September 30, 2013 – By Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – Concord, N.C. – In a year that’s produced surprises and upsets for the INEX US Legend Car and Bandolero Series, Saturday night’s action at Concord Speedway was almost…predictable.
That’s not to say the racing wasn’t exciting, however. On the season’s penultimate weekend, every point was crucial for track championship hopes, and drivers were fighting and clawing for every inch of space they could get on the tight quarter-mile oval over the course of the chilly Saturday night.
All seven INEX divisions were on hand for the night’s action, which started out with a pleasant surprise in the Beginner Bandits class. Hometown young gun Nick MacMillan, out of Concord, took his first-career Concord Speedway checkered flag over Henry Broadbent Jr. in a dicey event stalled by six cautions. The final yellow involving the No. 3 of Chase Robertson, at Lap 9 of 15 scheduled, ultimately ended the race under caution due to the fifteen minute time limit.
In the Bandits class, the feature was no contest as Zachary Dabbs (Mooresville, NC) started from pole and led every lap en route to victory, though it was hard-earned after runner-up Dawson Cram made a charge over the final 10 laps of the 20-lap feature. Cram, while nearly two-tenths quicker on the stopwatch in the waning laps, ran out of time and had to settle for the second position, with D.J. Canipe completing the podium.
In Outlaws, the racing was hard for every position except the number one spot, as 2013 National Champion Jensen Jorgensen (McDonough, GA) blasted out to the early lead and never looked back, leading every lap of the 20-lap feature en route to his 24th victory of the 2013 season. For Jorgensen, who had already clinched the Outlaw division national title coming into the weekend, the win solidified his hold on the Concord track championship as well going into the final weekend of competition this Friday.
Behind Jorgensen, however, the racing was fast and furious, as second through fifth places changed hands numerous times over the course of the main event. Ultimately, it was Dylan Smith claiming the runner-up spot behind Jorgensen, with the 29 of Austin Powell coming home in the third spot.
Jacob Heafner was running in the top three at the white flag, but an incident on the final lap brought out the caution and relegated Heafner to 10th in the rundown.
“We got wrecked,” he said dejectedly in the pits following the feature. “Just a bad night.”
In the Legends ranks, a lack of cautions would lead to the 2013 championship stars holding serve once again at Concord. In Young Lions, William Byron (Charlotte, NC) dominated the evening, qualifying on pole and leading all 25 laps over his Dennis Lambert Racing teammate Tripp Gerrald. In a reversal of the finish a few weeks ago at the Asphalt Nationals when Gerrald took the win over Byron, this time it was Byron who got away and could not be challenged down the stretch. The rookie picked up his 28th US Legends win of the season, with 18 of those (including Saturday’s triumph) coming at the Concord Speedway.
“We’ve just had a really good car here all year,” Byron said following the race in Victory Lane. “Dennis Lambert’s been great all year at getting this car hooked up all year, and it’s shown in our dominance here. Just an outstanding season.”
Byron will miss this weekend’s season finale at Concord to travel out to Las Vegas to race in the season ending event at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
In the Semi-Pro class, national points leader Ryan Mackintosh put everyone else out of reach and iced the cake on his 2013 season with a division win Saturday night. For the Flying Canadian, it was a pole to victory performance reminiscent of his whole season of dominance, taking the checkers over Josh Brimecombe for his 19th division win of the year, and 16th at Concord.
“This has just been an awesome year for us,” Mackintosh said after the win. “Yeah, we missed a couple that we could have had at Charlotte, but to be so good here at Concord, and now, to have a points gap that means we’ve got the title, it’s a great feeling.”
In the combined Pro/Masters feature event, Keith Newcomer won in the Pro category and took the overall feature win, while Gene Traxler took the win in the Masters class for being the highest division finisher.
The Concord Speedway season draws to a close this weekend with a tripleheader finale event this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Full US Legends and Bandolero porgrams will be contested each night. For more information, visit concordspeedway.net.
The US Legend Cars International pavement points season also concludes nationwide this weekend, with local tracks contesting their final season events. For information on USLCI, including points, driver stories and the latest news from around the country, visit uslegendcars.com.
Concord Speedway Division Winners: September 28th, 2013
Legends Pro: Keith Newcomer
Legends Masters: Gene Traxler
Legends Semi-Pro: Ryan Mackintosh
Legends Young Lions: William Byron
Bandolero Outlaws: Jensen Jorgensen
Bandolero Bandits: Zachary Dabbs
Bandolero Beginner Bandits: Nicholas MacMillan
Semi-Pro Winner Ryan Mackintosh:
Young Lions Winner William Byron:
Young Lions Runner-Up Tripp Gerrald:
Bandolero Outlaws Winner Jensen Jorgensen:
Bandolero Bandits Winner Zachary Dabbs:
Bandolero Bandits Runner-Up Dawson Cram:
Bandolero Beginner Bandits Winner Nick MacMillan:
Photo Credit: Melanie Gerrald