Photos by Jon Fleming
The biggest night of stock car racing to ever roll into the New River Valley was this past Thursday, and it ended with a two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion parked in victory lane.
In his Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) debut, Kyle Busch earned the victory with an impressive performance at the .416-mile Motor Mile Speedway inside of Pulaski County Motorsports Park.
A star-studded field of 12 drivers included some of the world’s best to ever get behind the wheel. The premier group, handpicked by SRX owner Tony Stewart, combined for 200 NASCAR Cup Series wins and 59 Indy Car Series wins. The list of competitors also held a combined six NASCAR Cup Series championships and one Daytona 500 victory as well as three Indy Car titles and five Indy 500 wins.
The SRX series came to southwest Virginia for the first time and put on a show in front of a packed house. A pair of 20-lap heats opened the night’s festivities before the 100-lap main event. Marco Andretti won the opening heat before the field was inverted, leading to a victory for 10-time NASCAR Cup Series winner Clint Bowyer in the second sprint.
A century of laps around the 15-degree banked oval highlighted the night. Busch worked his way up to the top spot, as he held off a quickly approaching Bowyer who had found some serious speed on the bottom groove.
A late-race crash involving Paul Tracy and 2023 Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden also collected Ken Schrader and Hailie Deegan. After the field was bunched back up, Busch maintained his lead for the final handful of laps to secure his first-ever SRX victory.
Driver Paul Tracy was suspended because of the earlier crash.
On Friday night, SRX released the following statement:
“Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) has announced an immediate suspension of driver Paul Tracy in relation to yesterday’s on-track incident at Pulaski County Motorsports Park.”
“We take issues regarding driver safety extremely seriously at SRX,” SRX chief executive officer Don Hawk said. “This is not a decision we take lightly. It is our responsibility to ensure that we foster a competitive, and most importantly, a safe racing environment.”
Earlier in the evening, fans were treated to a 50-lap feature for the Collision Plus Sportsman Series. Brad Foy led for the majority of the race, starting the night off by parking his black and orange machine in victory lane.
Current points leader Kyle Barnes started on the front row and defending late model track champion Kyle Dudley started one spot behind him. Early mishaps at the start of the race sent the duo to the tail of the field.
Foy proved to be the class of the field, jumping out to an early lead that he never surrendered. Karl Budzevski stayed within reach of the race winner but was never able to make the final pass. A strong showing of perseverance from Dudley pushed him back up through the field, a run good enough for the final podium spot.
Peyton Williams, Pulaski County Motorsports Park