The second round of the 2019-2020 Fall-Winter season for the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour shifted to one of the great Late Model venues in the nation: Five Flags Speedway for the Carolina Sim Works 100. After just missing the pole to start off the night, Brandon Wilkinson found redemption at the completion of the 100-lap race, taking down his first win of the season.
It was a race of daring moves for Wilkinson over the 100-lap distance, first dodging a spinning Bryan Narducci after contact from the No. 27 of Parker Brookfield sent the No. 01 spinning in front of the then third-place Wilkinson. Then, after reclaiming the lead from the outside after falling to second on pit stops, Wilkinson threw a big block going into turn three on eventual race runner-up Joey Bailey.
“When the 27 (Brookfield) wrecked Narducci down in one we were able to miss that," Wilkinson said. "Blanchard was able to beat us off pit road, but we were able to get him on the restart there from the top. Joey had a good run off two, I had buzzed my tires on the restart going on the green flag. We were just a little loose there. Joey had a good run and I didn’t want to give it up, so I used the ole left-rear, thought I was clear low and I came down."
Despite it being a close call, the real-world spotter from Ashaway, Rhode Island was determined to get the job done for his loyal team and supporters.
“I just didn’t want to lose the race for all the guys at Epyk Media, Drew Kreibich and all the guys at The Posse. They give a lot of time into this stuff and make me competitive every week. So, I wanted to win this for them. Tommy Catalano and Rocket Performance out of New York, the Parent family, Reagan and Raymond Parent watching me is always cool. It’s great with all your friends watching you.”
Despite a cleaner race than the opening round one week prior at New Smyrna Speedway, there was still a case of yellow fever during the 100-lap show. It left Wilkinson feeling fortunate to have started the night with a nearly perfect time trial run.
“Qualifying is important, it keeps you up front. I was a little upset when Narducci beat us by two-one thousandths. There’s a lot of guys together by about two to three tenths of a second and I don’t think a lot of people realize how close that is. At the end, we’re playing a game of inches and some people go a little over that limit. Once we weeded out over the first couple of cautions, the track position we had we capitalized.”
Joey Bailey held off Matt Shinoski for the second-place position, while Ken Zeames and Ryan Blanchard rounded out the top five.
Next up for the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour is Myrtle Beach Speedway on Tuesday, October 29.
Every race on the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour schedule can be viewed live and on-demand on Speed51.com for free.
To watch a replay of Tuesday night's race at Five Flags, click here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT