On a day when the heat index topped 100 degrees, Dominion hosted twin races in three separate classes with four drivers picking up their first wins of the year. They also had a tribute before the start of the race for the passing of a racing legend last weekend.
Shawn Balluzo, a modified racer at Langley Speedway, died last Saturday after succumbing to injuries that he sustained during an accident during his feature race. Prior to the first feature Saturday night, there was a moment of silence in his honor and following the national anthem, all of the cars from Dominion’s Modified and Virginia Racer Late model divisions, lined up three wide and went around the track for several parade laps paying homage to the late racer.
The action started with the first of two features in the Modified Division where they ran a 48-lap feature instead of a 35 in honor of Balluzo whose car number was 48. Jimmy Humblet, who was still looking for his first win of the year, started on the pole and he and his son Chris, pulled away from the field early on thanks to 28 laps of clean, green flag racing. However, with 25 laps to go, following a caution, J. Humblet developed an electrical issue which relegated him to an eighth-place finish, giving the lead to C. Humblet. C. Humblet looked like the car to beat for most of the second half until he developed an engine issue which ruined his chances for another win and relegated him to a seventh-place finish. Mike Rudy inherited the lead and never looked back picking up his first win of the season. “We had a good night. We did not start off to well in qualifying. We were a little of in stagger, so we didn’t qualify so good” Rudy said. “In the race we got up there and we were battling, and I think we probably had a third place car, but they always say mechanical things happen and we just haven’t had bad luck and you got to be there to win it”. Top three finishers were Rudy, Kayla Surles and Peyton Ferree.
In the second feature which went 35 laps, J. Humblet found himself back on the pole thanks to the eight-car invert and this time he was not to be denied. J. Humblet went from green flag to checkered in the first position, surviving two restarts to get his first win of the year. Rounding out the top three in the second feature were Rudy and Surles who got her second top five of the year, both coming on the same night. “We were running well in the first race. We had an electrical issue. Our battery cut off grounded out and cut all the power to the car. Not sure why. Chris fell out due to a motor problem, lost a rocker arm and that took him out. So the purple people eaters didn’t have a good first race” J. Humblet said afterwards. “Second race we came over here and fixed the car and got everything back right, so we had a decent finish for the night. All the guys here worked their rear ends off to get the cars going. My hat goes off to them because I have the easy job of driving”.
The Virginia Racer Late Model division, one of the most competitive divisions all season had twin 35 features as well. In the four races prior to last night there had been four different feature winners. That streak would come to an end in the first feature with Zack Lightfoot becoming the first repeat winner of the year. Davey Callihan, the current points leader despite not having a win this year, started on the pole in feature number one. From the drop of the green flag, it was obvious Callihan was fighting a handling issue as the car looked like it was on ice skates. It did not take long for Nick Leitz to take over the lead from Callihan who got shuffled back to fourth place. With twelve laps to go, Callihan took the car for a spin coming out of four, bringing out the first caution. He came into the pits to change his right rear, which put him to the back of the field. Lightfoot took the lead from Leitz with 22 laps to go and never relinquished it to put his car in victory lane as the first second time winner this season. Logan Clark came home second, Chris Donnelly third and Callihan was able to fight back to finish fourth after his tire issue.
The second feature saw last weeks winner, Landon Pemberlton start on the pole following the eight-car invert. This race was clean and green until there four laps left. Pemberlton had led from the drop of the green until the caution and unfortunately for him, he was part of the reason the yellow flag was shown. Clark had driven his way through the field picking off car after car, coming from the seventh starting position to get to the back bumper of Pemberlton. He was able to gain .1 seconds a lap and was able to put the car anywhere he wanted. With four to go, Clark ran down Pemberlton and went to make the pass going into turn three and the two got together with both cars sliding up the track towards the outside wall, dashing the chances of either dr iver becoming the second repeat winner on the year. The clean up required a red flag situation and when racing resumed, Lightfoot was sitting in position to get his second win on the night, but there were still four laps to go. When the green flag dropped, Lightfoot and Leitz were running side by side for the first lap. When they went down the backstretch to complete lap 32, Callihan, who was in third on the restart, saw an opening and took it, dropping to the bottom of the track to go three wide. Lightfoot backed out some so as not to be the meat in the sandwich, allowing Callihan to drive off with the lead with only two laps to go. Callihan held off Lightfoot and Leitz to win his first feature of the year. “We haven’t really had a dominant car yet but we have had a really consistent season and that’s starting to show in the points and to get that first win was a big deal for us”, Callihan said. When asked about his three wide move he said “It was one of those moments where I had to make a last moment decision, but when you are going for the win with a couple laps to go, I saw an opportunity, I saw the door open and I took it. Luckily, Zack backed out and made it work and I appreciate that on his part”.
The mini cup division ran twin 25 lap races. I the first feature, Johnny Shonk Survived four cautions and a green, white, checkered finish to come home with the win, followed by Dean Johnson and Tyler Warriner. Feature number two only saw two cautions and Johnson was able to drive his car to the win followed by Shonk and Warriner.
The UCAR division ran a 25-lap feature that saw Ethan Ayers drive away from Alex Ayers and Kyle Bunn to take the checkered flag for his first win of the year.
Next scheduled night of racing is August 1 when we welcome back the Late Model division for twin 60 lap features, as well as twin 25s for the Dominion Stocks, 25 laps for the UCARS and 20 laps for the Any Car division. Gates open at 5 and green flag drops at 7.
On the first night that fans have been allowed at Dominion Raceway this season, all in attendance go to see a record setting seven red flag situations as well as cars and drivers going airborne both in and outside of their cars.
Saturday night saw one of the stoutest fields for the late model stock cars this season with 22 cars taking the green flag in the first twin 60 showcasing regulars like Doug Barnes, Tyler Hughes, Peyton Sellers, Davey Callihan and Mike Ganoe. It also brought Mike Looney and Sergio Pena back to Fredericksburg for the first time this year. When the racing started Looney and John Goin ran side by side for the better part of 7 laps with Looney finally getting clear on lap 8 to take the lead. After one yellow and two red flags, one of which saw Barnes cannonball himself onto the windshield of Hughes’s car after an altercation into the outside wall, racing resumed and Looney was able to drive away for a decent lead over Sellers until the fifth caution of the night caused a green, white, checkered finish where Looney help Sellers off to take his first win in three tries at Dominion. “Still a work in progress. We don’t really have much of a notebook for this track” Looney said before the race. “Think we found the direction and hopefully get a top five finish tonight”. Following the accident involving Hughes and Barnes, Hughes was able to get out of his car and was eventually transported to the hospital. At the time this article was written, there was no official word on his condition, but he is believed to be doing well.
The second Late Model feature was reduced from 60 laps to 30 due to time constraints. There were only 15 of the 22 cars that took the green in the first twin to roll off in the second one due to the carnage from the three yellow and two red flags. With the top eight inverted, Callihan started on the pole and looked great early until he had to retire five laps in with a mechanical issue. Michael Hardin inherited the lead but did not hold it for long as it only took ten laps for Sellers, the division points leader, to put his rocket out front and not look back to take his third win of the season.
The Virginia Racer Late Models ran their first race in the Championship Challenge Series and had a nineteen-car field. This is a new series that has brought Langley Speedway and Dominion Raceway together where drivers can compete at both tracks, three races at Dominion and three at Langley, to crown a series champion. Landon Pemberton, from South Boston Speedway, and Cole Bruce from Dominion, were two of the fastest cars in practice and they were the two battling for the lead on the last lap coming out of turn four. Bruce started on the outside pole after the invert and wasted no time getting out front and working his way to as much as a seven car lead, but with only four laps left, a red flag flew for a wreck in turns one and two. Bruce was able to take the restart, with Pemberton to his outside, and begin to pull away again, only to have a caution come out with three to go and another restart. Again, Bruce was on the inside and Pemberton was on the outside. Bruce was able to get out in front, but Pemberton stayed glued to Bruce’s back bumper and was able to pull even with two laps left. When the white flag flew, Pemberton made his move going into turn one and put his nose under Bruce one last time. They ran down the back-stretch door to door and Pemberton was able to beat Bruce to the line by less than a car length to take his first win at Dominion and the first win of the Championship Series. Rounding out the top five were Bruce, Callihan, Logan Clark and Reid Murphy. The next race in the Challenge series is at Langley on July 25th.
In the Dominion Stock division, where only eight points separate first from fifth, Gary Burke was looking to put some distance between himself and the rest of the field in the early points battle and Barry Beebe was looking to continue his early-season success. Beebe started on the pole after the invert and looked tough to beat again, but with only four laps into the feature, he ended up falling to the back and was never really a factor the rest of the night. Richard Powers took the win with Burke second, Bobby Curtis third and Beebe coming in fourth.
Silvestri, Beebe Get First Feature Wins
The late model stock car division headlined the schedule for the second week of racing at Dominion Speedway with twin 60 lap races and Doug Barnes and Tyler Hughes picked up right where they left off last year.
In the first race Hughes rolled off third and Barnes started seventh, but it did not take long for them to get to the head of the pack. With only 16 laps in the book, Barnes had made it from seventh to first and Hughes was right behind. At one point the two would battle door to door for 4 laps with Barnes taking the lead, Hughes would run second, and Peyton Sellers was a close third with 20 laps to go. With four to go a caution came out when Barnes got into Paul green causing some damage to the right front fender and set up a 3-lap sprint to the checkered flag. On the restart, Hughes gave a tap to Barnes going into turn three which caused Barnes to slide up the track, opening the door for Hughes to drive under him and take the lead. However, a caution came out due to a pile up in turns three and four and since the race control went back to the last completed lap, Barnes was declared the winner. Even though he took the victory to start his defense of his track championship from 2019, Barnes was far from happy. “I knew we had a fast car and I knew we had consistent speed later on in the run and I knew the car would be underneath me and we just picked them off as we went”. When asked about the battles that he and Hughes have had for last years points and the battle in the first twin Barnes said “I get close to him and I wind up with a wrecked race car almost every time. I am not happy at all. Even thought it is only a quarter panel I’m not happy with that”. The top five finishers were Barnes, Hughes, Sellers, Daniel Silvestri and John Goin.
The second twin inverted the top eight cars and that put Hughes and Barnes back in the pack together. Three cautions in the first 18 laps slowed things down a little bit, but at the halfway point, Sellers, Barnes and Hughes were back out front. The three drivers stayed out front and were uncontested, finishing in that order. Silvestri came home fourth and “Butterbean” Queen rounded out the top five.
In the Dominion Stock 40 lap feature, Gary Burke took home the win. Barry Beebe took the lead and held it till there were 10 laps left, but a bracket on the exhaust broke which caused the exhaust to drag, ending his night prematurely.
Other winners Saturday night included Peyton Lee in the Bando division, Dan Johnson in the mini cup feature and Tommy Jackson took the checkered flag in the INEX legends division after starting from the sixth spot.
This Saturday has another twin 60 lap Late model clash, 35 laps for the Virginia Racer division, 40 laps for the Dominion Stock and 25 each for the UCARS and mini cups divisions. Green flag drops at 7 and you can follow it on Facebook starting at 6:30.
Championship Night Crowns Eight Champions
Dominion Raceway saw eight division champions crowned on Saturday night, as every division
competed on the last night of racing for the 2019 season.
The Late Model division saw Tyler Hughes start shotgun on the field in order to gain valuable bonus
points to try and overtake Doug Barnes for the championship. Barnes came into the night with a 30-
point lead. Hughes accomplished his goal winning his fourth feature of the year, but with Barnes
finishing right behind Hughes in second, Barnes won the points championship for 2019.
The Modified division saw Chris Humblet drive away not only for his seventh win on the year, but also
the track championship. Humblet came into the evening with a comfortable 34 point margin and with
Chris Johnson finishing well back in the running order, Humblet was able to take the win and the points
Dominion Racers saw Davey Callihan win his sixth straight feature last night, who, much like Hughes in
the late model feature, started shot gun on the field looking for bonus points. Again, he like Hughes
was able to win from the back but Cole Bruce won the championship bringing his car home in third, one
spot behind the second place points car of Bradley Kilby.
The Dominion Stock class, which was the closest contested class coming into the evening, saw Richard
Powers make a last lap pass to overtake Bobby Curtis, who had led the entire feature to take the 40-lap
race. Andrew Condrey finished third, one position in front of Gary Burke, giving Condrey the division
championship for the year.
The UCAR division crowned two champions, the domestic and the import winners. Ryan Pritt, who had
locked up the points battle weeks ago, won his 12 th feature race to put an exclamation point on the year
for him and his team. Kris Kurtz was able to hold off a hard charging Reggie Alcaraz to win the points
battle for the UCAR import class.
The Anycar division, much like the UCAR division was decided weeks before championship night. Pete
Sullivan racked up six wins in twelve starts to take the championship over John Andrews and his two
feature wins. In the final feature of the year for the Anycars, Richard Powers won his second race of the
night winning both the Anycar and the Dominion Stock features.
The mini modified class which wrapped up the night and the season, saw Keith Riley get his first feature
win and Jon Carte, who finished second won the 2019 points battle.
Three First Time Winners at Dominion
Saturday night was highlighted by three races where three first time winners were crowned in victory
lane and Chris Humblet takes a tighter hold on the points lead in the modified division
The Late Model class had races that were for drivers who had not won a feature and were not point
races. The first one was a 75 lap feature which was for anyone who had not won at Dominion this year
and Alex Brock, who was the fastest in qualifying but started fourth after the invert, took the lead with
49 to go and never looked back for his first win on the year. The second feature which was a 25-lap
sprint, was for anyone never having won a Whelen Series feature and that saw John Goin take home his
first ever feature win.
The mini cups had twin features on the night and the first one looked like the winner would be decided
by who was left on the track at the end. After surviving five cautions and a green, white, checkered flag
finish, Justin Herndon took the checkered flag for the first 25 lap feature, followed by Tyler Warriner,
Johnny Shonk and Shane Zupo. The second feature was clean and green the entire 25 lap feature and
saw Herndon take the second feature as well followed by Warriner, Zupo, Tyler Roach and John Hager.
In the modified division, Chris Johnson was able to gain two point on the points leader Chris Humblet by
finishing one spot in front of him in the 35-lap feature. Humblet holds a 32-point lead with only two
races left on the season. Jimmy Humblet took his fourth win of the year followed by Johnson, C.
Humblet and Mike Rudy and Mike Carte.
The dominion Stock division ran 40 laps with Andrew Condrey taking his fourth win of the year and
gained some much-needed points on Gary Burke for the points championship. The two came in tied with
128 points and they have 1 race left to decide the title. The top four in the feature were Condrey, Bobby
Curtis, Burke and Richard Powers.
The UCAR had the Clutches and Purses race last night that saw Amanda Hoak take her first ever
checkered flag. Rounding out the field were Kim Oliver, Jackie Storm, Crystal Coates and Lisa Brady.
This coming Saturday is Championship Night at Dominion where several points battles will be decided.
Every division will be running as well as a pre race Track or treat for the kids, a carnival in the 118 Bar
and grill, and points champions crowned. Gates open at 3 and green flag drops at 5 pm.