CONCORD, N.C. — Audio, recap and cover photo by Managing Editor Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — “If this really is the end of the Legends road, it’s a heck of a farewell tour.”
Those were the first words from Ladyga Motorsports driver Daniel Hemric following his traditional backflip and milestone 25th Pro division victory during Tuesday night’s fireworks extravaganza and Round Ten finale for the 2014 Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series, and while they may tell a lot about where he’s heading next, the emotion in his voice also told how proud he was to be standing in Victory Lane on such a monumental night as six division champions were crowned at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gregory Lang started on the pole for the finale event, but it was Joey Padgett who drove to the front of the field early in search of his first Pro division win at Charlotte. Padgett took the lead from Lang on Lap 6 following a yellow for a two-car spin in Turn 3, but it was Hemric grabbing the lead a lap later and leaving the rest of his competition to place a silver sheen on his dominant 2014 season.
Beyond the significance of the 25th Pro win, the triumph sealed Hemric’s third career Pro division championship at the Summer Shootout, both of which are records in the class that may never be matched.
“What a night,” a beaming Hemric added in Victory Lane. “This has been an amazing season for all of us; the Ladyga Motorsports team has given me amazing cars and it’s just an honor to drive for them. I was really hoping we were going to get it tonight, that 25th win. That’s a really special mark for all of us and I’m truly proud of everyone who’s been a part of making that happen. To get a third championship here as well, this track has so many special memories for me and I’m glad to have made two more tonight.”
“I may not be here next summer, I haven’t told a lot of people that yet; there’s some stuff in the works. So we’ll see. But it’s truly been a privilege to help mentor some of the younger drivers here, especially my teammate Carson Ferguson; everyone needs to keep an eye on him because he’s only 14 years old and he’s already done a ton here at the Shootout. He’s gonna have a bright future in this sport and I can’t wait to see where he goes as well.”
True to his teammate’s words, Ferguson powered to his class-record eighth win of the season in the Young Lions class, however the win didn’t come without one final challenge from season-long rival Matt Thomas. The Florida native and Steven Ross Motorsports driver led in the early going, but after Ferguson dove to the inside on lap 8 and took the lead, it was game, set and match from there. Thomas finished second one more time and Christian Eckes rounded out the podium. Stevie Johns and Alex Murray made up the rest of the top five after a crash on the final lap involving several cars, including the machine of Riley Herbst, shook up the finish.
The win was Ferguson’s 12th career Young Lions win at the Shootout and capped off his first career Young Lions division title, following the Bandolero Bandits championship at Charlotte in 2011.
“This is a cool night for Ladyga Motorsports,” a grinning Ferguson said in Victory Lane. “Daniel and I sealed the two championships last night, but to come out here tonight and win one more time, it’s a great way to complete the season at Charlotte. I can’t thank Tim and Cheryl Ladyga enough for giving me the chance this year and it’s fun to race their cars. Matt Thomas and I had a good battle there all season, and he raced me hard tonight but it was all clean racing and we got ourselves one more.”
The closest points battle of the night took place in the Semi-Pro division, where rookie Devin O’Connell, Josh Brimecombe and second-generation Shootout competitor Dillon Faggart all entered the final feature with a shot at claiming the season title. While Sheldon Crouse led the early laps, O’Connell’s championship hopes evaporated when first his left front tire went down on lap 9 and then he was involved in a skirmish a corner later, ultimately trapping him four laps down and out of contention.
With O’Connell out of the picture, Faggart and Brimecombe were left to duel for all the glory. Faggart wrested the lead from Crouse on lap 13 and hung on for his fourth win of the season and fourth career Semi-Pro win at Charlotte, but Brimecombe crossed the line in third and claimed his first-career Summer Shootout championship by eight points.
“I can’t even begin to express what I’m feeling right now,” a speechless Brimecombe said during post-race festivities. “This is insane. If you’d have told me at the start of this that I’d get my first win this season, I’d have said you were crazy. When you add to it that we just won the Summer Shootout championship, I just, I don’t even know what to say right now. My whole Chase Pistone Inc. team was incredible and we used consistency, consistency, consistency and it paid off tonight!”
Despite the elation of winning the title, though?
“Listen, yes, we won the championship, but I still hate this race track!” Brimecombe reminded with a laugh.
The Shootout became a family affair on Tuesday evening as well, as Dillon Faggart’s father Robby motored to his first-career Masters division victory after two years of trying. Faggart drove around Scott Whitaker on lap 14 and drove away as sparks flew behind him to claim a long-overdue trophy at Charlotte.
“Wow, this one’s been a while coming. We had a few we should have won this year, but I gave ’em away for one reason or another. When Tom (Pistone) bumped me out of the way on the last lap a few weeks ago, I was looking in my mirrors. Tonight, I took them all off except for one on the left-rear so I could see if anyone was inside of me and just drove. And you know what? It worked,” Faggart quipped with a big grin.
The Faggarts become the second father-son pair to triumph on the same night at the Shootout, following Tom and Thomas Van Wingerden back in 2006.
Tom Pistone, who won the first seven races of the season in the class and claimed nine of the ten pole awards, finished third to seal his second-straight Masters championship at the Shootout.
In Bandolero competition, two drivers came into the Outlaw division feature with a shot at the championship, but it was a driver who had every vestige of bad luck imaginable through the first nine weeks who crashed the party.
Mississippi native Chase Purdy darted away from the field after passing Kamera McDonald for the top spot on lap 3 and never looked back, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 8 at an 18.398 and driving away to a five car length victory over Austin Powell, who was looking to overtake Jensen Jorgensen for the summer-long championship.
Jorgensen, who entered the night with the championship lead, was not rattled by the pressure and finished fourth to claim the Summer Shootout crown, his first, after also winning the Atlanta Motor Speedway Thursday Thunder title and the Bandolero Nationals. Jorgensen will have the opportunity to complete a perfect season if he can go on to claim the Bandolero Outlaws national points championship later this fall.
“What an amazing night this was,” Jorgensen said during the post-race celebration. “Coming into this season having never won a Summer Shootout race before this summer, I was determined to win this championship this year. It was amazing winning my first shootout race, but to win three and then bring home this championship was a huge accomplishment. It has been an amazing year and this is something I will remember for the rest of my life!”
The most serious incident of the night occurred on lap 4, when Jack Fread went for a triple barrel-roll in turn 4 before coming to a stop up against the SAFER barrier. Fread was uninjured in the crash and walked away under his own power.
In the Bandolero Bandits, Chandler Smith’s bid for the first perfect season in any Summer Shootout class came to an end on finale night.
Smith had to start last (20th) after missing his heat race due to a stuck throttle, but put on a show driving through the field. After a lap 9 caution, the Georgia shoe had made his way up to the ninth position, but could only get as far as second over the final eleven laps, falling eight car lengths short to eventual winner D.J. Canipe, who collected his second career Bandits division victory at Charlotte and first of the season.
Despite missing out on the finale win, Smith collected the championship hardware after having clinched the title outright during Round Nine on Monday.
“This is still a nice way to finish my Bandolero career, even though I wanted that record really bad,” Smith expressed after the event. “We just ran out of time there at the end. I’m proud of the drive we had tonight though, and it was thanks to all the people that worked on this car all season. We’re going to be racing Pro Late Models after this, so we’re hoping for some more success there.”
In the Bandolero Beginner Bandits class for first-year competitors, George Hayes held off a charging Carson Poindexter coming off of turn 4 on the final lap to claim his first career Summer Shootout victory in a photo-finish. The official margin of victory was 0.049 seconds at the twin checkers.
The Beginner Bandits are an exhibition division that does not race for points, so no champion was crowned in that division.
With the close of the 2014 Summer Shootout Series, the INEX US Legend Cars and Bandoleros turn their attention to the national points race and their next event at Bowman-Gray Stadium on Friday night, August 1st.
For more information on the US Legend Cars and Bandoleros, visit www.uslegendcars.com.
RESULTS: 21st Annual Jack in the Box Summer Shootout Series; Round 10; Charlotte Motor Speedway; July 29th, 2014
Legend Car Pro Feature (25 laps): 1. Daniel Hemric; 2. William Byron; 3. Joey Padgett; 4. Kason Plott; 5. Jordan Black; 6. Tyler Green; 7. Jared Irvan; 8. Trey Jarrell; 9. Peyton Saxton; 10. Dakota Baggette; 11. Donovan Ponder; 12. Steven Cantrell; 13. Gregory Lang.
Audio with race winner and division champion Daniel Hemric:
Audio with runner-up William Byron:
Audio with 3rd-place Joey Padgett:
Security Force Legend Car Masters Feature (25 laps): 1. Robby Faggart; 2. Scott Whitaker; 3. Tom Pistone; 4. Bruce Silver; 5. Scott Mosely; 6. John Craig; 7. Shawn Geisel; 8. Ron Mander; 9. Jamie Laine; 10. Chip Ferguson; 11. Nelson Stewart; 12. Jan Ingram; 13. Jeffrey Lefcourt; 14. Robbie Woodall; 15. John Sossoman; 16. Jamie Smith
Audio with race winner Robby Faggart:
Audio with 3rd-place and division champion Tom Pistone:
Quaker Steak & Lube Legend Car Semi-Pro Feature (25 laps): 1. Dillon Faggart; 2. Sheldon Crouse; 3. Josh Brimecombe; 4. Jordan Stillwell; 5. John Holleman; 6. Tyler Truex; 7. David Schilling; 8. Josh Turner; 9. Robby Lyons; 10. Christopher Clanton; 11. Jake Tretow; 12. Joe Gregory; 13. Courtney Lefcourt; 14. Enrique Limon; 15. Devin O’Connell; 16. Connor Pyle; 17. Taylor Jorgensen; 18. Casey Brown; 19. Justin Laduke.
Audio with race winner Dillon Faggart:
Audio with runner-up Sheldon Crouse:
Audio with 3rd-place and division champion Josh Brimecombe:
Legend Car Young Lions Feature (20 laps): 1. Carson Ferguson; 2. Matt Thomas; 3. Christian Eckes; 4. Stevie Johns Jr.; 5. Alex Murray; 6. Seth Werner; 7. Woodrow Mullis; 8. Alex Reece; 9. Austin Green; 10. Ryan Millington; 11. Dawson Cram; 12. Cason Werner; 13. Zachary Leonhardi; 14. Stefan Parsons; 15. Mason Diaz; 16. Jacob Heafner; 17. Michael Womack; 18. Matt Craig; 19. Riley Herbst; 20. Noah Gragson; 21. Scott Joy; 22. AJ Davis; 23. Joseph Graf; 24. Cameron McGee; 25. Amber Burchette; 26. Jordan Mander.
Audio with race winner and division champion Carson Ferguson:
Audio with runner-up Matt Thomas:
Audio with 3rd-place Christian Eckes:
Bandoleros Outlaws Feature (20 laps): 1. Chase Purdy; 2. Austin Powell; 3. Ashton Winger; 4. Jensen Jorgensen; 5. Miguel Cesar Jr.; 6. Kamera McDonald; 7. Cory Hall; 8. Daniel Bedford; 9. Nick MacMillian; 10. Matt Mead; 11. Matthew Davey; 12. Matthew Emery; 13. Dylan Rumbolt; 14. Jordan Plummer; 15. Ryan Repko; 16. Gilliam Kirkpatrick; 17. Trevor Rizzo; 18. Nate Tretow; 19. Kayla Lyons; 20. Jack Fread.
Audio with race winner Chase Purdy:
Audio with 4th-place and division champion Jensen Jorgensen:
Audio with Jack Fread after his wild flip in turn 4:
LiveWell Homes Bandolero Bandits Feature (20 laps): 1. DJ Canipe; 2. Chandler Smith; 3. Carson Kvapil; 4. Eddie Fatscher; 5. Cameron Bolin; 6. Daniel Wilk; 7. Josh Kossek; 8. Connor Younginer; 9. Ryleigh Lemonds; 10. Mini Tyrell; 11. William Robusto; 12. Braydn Mander; 13. Austin Geer; 14. Bryson Ruff; 15. Kaden Honeycutt; 16. Brayde Miranda; 17. Elijah Todd; 18. Liz Montgomery; 19. Blake Cisneros; 20. Richie Kuty.
Audio with race winner D.J. Canipe:
Audio with runner-up and division champion Chandler Smith:
Bandolero Beginner Bandits Feature (20 Laps): 1. George Hayes; 2. Carson Poindexter; 3. Ashley Pantoulas; 4. Brandon Gantz; 5. Dylan Notaro; 6. Hunter Hutchens; 7. Josh Speas; 8. Isabella Robusto; 9. Roy Hayes; 10. Autumn Weaver; 11. Tommy Good; 12. Tyler Adams.
Audio with race winner George Hayes:
Audio with runner-up Carson Poindexter: