Reno Jr. Hopes September Never Ends With World Classic Win by Elgin Traylor
Track Regular Takes Biggest Race Of Season
Dennis Reno Jr. has had a great September... and continued it by winning the World Classic on Sunday afternoon. (51 Photo)
The rock band Green Day has a song titled “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”
Dennis Reno Jr. might adapt that song to his life, as his September has been a thing dreams are made of.
Fresh off his first 100-lap “Birmingham Super Series” win and the birth of his first child, Reno Jr. put his name in the history books by winning his first World Classic at Birmingham International Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
“This car wasn’t even together last week,” said Reno Jr. “We just killed ourselves getting it ready, and we were just fast off the trailer. It’s awesome to race with Jeff Fultz. He’s one of the best in the county. But to beat him and Wayne Anderson is just awesome.”
The afternoon started with Reno Jr. on the pole. He turned down the extra $2,000 bonus for dropping to the rear of the field, something named after the late Charlie Bradberry, who did it every chance he could. But outside pole sitter Jeff Fultz was up for the challenge.
“I didn’t want to go to the back,” said Reno. “I wanted to start up front and just run up there. We could have gone to the back and made it back up to the front, but I just don’t race enough of these big races to do that. My name is on that World Classic trophy, so I don’t care about it now.”
As Reno Jr. led the opening laps, Fultz charged up from his 21st-place starting spot. By lap 20, he had moved into 10th position. But a long green flag run took its toll on Fultz, as he didn’t crack the top five until lap 60.
Reno Jr. was the class of the field until the tires started to fade. Hunter Robbins pulled up to challenge after riding in the top five all day. But just as Robbins got close enough to Reno Jr. to mount a challenge, the yellow flew on lap 111.
The pit stops on the narrow pit road of Birmingham International Raceway shuffled the tops spots. Jeff Fultz, who was fourth, beat Reno Jr. off the pit lane for the top spot by a nose. Robbins had trouble and got shuffled back to fourth.
Fultz held onto the lead for a handful of laps before Reno Jr. took the top spot back for good on lap 136. Robbins worked his way back to second and Fultz got third, Wayne Anderson was fourth and Heath Hindman was fifth.
“I was hoping there would be a few more cautions to help the tires,” said Fultz. “We tried to go to the back and win one for Charlie, but we used our car up a little bit. It would have been tough to beat him (Reno Jr.) anyway.”
Robbins felt he had a shot to win before the hang up in the pits. The 16 year-old driver now adds a second-place run in World Classic to his runner up finish at the Rattler in March.
“The car was really good on long runs,” said Robbins. “On old tires, we had the fastest car right before we came to pit. Our guys had a great pit stop, but we got blocked in a little bit. It was crowded down there. I think if we hadn’t gotten blocked in, we would have had this one.”
Jeff Fultz couldn't repeat his win from the Early Bird.
Reno Jr., who led 126 of the 150 laps, remembers his run in the 2005 World Classic. Ironically it was the same car he drove to victory lane just two years later. He thought that was going to be his night until Charlie Bradberry passed him for the lead.
“The car took off like it did today, about lap seventy five the right front shock started to go one me. I battled Charlie hard when he got to me, but it was his night and his races to win. I am glad he won that night. Me, Charlie and J.R. Norris all started racing right here at Birmingham.”
World Classic Race Notes:
Wayne Anderson Comes North For Top Five Run
Wayne Anderson (#93) chases down Jeff Fultz (#54).
Finding Wayne Anderson on the race track was like trying to find Waldo in one of those old picture books. The Wildwood, Florida native was driving the number 93 team car of Ryan Sieg. When Anderson is not wheeling his own ride, he is the crew chief for both Ryan and Shane Sieg. With Shane running the truck race in New Hampshire, a car was open for Anderson.
“I thought we would have had a better run,” said Anderson. “Don’t get me wrong, a fourth-place finish is good, but we were third quick last night in qualifying. The car just never came around on the long runs it did but we had a fifth-place car and got fourth. I love coming to race here at Birmingham; it’s just has so much history. “
Since the fall of the NASCAR Elite Division, Anderson is not racing across the southeast like he did back five or six years ago.
“It’s safe to say Late Model racing is hurting all over the Southeast, even down in Florida too. I am sure it’s just the economy; I would love to see someone start a new tour and put some effort into it.
Rattler Winner Snake Bit By Fuel
Augie Grill had a solid run going in the World Classic, until the final laps. Luck was on his side when he won the Rattler a few months back, but his top five run was spoiled by an empty fuel tank.
“We never calculated,” said Grill. “We just thought there was no way we could run out. We never took gas when we pitted. The car ran good; it would turn really well, but it just couldn’t get up off the corner like I needed it to. All in all it was a good day until the last lap”
Grill ended up outside the top 10 after running out of fuel on the back stretch.
Alabama Triple Crown
There will be a one thousand dollar bonus for one of three drivers at the Alabama 200 on October 21st. That event will mark the third leg of the Alabama Triple Crown.
With the first race run at South Alabama and the World Classic, only three drivers have run both events.
Heath Hindman has a 13th and a 5th, Ryan Sieg has an 8th and a 6th. While Grant Enfinger has 5th and an 8th. The Alabama 200 will pay out $7,500 to the winner.
Charlie Bradberry's son, Tucker, helped present the trophy at the World Classic.