The first weekend of March served as the official kickoff to the 2016 racing season for a number of short tracks throughout the country this past weekend.  Caraway Speedway (NC), Hickory Speedway (NC) and Dillon Motor Speedway (SC) all hosted their first events of the new season and there certainly wasn’t a lack of excitement or storylines.

 

To get you caught up with all the big stories from this past weekend in the Carolinas and throughout the country, Speed51.com powered by JEGS presents you with a list of top 10 stories from the weekend.

 

A full list of winners from the weekend, as well as upcoming events, can be seen by visiting the PFC Brakes racing calendar.

 

graphic-51-network-ad1. Instead of Going Home, Setzer Goes to Victory Lane at Dillon

At the end of Friday night’s practice session for Saturday’s Pro All-Stars Series South Super Late Models South Carolina Clash 125 at Dillon Motor Speedway, Brandon Setzer and his team thought about loading up and heading home instead of racing on Saturday evening.  Instead they choose to swap engines, and that was a decision that paid off Saturday when he pulled his No. 6 Super Late Model into victory lane.

Highlights from the 150-lap race can be seen now on the Speed51 Network.

 

2. Millington Upsets LMSC Veterans to Take Hickory Opener

Coming into Saturday’s Paramount Kia Big 10 Challenge Series season opener at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway, 14-year-old Ryan Millington had just a couple Limited Late Model starts in 2015 at another track as his only Late Model experience.

When the checkered flag flew Saturday, he stood alone in Victory Lane, now 1-for-1 in his Late Model Stock Car career.

 

Tommy Lemons, Jr. celebrates after winning the season opener at Caraway. (Speed51.com photo)

Tommy Lemons, Jr. celebrates after winning the season opener at Caraway. (Speed51.com photo)

3. Lemons Cures His Flu by Winning Caraway Season Opener

One day after flu-like symptoms sidelined Tommy Lemons, Jr. from practicing his Late Model Stock Car at Caraway Speedway, the Troy, North Carolina driver earned his second victory of the 2016 season.

 

4. Purdy Sweeps Greenville Pickens Opener, Gibson DQ’d

On a sunny South Carolina Saturday, the Greenville-Pickens Speedway unveiled their 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season in front of a huge crowd in a six division, seven feature show headlined by Twin 75’s for the late model stock division, Chase Purdy stole the first of the two 75’s on the last lap from Trey Gibson, but Gibson made sure the youngster never got close in race two as he put his No. 112 in victory lane.

However, a disqualification of Gibson’s car in post-race tech handed the win back to Purdy for the sweep of the two events.

 

5. RoC Owner Releases Statement on Dispute with Former Owner

Ken McGuire, the attorney representing current Race of Champions owner Joe Skotnicki, released a statement on his client’s behalf Friday afternoon in an attempt to clarify the current legal dispute between Skotnicki and former series owner Andrew Harpell.

 

Bryan Clauson drove from third to first on the final lap to win in Las Vegas. (Photo credit: USAC)

Bryan Clauson drove from third to first on the final lap to win in Las Vegas. (Photo credit: USAC)

6. Clauson Goes Third-to-First on Final Lap to Win in Vegas

Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. came from third place on the final lap to win Friday night’s 5th FVP “Sin City Showdown” USAC West Coast/Southwest Sprint race at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Battling Stevie Sussex and Brady Bacon through the closing laps, Clauson emerged from the three-way fight exiting turn four and grabbed the checkered flag.

 

7. Donny Schatz Finds Luck Friday in Las Vegas

Donny Schatz fell out of the top five on the initial start of the FVP Outlaw Showdown presented by Dollar Loan Center on Friday night at The Dirt Track at Las Vegas, but he battled his way back to the front and took the lead with four laps remaining to score his second World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series victory of the season.

 

8. ‘Luck of the Dice’ Leads Beckner to King of the Blacktop Win

Heading into Saturday night’s Sportsman King of the Blacktop 100 at Desoto Speedway, Earl Beckner had a simple strategy: ride in the top 15 and then get to the top 10 to get to the final 20-lap shootout.

Beckner did just that, finishing in the top 10 in the first segment and landing in the perfect spot for the inversion of the final segment of the elimination-style race. That gameplan – coupled with a little help from Lady Luck – saw Beckner take the main event and earn the crown of King of the Blacktop for the Sportsman for 2016.

 

Shane Stewart celebrates a win for the first time in 2016. (World of Outlaws photo)

Shane Stewart celebrates a win for the first time in 2016. (World of Outlaws photo)

9. Stewart Gets Back in the Saddle With Desert Shootout Win

Shane Stewart overtook Joey Saldana early in the inaugural 30-lap NAPA Desert Shootout feature on Sunday night at Arizona Speedway then dominated the remaining laps to score his first victory of the 2016 World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series season.

 

10. Sanders Shines in Bona Fide USMTS Barnburner in Oklahoma

Twenty-four hours after winning Friday’s feature race, Rodney Sanders was back in victory lane Saturday after winning the 50-lap main event at the Southern Oklahoma Speedway to put the wraps on USMTS Winter Speedweeks.

-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51

Top 10: Short Track Racing Stories From the Weekend