 16th Annual FASTRAK East Coast Rumble, partaking in the 51st Annual “Hillbilly 100” weekend at “America’s Baddest Bullring,” Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, West Virginia.
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Unofficial Results – East Coast Rumble Round #1
Princeton Speedway (Princeton, WV) pending tire samples
- 00 Carson Ferguson
- 45 Eddie Hambrick
- 22 Nick Schalger
- 68 Tyler Cox
- 39 Henry Hornsby III
- 2 Michael Bland
- 99 Patrick Solari
- 18 TJ Salango
- 33g Shane Greco
- 99b Samuel Bryant
- 225 Ted Johnson
- 57j Joseph Zupanick
- 01 Matt Glanden
- 316 Jim Rader
- 23 Easton Fortner
-Story by: Wesley Outland, Speed51.com – Twitter: @wesleyoutland
-Photo credit: Speed51.com