An exhilarating battle at I-77 Speedway (WV) produced a first-time winner in the FASTRAK Racing Series, as Freddie Carpenter charged from the 13thstarting spot to win the UBB 29 Miners Memorial.
While most competitors stayed glued to the bottom line in the early stages of the 40-lap feature, Carpenter quickly attacked the high line, charging through the field. In the end, it was that high line that proved victorious for the Parkersburg, West Virginia native.
The win didn’t come easily, however, battling the likes of two-time defending UBB Memorial winner Benji Hicks and 2018 FASTRAK World Championship winner Logan Roberson at the finish.
“The top side was the line, baby,” said an ecstatic Carpenter in victory lane. “These guys are tough. I battled, battled, battled right down to the wire.”
For Carpenter, the win carries significant meaning in his home state. Not only was I-77 a frequent visit for him during his formative racing years, but the UBB Memorial is a special event in honor of the 29 coal miners who lost their lives in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster of April 5, 2010.
“Man, It feels good. It feels awesome to win one for those miners who lost their lives. This is kind of my home track. I raced here for years and years. I would drive by a track five minutes from my shop to come here and race. This place is like home, and I’ve always liked the high line.”
All of the podium finishers enjoyed charges through the field on the racy I-77 Speedway surface. Roberson finished second after starting eighth, while third-place runner Nick Schlager started 15th, directly behind Carpenter on the inside line.
Roberson left pleased with his run and excited to compete in such a thrilling event.
“That was a fun race,” said Roberson. “Congrats to [Carpenter]. I hope you fans enjoyed that. If we had about five more laps it would have been fun, but at the end of the day, he won the race, I finished second. Congrats to him and his crew.
“We were racing three-wide,” added Roberson. “Congrats to the guys who prepared this track. By the end of the night, it was an amazing track to race on.”
Roberson lost some time and ground to Carpenter battling with Benji Hicks for the second spot, but Roberson didn’t want to rough up the Mount Airy, North Carolina native for the spot.
“I wish I could have gotten by him quicker and made a better race for it,” said Roberson. “He runs me clean, I run him clean, we have respect for each other and I don’t want to lose it. We had a good night, rebounded from a bad qualifying effort.”
Schlager made the trek from Lavonia, Georgia in his pursuit of the FASTRAK Racing Series championship, entering the race second in points behind Carson Ferguson by 28 markers. At first, it looked like it would be a long night for Schlager in his first-ever trip to I-77 Speedway, but he quickly adapted for a strong points night.
“We started 15th. I didn’t think I was going to like this place,” admitted Schlager. “We drove eight hours to get here, didn’t know anything about this place. We made it here, drove it all the way through the field. We had a good piece at the end.”
Schlager noted that on the slick race track, saving his tires while the battles raged around him proved critical in the run.
“We just tried to take it easy there,” said Schlager. “It’s the first time I’ve driven on anything this slick. We ran quarter-throttle the whole race and stayed the same speed. People started falling off, so we made our way up there.”
Fans who missed Friday’s exciting UBB 29 Miners Memorial can watch a replay of Speed51’s Summer Thunder TV broadcast of the FASTRAK Racing Series feature by clicking here.
The FASTRAK Racing Series moves on to Tyler County Speedway (WV) on Saturday as part of a West Virginia doubleheader weekend, competing in the $7,000-to-win Great American Crate Race. Speed51, the Official Video Home of the FASTRAK Racing Series, will be there as well to provide post-race highlights and more from the event.
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-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo