Race draws the biggest crowd in track history
The biggest weekend of Elkins Raceway racing for the year was planned for last Friday and Saturday nights along with the Wall of Fame induction ceremony planned for Saturday afternoon.
On Friday afternoon, a crazy storm passed through the area and flooded the track and pit areas. The Red Frederick Memorial had to be postponed yet again.
The make-up date for this big event will be announced a little later. On Saturday afternoon, the weather was beautiful and the 2017 class of inductees included Bolton Motors, George “Wimpy” Cutlip, Karl D’Anselmi, Deck Defibaugh, Glen Groves, Harold Herring, Mike McGuire, Don Semmelman, Gene Tallman, and Paul Wilmoth Sr.
The 2016 honorees were also added to the Wall of Fame. The group was well-represented by drivers, car owners and families. In no particular order the inductees included: Drivers Eugene Towson from Boothsville, Jewel Carson from Weston, Bill Weese from Elkins, Steve Helmick from Bridgeport, Gary Bates from Brown, Dave Kurtz from Weston and Jack Smith from Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania; Car owners Eddie Pennington from Elkins and John Post of Clarksburg; and promoters Ron and Sharon Kimble of Clarksburg.
The largest crowd in the track’s history and also the largest car count was on hand for the seventh annual Richard Skidmore Memorial event Saturday. There were several incidents that slowed the progression of the event that were beyond the track officials’ control.
First there was a scary flip during hot lap qualifying when Michael Moreland’s AMRA Modified tumbled over the third turn embankment, rolling five or six times before coming to rest. Michael was shaken up but walked away and his car was severely damaged.
Then there was a delay when a fan was taken to the hospital after a medical emergency in the stands. This forced a back-up ambulance to be called before the event could continue.
Then one of West Virginia’s largest fireworks displays took place to the delight of the fans. However, as the lights were being brought back up, some of the lifghts refused to come back on. Yet another delay, and it was close to midnight when the Jenkins Ford Super Late Models took to the track for the $5,000-to-win event.
Tyler Carpenter of Parkersburg led flag to flag and is making it a habit to visit victory lane whenever he shows up. He didn’t have an easy run. North Carolina’s G.R. Smith was the early challenger until he jumped the cushion in turns one and two and lost several positions.
Jared Hawkins was ready to take the win but Tyler held off all challengers to take it. Hawkins was second with fast qualifier Russell Erwin in third. Billy Holbert moved all the way from 14th to finish fourth. Ryan Montgomery rounded out the top five. A total of 24 SLMs were able to start the feature from the 30 cars that were on hand.
There was almost a full field of 21 Budweiser FasTrack Crate Late Models on hand. Chad Green took the early lead but lapped traffic cost him the victory. Kyle Lukon, making his first appearance at Elkins, took the win. Robert Cossell finished second. Green held on to finish third. Trey Watson and Dylan Lewis rounded out the top five.
Prayers go out to Erin Ramsey, who suffered some injuries at the end of the event as her number 01 car struck one of the large tires that lie inside the turns and was taken to the hospital.
The Performance Chevrolet AMRA Open Wheeled Modifieds were up next, with 25 of the 27 cars on hand able to start the feature, making this the largest local field of these super-competitive cars ever.
Defending AMRA Champion Jacob Hawkins continues to be “snake bit” at Elkins Raceway. He appeared to be the class of the field until a mechanical problem took him out on the eighth lap.
Shawn Jett and Daniel Hill then put on a great show, racing side by side for the win. Shawn won by less than a car length over Nolan Dalton’s Ford-powered machine. Hill finished a close third. Jamie McCloud and Mike Murphy rounded out the top five. Kenny Rowback came from 18th to finish ninth. Larry Atha moved from 22nd to 12th with a good run.
The old John 3:16 MudBus was as high as 11th before I took it pit side with a vibration after starting 21st. We still finished 14th.
The WV Pools Street Stocks were unable to beat the fog as in settled on the raceway. They will run double features tonight.
In NASCAR action it was the flat “Moody Mile” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Overton’s outdoor stores sponsored both the Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup series races.
On Saturday, the Overtons 200 rolled off under threatening skies. Stage one was won by Kyle Larson. Kyle Busch glanced off the wall and suffered some damage just before the red flag flew for a short rain delay. This enabled his crew to prepare a plan to repair the damage and he was able to capture the second stage win.
Brad Keselowski led the most laps but suffered a pit road penalty late and this cost him his shot at victory. Kyle Bush pulled away to an eight-second advantage over second-place finisher Ryan Preece. William Byron had another strong run in third. Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
On Sunday, the Cup drivers ran the Overton’s 301. Martin Truex Jr. took stage one and Kyle Busch took stage two.
The race wound down with the JGR Toyota of Denny Hamlin taking the victory over Kyle Larson. Martin Truex Jr finished third. Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five.
On Wednesday night, the Camping World trucks ran at Eldora Speedway on the half-mile dirt track. I will cover this event next week because of press deadlines. The Xfinity and Cup cars run at the two-and-a-half mile historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway the weekend.
Wow, this is a long column again! I’ll try to bring you all of the Indy and Eldora action along with our results from Elkins Raceway, and remember, at the end of the straightaway is Another Left Turn.