Following a rainy start to the day, a glorious afternoon and evening afforded some great racing this past weekend at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Michael Elliott made his first start in a Vintage car a memorable one with a dominating victory. Super Trucks were the next division on the track with Clay Thomas putting on an equally-impressive run to take the win. Tom Hutson and Willie Fulford had a spirited battle in the Mini-Stock race with Hutson ultimately coming home with the trophy. The Charger race had great racing throughout the pack, but Steve Jones saw all of it in his rearview mirror as he cruised to an easy triumph.
Justin Milliken led early; fell back into the pack slightly and then charged back to the front to grab his first checkered flag in over a year. Finally it was Willie Grainger and Brian Vause teaming up to win the first skid plate race of the season.
Elliott made his first run ever in a vintage car on Saturday. During the day there were multiple opportunities for track drying thanks to intermittent rain showers. Elliott helped with the efforts and actually learned some things about his car in the process.
That showed when they dropped the green flag and he took off. The race went green for the full 25
laps and Elliott was never challenged. Willie Grainger came home with the class win for full-bodied cars to start off his evening of racing in four different classes.
Next up was Super Trucks and, although Thomas led wire-to-wire, it wasn't as dominating as Elliott's vintage race. Hayes Goodson had a strong truck and did his best to chase down Thomas as the laps were winding down. A crucial moment, with two laps to go, saw Thomas catch a slow car in the middle of the front straight and quickly dispatch him. Goodson wasn't so lucky, catching him in the corner. The critical seconds lost trying to make that pass was all it took for Thomas to stretch the lead and stroll over the final lap and a half to the victory.
In the Mini-Stock race, Willie Fulford jumped to the point at the drop of the rag, but Tom Hutson was right on his tail. As the race began to unfold Hutson stalked Fulford and eventually passed him six laps into the 20-lap feature. Fulford stayed in contact with the leader and came close to him over the final two circuits, but it was Hutson taking the win in the Island Pools and Spas Mini-Stock feature.
The Charger race was the final warm-up before the feature and Jones led every lap on his way to the win. While he held the point for all 25 laps, he did not go unchallenged. Joe Armakovitch, Grainger and Kevin Barnhill battled hard behind Jones and stayed within striking distance for the entire event. A late race caution put Armakovitch on Jones outside. While he stayed close and kept Jones honest he was unable to make a serious challenge for the lead.
The 75 Late Model feature was action packed from beginning to end. Milliken took the lead at the drop of the green, but Jimmy McDowell made a bold run from the back to the front. After starting shotgun on the field thanks to an oil pan issue earlier in the day, McDowell took the lead on lap 11 from Matt Piercy, who had wrested it away from Milliken on lap 9. Unfortunately for McDowell, his power plant didn't last and he was out of the race 13 laps later with a blown
engine. Matt Piercy took to the point with the failure of McDowell and led all of the way to the crossed flags. Milliken was able to retake the lead off of turn four from Piercy as they came by the flag stand for the halfway point. Points leader Matt Cox followed Milliken into the second spot on the next lap. The race ran green with Milliken stretching his advantage at one point to half of a straight.
Cox attempted to reel him in at the end and got it down to five car lengths, but Milliken was just too hooked up and would not be denied. Brian Vause finished third, but still trails Cox for the points lead thanks to the runner-up finish for the No. 51 driver.
The night concluded with the first installment of skid plate racing of the season. It was a five-lap race with a driver change in the middle of the back straight after two laps. Grainger was fourth out of the four cars by turn one, but reeled the field back in and was right in the mix by the driver change when Vause got into the car. Track general manager Steve Zacharias jumped in his Cadillac to take over from his brother and set sail to try to track down Vause in the lead car.
On the final lap Vause spun entering turn three, stayed in the gas and was ahead through three and four by feet. He and Zacharias traded paint all of the way down the front straight before Vause grabbed the win by a matter of inches.
The next race at Myrtle Beach Speedway is the “Celebrate Mother's Day” race May 7. Between now and then is the Horry County Fair at the legendary track April 15-24.
Late Models winners are Justin Milliken, Matt Cox, Brian Vause, Lucas Williams, Matt Piercy, Chris Throckmorton, TJ Barron, Jackie Ward, Bryant Barnhill, Sam Scarpelli and Jeremy McDowell.
Super Trucks winners are Clay Thomas, Hayes Goodson, Barry Elvis, Sean Gartner, Tyler Howell, Brian Blackwell, Eric Knight, Ham Morrison, Willie Grainger and Kevin Parsons.
Mini-Stocks winners were Tom Hutson, Willie Fulford, Adam Fulford, Dub Fulford and Mark Evans.
Winners in the Chargers division are Steve Jones, Joe Armakovitch, Willie Grainger, Kevin Barnhill, Ed Williams, Brian Owens, Alex Hicks, Tim Wright, Lyle Roberts, Ed Ray and Eric Joyner.