Photos courtesy of PCMP
As the racing season begins to wind down, fans were treated to a season-high nine races across six different divisions on Saturday night at Pulaski County Motorsports Park.
While most of the series enter their final few races, it was Championship Night for the Stock-6 Series. The highlight of the night belonged to Caleb Sowers, who used a pair of podium finishes to claim the 2023 track championship.
The night started with the first of two 50-lap races for the Price’s Body Shop Late Model Stock Car Series and it was Karl Budzevski that put on a dominant performance en route to his first win. The Montvale, Va. native started on the outside of the front row and used an early jump on the start to take command and lead every lap of the race. Mike Looney started sixth and worked his way into second with just eight laps remaining when he passed defending track champion Kyle Dudley. While Looney settled for second, he was able to extend his points lead over the third place-finishing Dudley.
Another tight points battle resides in the DCT Towing Super Streets Series, and they were the ones to take to the track next. Fresh off a win his last time out, Jimmy Mullins doubled down with another impressive run which resulted in his second consecutive trip to O’Reilly Auto Parts Victory Lane. The current points leader worked his way to the front after starting sixth and led the final 29 laps of the race. Tristen Barnes fought his way up to second and Brent Bell, who started ninth, earned the final podium spot.
The Collision Plus Sportsman Series then opened their evening with their first 35-lap twin. After Budzevski’s win kicked off the night, his car owner Mike Trenor earned his second trip to the winner’s circle thanks to Jason Merriman.
After falling from the lead due to a mechanical failure a couple weeks ago, Merriman rebounded with an impressive drive up to the top spot. Brad Foy, who won on SRX night, stayed up front for the entirety of the race and ultimately came across the line second. Daryn Cockram started in tenth and drove his way up to the final podium spot. The Draper native extends his podium streak to three races after winning the previous two.
Action for the Stock-6 Series then began with their first twin and those 20 circuits provided a very exciting start to Championship Night. A caution-filled race proved to benefit race winner Darrell Allen. His machine accelerated so much better on restarts which helped him rocket to the front. After being sent to the back, Houston Miller fought his way back to second while Caleb Sowers claimed the title of 2023 track champion after crossing the line third.
Blue Ridge Church Pure-4 Series competitors saw their race be shortened by ten laps after an 18-minute red flag halted action. Once the race resumed it was Brandon Southern that led the three-lap shootout to claim the victory. Kirby Shipman took control of the points standings with a second-place finish while Anthony Jefferson Jr. claimed his second consecutive third-place finish.
The late model stocks returned to the track and the second twin proved to be much like the first; the same three suspects climbed the podium. Following an inversion of the field, it took Dudley just 12 laps to get the point position. By lap 19, Looney was in second and Budzevski climbed to third by the 30th circuit.
Looney and Dudley were nose-to-tail by the midway point and a pass to the inside by Looney helped him claim the double yet again this season as well as a firm grasp on the 2023 track championship that will be decided the next time out.
For the first time this season, the Virginia Mini Cup was showcased at the New River Valley short track. A field of nine competitors took to the oval and it was Tyler Warriner that dominated the race, leading all 25 laps. A race-long battle for the second spot ultimately went the way of Noah Matthews with Zach Sprouse finishing third.
When the sportsman division returned to the track, Merriman became the second driver of the evening to collect the double. He picked up his second victory after leading the final half of the race. Current points leader and defending track champion Kyle Barnes ended his night with a second-place finish to extend his advantage in the standings. Foy collected another podium finish, crossing the line third.
The final race of the night was shortened to 15-laps and it belonged to the stock-6 competitors. As they did in the first twin, Allen, Miller and Sowers claimed the top three spots. Allen became the third driver to sweep the twins on the night. Miller extended his podium streak to three races while Sowers ended his night with the 2023 title.
Action returns to the .416-mile oval on Saturday, Sept. 9 when the track will name a trio of champions for the 2023 campaign. The opening race of September will be Championship Night for the Price’s Body Shop Late Model Stock Cars, the Total Car Care Mod-4s as well as the Blue Ridge Church Pure-4s. Fans can expect the green flag to be dropped at 6 p.m. for an exciting night filled with eight different races.
Pulaski County Motorsports Park