The inaugural Commonwealth Classic at Richmond Raceway (VA) featured six divisions of short track racers at a famed venue which has hosted NASCAR’s highest level since 1953.  While the lights were on as the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models raced into Saturday evening, the stage was also shared with grassroots racers such as the North East Mini Stock Tour and the Mid-Atlantic Street Stocks.   


Between the two classes, 69 cars started feature races, as those grassroots competitors jumped at the opportunity to compete at Richmond.  However, only two were able to visit victory lane. 


In the North East Mini Stock Tour 25-lap feature, three-time series champion Emerson Cayer scored the victory over Matt Kimball, taking the win with a late-race pass. 


The win came after a long, arduous weekend for Cayer’s team, as mechanical issues riddled throughout Friday and Saturday.


“We had quite a tough break in practice, we blew a motor up and had to change it,” Cayer explained in victory lane.  “We never got any practice after that.  We went out this morning and broke a cylinder head, so we had to change the cylinder head this morning.  Then we had to chase ignition problems.”


Despite the tough luck, Cayer was one of four heat race winners on Saturday, along with Kimball, Desmond Skillings and Shane Canipe. 


After leading a handful of laps, Kimball hung on for a second-place finish before watching his car catch on fire during victory lane ceremonies. Canipe finished third behind Kimball in the feature race, with Nick Maniatis and Zach Audet rounding out the top five.


“I love this place,” Cayer said.  “This is the first time I’ve ever seen it.  I couldn’t be happier.”


“I’ve got to thank [Tom] Mayberry for bringing us out here,” Cayer added.  “It was an epic event, and I know everybody’s going to remember it. Thanks to Richmond Speedway for having us.”


Jason McDowell also overcame plenty of adversity in the Mid-Atlantic Street Stocks.  While Cayer’s issues were mechanical, McDowell ended up on the wrong end of issues on-track with other drivers preparing for the inaugural event during practice.


Nonetheless, McDowell recovered to take the win in the 40-lap Street Stock feature, finishing ahead of a hard-charging Alby Ovitt and Frank Kimmel, II.


“These guys right here, we got wrecked twice in practice this week,” McDowell said.  “They took the whole right side off this car, beat it out, put it back together.  The win is not a one-man deal; it’s my crew, these guys, my spotter.”


Highlights from both the North East Mini Stock Tour and the Mid-Atlantic Street Stock Championship are now available on the Speed51 Network for fans with a premium membership.


Click here to watch the North East Mini Stock Tour highlights.  Click here to watch the Mid-Atlantic Street Stock highlights.


-Story by: Zach Evans, Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans

-Photo credit: / Evan Canfield

Grassroots Racers Enjoy the Trip to Richmond Victory Lane