Week Ending 08/12/2021

Premier Series

 ‘It’s got some poke! Not a bad old tool.’ Graham Hill, after his first run in the Lotus 49. One of the most challenging aspects of the Core Premier Series is undoubtedly the versatility a driver must possess to succeed in the series. Few car track combinations wholly exemplify such a requirement more than the legendary Lotus 49s at Watkins Glen. Patrick Shelton #04 was able to slip into first when Carl Handwerk #18 and Nick Nickerson #2 had some trouble navigating lap traffic. Shelton would lead the remaining 38 laps, Handwerk would go on to finish 2nd, while Nickerson would get a black flag and fall to and uncharacteristic 20th. Adam Jones #46, season 5 playoff finalist and Mason Smith #6, last weeks race winner also encountered problems during the race landing in 14th and 23rd respectively.

A combination of practice and strategy would shine through seeing Mark Thomas #50 choosing to start at the back of the field and would climb his way to a top 5 finish. Mark focused on not overshooting his breaking marks and keeping his laps smooth rather than pushing to the edge of his ability each lap. The many practice sessions held over the week were clearly not lost on the D-Series drivers who qualified into this weekends race. Thaddeus Marshall #89, Sean Goodwin #10 and Marc Lapierre #12 all posted stellar performances finishing 9th, 10th and 12th respectively.

Drivers have a week off, but those who are wise will seize the opportunity to set their sights on “The Lady in Black”. Many decorated drivers claim that at Darlington you race the track and not your competitors, as the tracks asymmetrical shape is unique to say the least. Heading into week 3 will the D-Series drivers continue to make their presence know, or will the veterans regroup and find success at “The Track Too Tough to Tame”?


Developmental Series

With a full tank of gas, Thaddeus Marshall #89 had an impressive showing Tuesday night as the D- Series took to Lanier Speedway in the dirt Legends. Marshall started strong, sitting on the pole, leading 32 laps and beating out Premier driver Wesley Fuller #35 for the win by just over 2 seconds. Dylan Ashley #25 also found success running the fastest lap of the race as well as leading the most laps ultimately finding himself in 3rd when the checkered fell.
At the core of the developmental series is an opportunity for learning, often time placing drivers in car track combinations with the intention of challenging their abilities. Dirt racing presents a challenge for those who are not familiar with how to control slides or how to read when the track is slicking off. There were only a pair of multi car incidents that would be cause to throw the yellow flag, while single car incidents plagued many of the drivers throughout the night. Jeremy B Hubbard #70 showed his skills, as the lone D-Series car to score the full 10 points for a clean race and finished solidly in 4th place.
A clean race will be paramount heading into week 3 where the D-Series heads to Oran park in the new Formula Vee. With only 6 points separating 2nd and 5th in the points championship keeping a level head and scoring those bonus points will certainly help these drivers make sure they are there at the end of the season.
*** A special shout out this week to Brenden Whitford #131 for his contribution to the prize pool for these drivers during the last 4 races of the season.

Race number 2 in the Core Late Model Series from Nashville Fairgrounds was not the blow out that race #1 was. Crumpled sheet metal was a common sight Thursday evening as the drivers fought hard to take or keep their spots on the track. Five different drivers would take a turn leading throughout the race as multiple times the leader struggled to put the back of the field a lap down. Brandon Mettler #15 would eventually find himself in the lead with 15 to go, after an incident that collected the leader. Big movers of the race included Marc Gonzales #88, landing in 9th up from 18th and Paul Butler #77 who climbed from 9th to 2nd by race end.

Next week the series heads to the high banks of Bristol for a triple header. After trouble finding both, David Gargaro Jr #042 and Nate Medina #06 will both be hungry to extend their lead in the points championship. Only 8 points separate the top 3 drivers heading into Bristol.