" Ryan Millington and Zach Bruenger split Twin 40 lap "
on Cosmo Motors Night at the Races
April 16 th , 2018
The thunder roared again in the Catawba Valley, not for rain but the engines fired at the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars, Hickory Motor Speedway , on Saturday for a full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action.
Leading off the night would be the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Models for the first of two 40 lap features. Three previous NASCAR Whelen All American Hickory Motor Speedway Track Champions would take their spot in the field. Grabbing the top spot in qualifying would be the 2018 Hickory Motor Speedway Track Champion, Ryan Millington in the #17, with Dexter Canipe in the #5 to his outside. The second row would be made up of Austin McDaniel in the #12 and Kres VanDyke in the #15. Millington would jump to the early lead as Canipe would give close chase until engine problems would cause him to spend a lengthy amount of time in the pits, losing several laps to the leader. McDaniel and VanDyke would give chase but not be able to hold off challengers from behind. The #55 of Zack Bruenger would work his way through the field and grab the second position, giving chase to the leader. Evan Swilling in the #18 would also work his way through the field and settle into third place behind Bruenger. Millington would go on to take the win with Bruenger coming home in 2nd. Swilling would hold off McDaniel for a podium finish in 3rd with McDaniel settling for 4th. Mitch Walker in the #29 would make a hard charge through the field but would settle for 5th.
Next up would see the Cosmo Motors Street Stocks roar to life for their 30 lap feature. Jeff Sparks in the #7 would take the pole position with multi-time track champion Kevin Eby in the #03 to his outside. Sparks would set a fast pace and the battle would be on behind him to determine who would give chase. Eby would do battle with Marshall Sutton in the #64 and Mark Whitten in the #77. The trio would keep the crowd on their feet with the scuffle but Sutton would eventually separate and give chase to the leader. Sparks would prove too tough and take the win with Sutton taking 2nd. Whitten would grab 3rd with Eby finishing 4th and Ethan Johnson in the #2 finishing 5th.
Round #2 of the Paramount Kia 'Big 10' Challenge series for the Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models and their 50 lap feature would be next on the schedule. The front row starting spots would be a family affair with cousins Tyler Gregory in the #7 in the top spot and Dylon Wilson in the #4 on the outside. Gregory and Wilson would battle for the top spot and bragging rights at the family reunion with a spirited side by side battle. Gregory would nose ahead with Wilson tucking in close behind. As the laps wore down a car slowing on the front stretch with a flat tire and the leader, Gregory, decelerated to avoid a collision. Wilson would capitalize on the situation and move to the lead with the #12 of Mason Ludwig moving by as well. Ludwig would keep his momentum and put pressure on Wilson for the lead and move to the top spot. Ludwig would go on to grab his first victory at the famed 3/8 mile oval. Wilson would take the runner up spot with Pat Rachels moving up to finish 3rd. Josh Kossek in the #44 would come home in 4th while the #14 of Vince Midas would finish 5th.
The Carolina Custom Golf Carts 4-Cylinders would hit the track next for their 25 lap slugfest. Brian Mundy in the #6 would set the fast time with season opening winner Dennis Ward in the #25 starting in second. Mundy and Ward would battle side by side with Ward finally pulling ahead. Several incidents would slow the race with a serious incident involving Robbie Trivette in the #11 and the #09 of Randy Canipe occurring on the backstretch, but both drivers would be okay and walk away. The #29 of Allison Houston would make her way to the front and take the win. Mundy would finish 2nd with Ward ending up 3rd. Donn Wardo in the #59 and Canipe would finish out the top.
Rolling off next would see the Hickory Vintage Racers doing battle for 25 laps. It would be an all-Bill front row with Bill Webb in the #16 on the pole and Bill Powell in the #71 to his outside. The elder statesman of the series, Bill Webb, would move to the front and stay there for the entire race to grab another victory, after recently celebrating his 83rd birthday. Powell would give close chase and come home in 2nd with Robert Webb in the #6 finishing the race in 3rd.
The NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Models would finish up their double-header with their second 40 lap feature of the night. With a 10 car invert from the finish of race #1 Monty Cox in the #21 would start from the top spot while NHRA Pro Stock competitor Tanner Gray in the #15 would take a week to run with his NASCAR motorsports family and start to Cox's outside. Cox and Gray would pace the field side by side for the first couple laps but Cox would move ahead with Gray close behind. First race winner Ryan Millington in the #17 would make a hard charge towards the front but contact would send him spinning and he would have to make the long trip all over again. Evan Swilling in the #18 would make the move to the top spot late in the race while Zach Bruenger in the #55 would follow close behind with Dexter Canipe Jr. in the #5 breathing down his neck. Bruenger would get around Swilling and bring Canipe with him. Bruenger would hang on to grab his first NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model victory and celebrate in furious fashion in victory lane. Canipe would hold on for 2nd while Millington would make the long trek back through the field a second time to finish 3rd. Cox would grab the 4th finishing position and Gray would show the great Hickory Motor Speedway crowd that he was not only fast in a straight line,but he could also turn left, ending his night with a top 5 finish in 5th.
Finishing off the night's events would be the Smash & Crash series with their 10 laps of controlled chaos and motoring mayhem. The much maligned tractor tire would make an appearance at the exit of turn 4 and would lead to several close calls and numerous contact. At the end of the evening the #5 of Joseph Hodges's would end up with his hood in the air and visiting victory lane as the winner.
Next week America's Most Famous Short Track will see the Must See Sprint Cars hit the track along with the USAC Midgets. In two weeks the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series returns to action with Lyndon R. Helton Attorney At Law Night at the races with a full slate of racing action scheduled, including: NWAAS Late Models, Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models, One Design Super Trucks, Cosmo Motors Street Stocks, and the Carolina Custom Golf Cart 4-Cylinders.