Concord Motorport Park Late Model Stock regular Roger Lee Newton broke away from local weekly racing to make his first touring series start with the UARA Late Models. The debut went well for Newton and his colorful Carolina crew. The Black #33 dodged many of the late race tangles an ended up with a third-place finish.
“We survived,” said a happy and relieved Newton. “The car is in pretty bad shape. I told my crew that you had to have a car at the end of these races the way these boys run. We used our car up a little bit. The car was pushing but we came out of here a top-three in our first UARA race and that is as good as a win for us.”
UARA LATE MODEL LEFTOVERS: HICKORY by Matthew Dillner
Jamie Yelton and his Forest City Bad Boys crew looked like they had the field whipped at Hickory during the UARA Joe Walker Memorial 150. Only Andy Loden’s #28 could even keep up with Yelton.
Petree got underneath Furr and the two cars made contact, ending any chance of a win for Furr who held on to finish 10th.
“When we drove off in the corner Petree just drove in there and never lifted,” said a very upset Furr. “He just took me out and spun me out. He just drove in ten miles over his head and thought he could use me as a wall. He took me out but we will return the favor one day.”
“I just drove in along side of him,” said Petree after the race. “I drove on the flat of the racetrack and he gave me no room whatsoever. He spun out. I didn’t mean to hit him.”
Furr and his crew walked swiftly to Petree’s pits after the race and the two drivers traded words at the back of Petree’s hauler. Petree was not happy with that at all.
“He’s just being a kid punk,” said the long-time NASCAR car owner and driver.
“I just told him I wasn’t going to forget about it,” said Furr. “I told him that there would be a time and a place and I hope it is soon.”
But then Yelton’s night came crashing down when a two lapped cars tangled and collected Jaime and Loden in turn-one. The #8 clipped the crashed cars and went two laps down in the pits making repairs.
“When you have a bunch of cars on the track you have a lot of lapped cars on the track, explained Yelton who finished 17th. “For some reason these guys get racing real hard and they don’t want to move over for the leader. I personally never saw a move over flag all night anyway. No excuses. Bottom line is we got involved with lapped cars and got wrecked. I hate it because we had a real good car.”
It was a continuation of bad fortune for Yelton who followed up his runner-up points finish in 2004 with a miserable 2005. Although Yelton saw the win slip away, he is convinced this year will be different.
“There ain’t no doubt about it that last year we couldn’t get the car driving the way I wanted it. Tonight the thing was on a rail. So I am pretty sure we will have a dominant racecar this year.”
Yelton was the man at Hickory until an accident put him out of contention. (51 Photos)
Newton stayed out of all the trouble and was rewarded with a great finish.
PETREE PISSES OFF FURR CAUSING POST RACE RUCKUS
Ross Furr was in position to win at the end of the race but he saw his night go downhill fast. First he missed a gear on a late-race restart while leading. Then on the green-white-checker restart at race’s end Furr tangled with former NASCAR Nextel Cup car owner and NASCAR racer Andy Petree who was making an appearance behind the wheel of his Late Model Stock Car.
And to make things worse, as crews surrounded the drivers as they discussed the incident, the scene became escalated when local police came in and physically moved Petree away from Furr.
“The cops caused that. That one cop just grabbed us,” said Petree.
Both drivers went to the UARA hauler for a word with officials. Petree ended up 18th on the scoring sheet.
JONES IMPRESSIVE IN 50-CAR DEBUT
Many know Clay Jones for his upset win in the 2005 Super Late Model Big 10 Series at Concord Motorsport Park. Now people will recognize him for being tabbed to drive a very famous Late Model Stock car in the UARA ranks. Jones has big shoes to fill in 2006, hopping behind the wheel of the #50 I Dig Pigs car formerly driven by Jamie Caudill.
Jones had a very good debut in the famous #50. He turned in the second quickest lap of the day in qualifying and then took the lead after Jamie Yelton was collected in a wreck. But the lead ended soon after when Jones too was a victim of a lapped car accident resulting in a disappointing 22nd place finish.
“All I know is I came off of turn two and the track was closed,” said Jones. “Two lapped cars were spun and I had nowhere to go. I think it’s a case that the spotter and crew keyed up at the same time and that blurted each other out. Even if they hollered we had so much speed coming off the corner. We had so much rear brake that when I got on the brakes it just turned around. We were carrying so much speed coming off the corner.
(Top) Petree and Furr exchange words after the race. (Bottom) Petree is moved out of the way by law enforcement.
Jones didn't look like a rookie in his debut.
“I think a lot of people looked at us as a rookie at the beginning of the race. We went out there and ran good and led some laps and I think they know now that we can go out there and run good and compete.”
KID CRUM KEEPS IT CLEAN IN UARA DEBUT
A lot of people were surprised when 13-year-old Jake Crum loaded his racecar with nary a scratch and an eighth place finish in his first-ever Late Model start. And the Legends and Bandolero driver had a good time during his heavy-car debut.
“Yeah it was fun,” said Crum. “They told me before I went out there to stay out of the wrecks and I had to do that tonight and be patient until the end. When someone was faster than me I would pull over and let them go.”
“It is different than a Legends car or a Bandolero. It’s a lot more weight and drives like a Cadillac. They kept on coming on the radio and tell me to be patient. I would try the high line and they would tell me to stay low and it worked.”
NO HARD FEELINGS BETWEEN BUDDIES BRANDON WARD AND ALEX YONTZ
Brandon Ward was in a position to win at races end but was involved in an incident at the end of the race with Alex Yontz. As the field took the green the two drivers went side by side into turn one making heavy contact. Yontz slid up the banking in turn one and made a spectacular save to finish 9th. Ward got the better of the deal finishing second.
“I hate that it happened,” said Ward. “On these restarts with the cold weather and the hard tires it’s hard not to spin the tires. He spun the tires off of four and I dove underneath him to keep from running into him. We got chopped off going into one. He was racing hard and I was racing hard but I hate that it happened.”
Yontz and Ward discussed the contact in street clothes while their teams were loading the cars on their trailers.
“I guess I made a little mistake on the restart and spun the tires,” said Yontz. “Brandon got in underneath me.
Ward and Yontz discuss the incident after the race.
He and I have been racing together in go karts and other things for the past 12 years. I know he wouldn’t just run in there on me. He really didn’t have anywhere to go so I don’t blame him. We didn’t even know he was there. It was two laps to go and we both had to just go for it. We’re good friends so it’s all good.”
UARA DRIVER IS A POET… WELL SORT OF
Racing a car takes a combination of animal-like aggression and artistic finesse. UARA Late Model young gun Lucas Ransome took to the track at Hickory for the Joe Walker Memorial 150 with reminders of both duct taped on his dashboard.
Ransome, while attending high school, wrote an inspirational poem for his racecar.
CLICK PICTURE TO READ THE POEM >
“I wrote that during class, said Ransome. “Class was boring, ya know it was English class. I thought I would write something that would pump me up. I sort of spelled ‘climb’ wrong. I was in a rush.”
“I have one shot and one shot only to make it and that is what it says. My crew chief always says ‘get on the gas’ so I wrote ‘get on the gas go fast.”
When asked if he could actually read it while racing at speed Ransome jokingly replied, “I am a fast reader.”