JACKSONVILLE, NC – Rusty Daniels snapped a winless streak dating back to 2017 with a dominant performance in Saturday night’s American Heroes Tribute at Goodyear All American Speedway.
Daniels, who won a championship at the 4/10-mile track in Jacksonville in 2009, started the race in the second position but quickly raced his way past pole-sitter Brandon Clements to take the lead. From there, he never looked back as he cruised to his first win since winning a 100-lap Limited Late Model race at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama in 2017.
I’m going to be honest with you, I owe it all to Kevin [Bell] for believing in me for one thing and we got this car,” Daniels said in victory lane. “It’s been sitting in the garage for three years and his wife got on him and said we’re going to finish it. Since July 4th, we’ve been pounding on this thing to get it done. We got it done and we came Tuesday and rode, real good piece. Andy [Smith] hadn’t even seen it. He couldn’t come, he had to work. This is his first time. We ran two practices, made some adjustments, and here we are. It’s amazing to have technology like everyone else.”
Daniels, who was emotional in victory lane, thanked his friends and family who have stuck with him over the years as he’s continued racing through trial and triumph.
“I’ve got to thank all my family for putting up with this crap,” Daniels remarked. “I work a lot of hours. A lot of things go un-talked about. My mom and dad, my number one fans, they’ve been beside me for a lot of years. For my dad to get to see me win again is awesome. Andy Smith, can’t describe a friendship you’ve got in somebody like him and myself. We’ve been racing together since 2007. It’s an awesome relationship.”
Daniels’ last win at the track, which previously ran under the name Coastal Plains Raceway, came in 2012 driving for Donald Chase. Since then, he’s also won races at Southern National Motorsports Park and at the now-defunct East Carolina Motor Speedway in Robersonville.
Daniels also thanked runner-up finisher Brandon Clements for racing him clean.
Veteran racer Louis White finished in third.
Trey Massengill picked up his first win in the Goodyear All American Speedway era on Saturday night, edging out Josh Eubanks in a photofinish.
Initially, based on electronic scoring, Eubanks had been declared the winner, but the finish was immediately placed under review and, after reviewing videotape provided by Speed51.TV, the result was overturned and Massengill was awarded the victory.
“We both use the same engine builder, Matt Broughton, he does a fantastic job putting these motors at the front of the pack,” Massengill said. “They’ve got amazing power. Helps us out tremendously while we’re at the track. Thank him and my whole racing team enough. We all come out here together and have a great time and do every time we come out here.”
Massengill dedicated his win to Mark Watson, a longtime racer who has been a fixture in the racing community in Eastern North Carolina for a generation. Watson is in the hospital recovering from COVID-19.
Legends driver Billy Hall, who sustained injuries a few years ago in a crash at Southern National Motorsports Park, also raced to victory lane on Saturday night and, like Massengill, dedicated his win to Watson.
“Glad to win one for Mark Watson,” Hall said. “We’re continuing to pray for his recovery as he battles complications from COVID-19.”
Travis Miller scored the win in a sensational Mini Stock race over Joseph Pittman, who had at one point looked like he was done for the night when flames erupted under the hood of his car. However, the issue was minor and Pittman rejoined the race and charged back up to second.
After winning the race, Miller gave his race winning trophy to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, presenting it to Deputy Phillips in victory lane. Phillips participated in the 9/11 tribute during pre-race festivities and paced the field during caution laps.
“It’s an honor and privilege to come out here on this special occasion and I’m a proud American,” Miller said. “No better great Americans than our law enforcement, first responders and military guys. On behalf of all my sponsors, we want to present you with this trophy and thank you for all you do for our community.”
Kevin Benton (Street Stock), Tyler Stalls (Bomber) and D.J. Murphy (Street Legal Drag Races) also scored victories during the racing program.
The next race at Goodyear All American Speedway will take place on Saturday, September 25th, featuring Super Trucks, Mini Stocks, U-CARs, Champ Karts, Legends and Street Legal Drag Races at the 4/10 mile track.
Goodyear All American Speedway is Jacksonville’s Action Attraction featuring racing and other events. For more information about Goodyear All American Speedway, check out the speedway’s website, like/follow “Goodyear All American Speedway” on Facebook, or follow the track on Instagram.
-Goodyear All American Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Eric Creel