The red flag action got started on lap 40. Jake Crum made contact with Mike Gleason going into turn one and the mayhem that in sued 11 cars were collected, including those of USAR Pro Cup Rookie Dange Hanniford who was making his UARA debut at his home track. Crum’s car ended up completely off the track, in the field beside turn one that hosts the school buses.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Crum. “I was just doing what my spotter was telling me. I got up under him, and then he came down on me. I tried to save it but I caused a big wreck I guess. I thought it was all my fault but my spotter told me I didn’t do anything wrong.”
RED FLAGS AND BIRTHDAY CAKE TELL THE UARA STORY by Amy Hayes
Yontz Claims Birthday Victory at Florence Motor Speedway
When the UARA-STARS headed to Florence Motor Speedway (SC) for the first time this season, a lot of the drivers didn’t know quite what to expect. There were a large number of cars attempting to make the race, 32 to be exact, and all 150 laps were to take place on a track that lacks outside walls on all four corners. There is not even a wall on the backstretch. Patience would be required for anyone even thinking about being in a position to win.
In the end it was Alex Yontz who was able to beat the moist summer heat. The young driver avoided going off track and beat UARA newcomer B.J. Mackey to the checkered flag. In fact he did all of the beating that he needed to do on lap one and celebrated his 20th birthday in style -victory lane style.
“This is great,” said Yontz. “I couldn’t think of any other better way to celebrate my birthday. We had a great car, we led from lap one all the way on. These guys drove clean, I couldn’t ask for anything more. There were a couple of times when Mackey could have gotten into us and wrecked us and he didn’t, so thanks to him for some good racing. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Yontz claimed his third victory of the season. (51 Photos)
Yontz qualified for the race on the outside pole, second to Mackey. Before the field could even get to turn one Yontz had gotten down to the inside in front of Mackey and he didn’t look back. 150 laps and three red flags later, Yontz was able to claim his third victory of the year and increase his points lead over second place Jamie Yelton.
The story of the race doesn’t come so much from the guy who won the race, although a birthday win does make for a great story. The most action during this event took place in the middle of the field on back bringing out three separate red flags. 32 cars started the race on a track that is infamous for not having backstretch walls and a little more than half of those cars were able to finish the race. A majority of those cars were taken out with the first red flag.
The track was completely blocked with damaged racecars and the race had to be red flagged for a half hour in order to make sure that all of the competitors were okay and to get all of the damage and carnage cleaned up.
Roger Lee Newton was one of the cars involved in that first red flag. After pulling into the pits and doing extensive work on his car he was able to tough it out and bring home a top-five finish.
“The 68 (Giesson) and 92 (Crum) got together,” said Newton. “Jake Crum shot up the track and got us in the door. It wasn’t his fault, just a racing deal. I didn’t even think the car was suitable to drive, but the crew said get into it and keep digging.”
“Well you know I think we had the car to beat. We got into that bad wreck on lap 40 and knocked the toe out. You have to survive these races, and we came home with a top-five finish and I am pleased with that.”
The second red flag came out in order to remove the 15 of Carl Horton from the trees.
The final and third red flag of the evening came after KC Cunningham and Ross Furr made contact coming out of turn three. Because of the lack of backstretch walls, after hitting the inside walls the cars went over the side of the track into the trees. And of course what would short track racing be without a few words thrown about?
“The 61 (Cunningham) took me out at Lanier,” said Furr. “He can’t race anybody clean, you can tell by the way his car looks every weekend. He went getting into one and I got under him, I was in the middle three wide. When I came up the racetrack he just turned left into me. I drove up on his door and we went into the inside wall, he takes us out every time we get around him. I don’t know what he’s got against us, he’s just an idiot”
Cunningham had another point of view on the incident.
“Well, I think everyone that was here saw what happened, I gave him the inside because our motor was laying down a little bit. All he did on the back stretch was turn right, you can ask anyone here. I’ve never seen nothing like that. It’s just disappointing for us we’ve only got one car, this a great series and we’ll just get after it in two weeks”
The quote to sum up the evening was awarded to Brandon Ward. Ward was able to stay out of trouble and
bring home a fourth place finish as he continued to chase points leader Alex Yontz for the championship lead.
“It was another interesting UARA race,” said Ward. “There wasn’t a lot of patience and they tore up a lot of cars. It’s never a dull moment here with the UARA.”
The UARA-STARS return to action on August 5th at Newport Speedway (TN).
There was plenty of three wide racing at Florence on Saturday.