Here’s a quick look at some of the names and news coming out of the Southeast region – Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia – in the past few days:
Billy Moyer Jr. Takes Indefinite Leave From Racing
Rising Southeast Dirt Late Model star Billy Moyer Jr. has surprised many with his announcement that he’s taking a break from full-time racing. He had broken through last season with three victories in $10,000 to win races and had been running Lucas Dirt full time this season. You can read an excellent interview with Moyer done by our friends at DirtOnDirt.com by clicking this link. Here are some direct thoughts from Moyer from his official announcement.
“I’ve been around racing my entire life, and I’ve come to a point where I just need a break to focus on different priorities. Plain and simple my heart is just not in it right now. It’s not fair to my team, my sponsors, my crew, or my fans to keep going if I’m not giving it 110% each and every night.
“I’ve got more sponsorship help than I’ve ever had in my career, and I’m so grateful to them. On the same token I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I was accepting their sponsorship and not giving them my total effort in return.
“I’ve come to realize that I need to put my family, loved ones, and friends first in my life. I want to give back to them before any more time slips away. From going to birthday parties to tee-ball games to family gatherings, I want to more involved in their lives. It’s who I want to be. If racing comes into the picture again down the road, then so be it, but for now it’s no longer my top priority.
“I’m going to definitely miss seeing so many of my friends at the track, and I’m sure at some point I will miss driving as well. I just really want to thank all of my great family, friends, fans, and sponsors, who have stood behind me. I hope everyone can understand that this is something that I have to do.”
VanDyke Opens The Floodgates
Kres VanDyke had a dream weekend this past Friday and Saturday as he swept all three Late Model Stock Car events he competed in. Friday night, with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, in attendance, VanDyke swept into the lead at Kingsport Speedway on the first circuit was never headed in route to his second victory of the young Kingsport season.
Saturday, VanDyke competed a few miles up the road and over the Virginia border at Lonesome Pine Raceway. The setting change was no matter for VanDyke as he would take both 25-lap twin features. He started on the pole in route to the victory in race #1, while he made short work of an inverted field in race #2 to coast to the sweep.
VanDyke, last year’s Kingsport champion, finished 7th in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title hunt last year. With this early season success, the coal miner by trade from Abingdon, Virginia should start the year off near the top of the rankings.
A lot of people are already writing this season off as another Late Model Stock car battle between Lee Pulliam, Tommy Lemons, Deac McCaskill, and Peyton Sellers for the national crown. But there’s no reason to think VanDyke, who has already won 2/3rd of the races he did last year, can’t be in that conversation too.
Second-Generation Driver Finds Greenville Victory Lane
Anthony Anders may have hung up the helmet to promote Greenville-Pickens this season, but his son Brandon Fox may well carry the family torch for years to come. Fox finished second to his father in last year’s Greenville track standings but could never crack victory lane.
That changed this past Saturday when Fox beat David Roberts and Tasha Kummer for victory in the 100-lapper. It marks Fox’s first career victory in a late model.
“I guess I have run about 50 races, in all,” Fox said. “With dad being the promoter now, instead of a driver, I am limited to racing only in the long races. This was an agreement voted on by the other drivers at the pre-season LMSC rules meeting. But, by showing I can be a race-winning driver, maybe I will have a chance to do a bit of traveling and get to race somewhere else while dad promotes Greenville-Pickens.”
Van Wieringen Makes Good and Bad CARS Tour History
Dominique Van Wieringen had her most impressive outing with NEMCO Motorsports to date when she competed with the CARS Super Late Model Tour at Orange County Speedway (NC) Saturday evening. She made some neat history in the process, before a scary end to the evening.
The first Canadian and female driver to compete in the Tour, she also became the first female driver to lead a major Super Late Model race in the Southeast region since Tammy Jo Kirk’s All Pro days in 1996.
Still, the night was not to be Van Wieringen’s as her car billowed into smoke on lap 86 and then caught flame as the oil pan ignitied as she made her way down pit road. She was able to exit the car under her own power, but due to smoke inhalation, she was brought to a local hospital for overnight observation.
Van Wieringen made the following post on her Facebook page Sunday morning:
“So it was a crazy night tonight. We started off the race strong and even lead about 30 laps. Was saving tires for the end of the race before we had a mechanical problem that resulted in a fire. I inhaled a lot of smoke so I’m in the hospital to make sure everything is all right. I should be good to go for next weekend.”
Carolina Clash Title Door Open
We are just four races into a 22-race Carolina Clash season, but the title is beginning to look as though it may become more of a perfect attendance grade than anything else.
Last season, eight drivers competed in all 17 races while Kenny Compton took advantage when prolific winner Dennis Franklin skipped two races.
This season, only three drivers have competed in all three races thus far. Every winner has skipped at least one race up to this point. Points leader Doug Sanders has just a 5th and a 7th to highlight his season thus far, but he’s taken advantage of being at every race.
For one of the most prestigious Dirt Super Late Model series in the country, someone needs to step up and truly prove some championship mettle.
Bowman Gray Fans Should Check Road Closure Information
Continuing construction of a new highway through Winston-Salem will affect the Bowman Gray Stadium traffic patterns for one more season. Fans already familiar with last year’s detours should still look up 2015 traffic patterns as they differ slightly from 2014’s.
The East, South, and West lots will be the only ones open for this season while no parking zones along surrounding streets will be heavily enforced. Check the graphic below for more information.
Speed51.com will have live Trackside Now of the Hayes Jewelers 200 season-opening event Saturday from The Madhouse.
— Story by Tim Quievryn, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @thethirdturn
— Some quotes provided by official track & driver press releases
— Photo credit: Heath Lawson Photography