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Local race season is kicking off

Miller, Keith

Keith Miller

The local 2017 race season is underway for the 65th year as Elkins Raceway has opened its gates.

Test ‘N Tune had approximately 30 cars show up to shake down new rides or wake up the old rides from winter’s sleep. The old Mud Bus modified was still in the garage but I was there with pen in hand and tried to at least touch base with some of the competitors and watch drivers sling a little dirt.

I will try to talk about the cars I saw and please don’t be offended if I miss a few of you in my run down. I wasn’t able to get around to all of you and will try to catch you for a later column.

In the Super Late Model class, veterans Tim Senic, Shaun Polling, Billy Holbert, Steve Wilmoth, Robbie Scott and others were on hand. There was one new SLM there. Bub Bittenger brought out a number 29 Gold Digger car for this class moving up from street stock. His sponsors included Automotive Machine, Iron Horse Logging, Jacks Recycling, Conner’s Trucking and Repair and Giant Killer Race Engines. This team always fields strong cars and it will be interesting to see how they run in the SLM class.

The AMRA Open Wheeled Modifieds were represented well and there were a few surprises. There was a nice Ford powered mod in the pits, number D7 sponsored by Hilltop Ford owned by Dave Baird Racing Enterprises out of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and driven by veteran Nolan Dalton. This should be a strong team with a lot of talent behind the wheel.

There was a nice GRT chassis modified number 97. It was sponsored by several companies — Iron Horse Logging, New England Truss and Joist, and Weimer Automotive Group and others. Space doesn’t allow me to list all the sponsors but I will try to do some in-depth articles in the coming columns. The most amazing thing about this team is that its driver is only 11 years old. Mitch Thomas is moving up from the Mini Mods to the AMRA modified class. Talk about a learning curve, OMG! This will be quite a story to follow this year and it will be interesting to see his progression in this class. Eleven years old. I’ve got socks older than that! This team seems focused and very prepared and I wish him well. They are making the trip down from the Oakland, Maryland, area to compete each week.

Veteran Dave Defibaugh was back and ready to race. His familiar number 77 is sponsored by Talbott Glass, D and B Enterprises, Mountaineer Insurance Services and Millers Used Cars. Veteran drivers Brad Harris, Jamie McCloud, Randy Bohan, Michael Moreland and Larry Atha were turning laps also. Dustin Isner had a new car and new colors for this year. His number 55 is now black, white and grey and sponsored by Awesome Auto, and the graphics were done by Duecestar Graphics.

There was a new Street Stock in the pits, a nice Monte Carlo No. 00 sponsored by Kathy’s Tavern of Jr., All Season Real Estate, and Roy’s RV. Driving duties will be shared by Chris McDonald and Todd Simmons. A special shout out should go to K and K Kustoms for the beautiful paint and body on this car. There will be a team car to this one, also No. 14H, a Malibu driven by Josh Hymen but it wasn’t quite ready. Jamie Keene had a beautiful new color scheme on her No. 56 and wow, it was bright. Brian Youtzy is moving back to street stocks and will be sponsored by AutoZone, Leslie Equipment Co, And Fastenal on his No. 44 Monte Carlo.

Friday Night Thunder in the Mountains is set to begin this week and it has been announced that ticket prices will increase to $15 on the hillside and pit passes will be $30 for regular events. Feature events are to be 5 laps longer each week with increased purses for the winners in the Super Lates and the Crate Late Model class. There should be more info about this on the track’s Facebook page and or web site. Gates will open at 6 p.m. on Friday night. I hope to see you there.

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NASCAR action was at the Richmond International Raceway in Virginia. On Saturday, the Toyota Care 250 was run and Kyle Larson held on in an overtime finish to win over a hard-charging Justin Allgaier. Justin had a very strong car and picked up his second Dash for Cash Xfinity bonus of $100,000. Daniel Hemric finished third and also was in the running for the dash bonus. Monster Cup stars Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five.

Bubba Wallace once again finished sixth in his Mello Yellow sponsored Roush Racing Ford. This was the eighth time he has finished sixth in 10 races. Stages were won by Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier. Ty Dillon was in a position to win; however, he jumped the flag on a late race restart and was sent to the rear of the field, out of contention.

On Sunday, the Monster Energy Cup series ran the Toyota Owners 400. Joey Logano started in the last row and was able to win the race over Brad Keselowski. During a late race caution Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. stayed out and Logano and Kyle Busch attempted to duck into the pits. Kyle didn’t make the commitment line and was penalized by NASCAR. Joey made the stop and restarted with fresh tires and drove to the victory over his teammate Keselowski, who also had stopped. Denny Hamlin, Stenhouse, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five. Stage wins went to Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski.

This week NASCAR moves to the high banks of the Talladega Superspeedway for both of these divisions and the action at our local raceways should be hot and heavy Friday night. So whether it’s dirt or high-banked superspeedways at the end of the straightaway, there’s Another Left Turn and I need to get in the garage to be ready! See you at the track