Dudley Tops Franklin County Opener
CALLAWAY, Va. – Three-time and defending Franklin County Speedway track champion Kyle Dudley began his championship defense in style with a victory in the Racing Dynamiks 200 on Sunday.
Dudley inherited the lead on lap 77 when race leader Mike Looney dropped off the pace due to an electrical problem.
“We struggled a little bit yesterday,” Dudley said. “We weren’t perfect today by any means. We got it dialed in well enough to get a win and that’s all you can ask for. This crew worked their butts off on this thing. I didn’t know if we were going to make it but to come out here and get a win in a big race like this, it finally feels good.”
Dudley made a statement from the minute he unloaded. He set the fast time in qualifying with a lightning quick 14.438 second lap. Dudley lined up for the race in the fifth position after the top five cars were inverted putting Bobby Gillespie on the pole for the race.
Gillespie and Kevin Parker staged a classic duel in the first half of the race. They raced side-by-side for the opening 16 laps before Parker finally got out in front. On a lap 25 restart, Gillespie retook the top spot. A few laps later, the caution waved again and, on the ensuing restart, it was Parker who again took the lead. Kyle Dudley passed Gillespie for second at lap 46.
After the halftime intermission, the action resumed with Mike Looney working his way up to second on lap 63. Looney raced side-by-side with Parker for several laps before taking the lead on lap 70. Seven laps later, Looney’s car slowed on the backstretch allowing Kyle Dudley to inherit the lead and the win. Dudley held off Brian Sutphin in the closing laps to score the victory.
Sutphin, a former race winner at Franklin County Speedway, took his second place finish in stride.
“We had a pretty decent car,” Sutphin said. “We didn’t have anything for Kyle there. He had us by a little bit but I think we did well just getting out here to drive. He had a little better car than we did but that’s the way it goes.”
Eric Winslow, making his first ever start at Franklin County, came away with a third place finish.
“We’ve been coming down here to run,” Winslow said. “I’ve got to thank all the fans for coming out. Langley’s got a really good thing going here and I’m looking forward to coming out the rest of the year. It was a blast. The car was super tight. Finally, when the tires and fuel got off of it, it started to turn. If we had another 20-30 laps or a caution, I would’ve been happy. The car’s in one piece and that’s what it’s all about.”
Kevin Parker finished in the fourth position after leading 53 laps while Josh Hale finished in fifth.
Brittany Cockram rebounded from a late race spin off the front bumper of eventual second place finisher Haley Holdren in the Mod-4 feature to score the victory and begin the defense of her championship in victory lane.
“I had to work for this one,” Cockram said. “I’m glad I didn’t give up. That’s all you’ve got to do is keep on going. I’m glad to be back and I’m glad to have this opportunity to win in the first race.
Chris Amos and Chad Burnopp treated the fans to an instant classic in the Street ModZ race. Amos had a huge lead but saw the lead disappear in the final 10 laps as a hard charging Chad Burnopp got to his rear bumper. Burnopp tried everything short of wrecking Amos to make the pass but Amos held him off to score the victory.
“To be honest, it wasn’t until I saw five laps to go that I checked out my rear-view mirror,” Amos said. “I didn’t realize how close Chad was. There aren’t many people at this track when I see in my rear view mirror that I know I need to start knuckling up and pushing down a little bit harder. Chad’s one of them and he ran me clean and I’m glad. Great racing and everything today, I’m glad everything came together and it’s just a great day. Great crowd today as well. I don’t think I was alive the last time I saw a crowd like this which I guess means I couldn’t actually see it. I had a blast and everything and I hope the rest of the season goes the same way.”
Danny Bush scored the victory in a thrilling street stock race over Dillon Crouch and EL Webb. Bush raced side-by-side with eventual fourth place finisher Paul Caldwell for much of the race. Bush took the lead from Caldwell on lap 12 but had to survive a handful of restarts to score the victory over Dillon Crouch and E.L. Webb.
“It was a good run,” Bush said. “Thanks Paul for running me clean. I guess we’ll be back here next race. We’ve got a few bugs to work out. Last year, I had to go to the beach. We’re going to try a little harder to win that championship this year.”
W.J. Altizer had a full straightaway lead over defending track champion Chad Ricker but Ricker was able to negotiate lapped traffic a little better than Altizer and ran him down and made the winning pass on Altizer on lap 21 of the 25 lap U-CAR feature.
“The lapped traffic really helped,” Ricker said. “Starting in the back was a feat. We just tried to take our time and work toward the front. I’ve got some good spotters that got me through traffic. To have a dream year we had last year and come up and start off this way, I’m freaking excited. I’m pumped.”
Buck Mitchell made the winning on lap 15 of the 25 lap Mini-Cup race, passing Casey Cupp to score the victory.
“Casey and Jeff made it hard on me,” Mitchell said. “I’m so excited. I hope everyone enjoyed the race.”
Casey Cupp was stripped of his second place finish after failing post-race technical inspection due to carburetor issues. That moved David Burnett up to second and placed Amanda Harrison on the podium.