CONCORD, N.C. — Recap and photos by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Audio by Tom Baker, James Pike and Jacob Seelman —
Tuesday night was a night to remember for Concord, N.C. native and Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series regular Evan Swilling.
Swilling, who recently picked up support from Steven Ross Motorsports for the remainder of the 2015 summer series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, took the lead from polesitter Zane Smith on lap six after an early race caution and led the rest of the way to pick up an emotional victory in the Human Tuning Group Pro Division.
The victory was not only Swilling’s first win in the 2015 Summer Shootout Series, it was his first-career Shootout victory in the Pro class since joining the division full-time in 2010.
The closest the Shootout veteran had come to a Pro win before Tuesday was a pair of second place finishes in Rounds Nine and Ten in 2013.
“We did not need [the final caution] at all,” Swilling laughed. “This car was on a rail tonight. On the restart I thought maybe [Jordan] Black or [teammate Michael] Torres was going to get to me, but after the first lap back green I knew we had it. I didn’t look in the mirror again from there until the checkered flag flew.”
“It means so much,” Swilling added of finally being able to win in Legends car racing’s top division. “I can’t even explain it. I got to thinking I may have lost it there for a while, but we hung on and we got ourselves a trophy. This is awesome.”
Swilling was chased to the line by 2015 Winter Heat Series champion Joey Padgett and PASS South Super Late Model star Jared Irvan, who won the division’s Round Five feature one week ago. Pro points leader Michael Torres finished fifth.
In the Security Force Masters class, Robby Faggart finally triumphed over a snarling pack of veterans to notch his first win of the summer and his second-career win in the division for drivers 40 and up.
Faggart led the 25-lap main event wire-to-wire, and had to battle a loose race car and a charging Tom Pistone over the final five lap dash to the finish — set up following the race’s only caution at lap 20, when Jon Craig lost control of his car on the frontstretch and spun.
That caution drew an extensive red flag for track cleanup, after Craig limped around to the entrance of turn three and came to a stop, his car pouring fluid from underneath it.
Despite the treacherous conditions, as well as nearly losing control of his car twice in the final lap, Faggart hung on for what he called a “redeeming” win after five weeks of horrid luck and close calls.
“I guess maybe we just need to start running dirt, because it seems like that’s the only way I can hold him back. Every time we try to run asphalt out here the last two or three weeks, [Tom] just runs over me,” the veteran said in victory lane. “We had a good run though. The track was a mess. I was surprised I was able to hold the lead a couple of times because I was sliding around so much in three and four.”
“I’m just happy to hold on tonight — happy to be here and get this win.”
Pistone finished second, followed by Scott Whitaker, Bruce Silver and Akinori Ogata.
The Masters feature was also marked by the Summer Shootout debut of 1991 Daytona 500 champion Ernie Irvan, who finished 13th.
“Other times I’ve run at Charlotte Motor Speedway, I’ve usually run a little bit better,” Irvan said after the race. “I haven’t run anything in 15 years, and I’ve never run these cars. It was just different. I need to do a little bit more of it.”
The senior Irvan said after the race that he hopes to be back later this summer.
Sheldon Crouse used a bump-and-run pass of Austin Langenstein, on a restart with six laps to go, to seize control of the Semi-Pro division feature and roll to his third-consecutive and third-career Summer Shootout victory in the division.
The win for Crouse also handed him the points lead over Devo Motorsports teammate John Holleman IV, who finished 11th after numerous cautions in the 24-lap main event, shortened by a lap due to the time limit.
“[Austin] got me pretty good going into one on the restart before the last one, and I was able to hold it down,” Crouse explained. “The next restart I just returned the favor. You gotta do what you gotta do here sometimes, and that was one of those times.”
“To come out here, after we had never won one before this year, and now to have three in a row, that’s pretty awesome.”
Stevie Johns finished second at the caution and checkered flags, with Devin O’Connell rebounding from a blown engine and crash during Round Five to take the final step of the podium in third. Connor Pyle rallied to fourth in his best effort of the summer to date, and Sprout Royal scored his first-career top five effort at CMS with a fifth place finish.
Chase Purdy rallied from a crash in his heat race to notch his third win in six races in the Young Lions division, taking the victory over Alex Reece, Ryan Millington and Dawson Cram. With the victory, Purdy also moved into the division points lead with four races remaining.
In Bandolero action, Josh Speas scored his second straight Beginner Bandolero division win in a race marred by cautions and shortened to 18 laps via the time limit; Daniel Wilk maintained his pursuit of perfection in the Bandits division with his sixth straight Shootout win and his 14th consecutive division win overall at CMS; and Blaise Brinkley became a first-time Shootout victor when he passed a slowing Ashton Higgins with five laps to go to win in the Outlaws class.
Higgins, who won four of the first five Outlaws features, cited a broken rear shock as the reason for his DNF.
In the most action-packed school bus slobberknocker of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout season, Donnie Icenhour, of Rocky River Church, steered his five-ton bus past the competition and into Victory Lane to claim the title of Faster Pastor Tuesday night.
The race was marred by one caution, when race leader David Henderson, of Venture Church, made contact with Icenhour’s bus, causing Henderson’s bus to flip on its side racing into turn four. Unfazed, Henderson climbed into a backup bus and continued the race, finishing eighth.
Following the restart, Icenhour traded the top spot with Scott Davis of Pitts Baptist Church, before ultimately taking the lead for good with two laps remaining.
“It was a great night. It started out a little shaky, but then I let Jesus take the wheel,” Icenhour said. “This is awesome because it’s my boy’s birthday. He was my good luck charm.”
Davis followed Icenhour across the stripe to finish second, with Don Newman (Memorial United Methodist Church), Jeff Bates (Elevation Church) and Scott Gentry (Motor Racing Outreach) rounding out the top five.
Round Seven for the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout puts the nation’s top Bandolero and Legend Car drivers in seven classes back onto the track on Tuesday night, June 14 beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern — with live webcast coverage online at www.goprn.com and additional audio, video and social media coverage right here on Race Chaser Online!
The Charlotte Motor Speedway contributed to this story.
RESULTS: 22nd annual Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series; Charlotte Motor Speedway; July 7, 2015
Beginner Bandolero Division (18 laps; shortened by time limit): 1. Josh Speas; 2. Jason Chapman; 3. Tyler Chapman; 4. Jacob Putnam; 5. Mason Dejarnett; 6. Byers Faunce; 7. Kailey Murray; 8. Conner Jones; 9. Parker Eatmon; 10. Zachary Miracle; 11. Jackson Moore; 12. Jaiden Reyna; 13. Tyler Bartoszewicz; 14. Adam Eades; 15. Stanley Hayes; 16. Trevor Wester; 17. Jacob Gantz
LiveWell Homes Bandolero Bandits Division (20 laps): 1. Daniel Wilk; 2. DJ Canipe; 3. Cameron Bolin; 4. William Robusto; 5. Bryson Ruff; 6. Tommy Good; 7. Josh Kossek; 8. Leland Honeyman; 9. George Hayes; 10. Dylan Notaro; 11. Steven Chapman; 12. Blaise Maddox; 13. Blake Cisneros; 14. Isabella Robusto; 15. Landon Rapp; 16. Carson Kvapil; 17. Hunter Hutchens
Audio with race winner Daniel Wilk:
Audio with runner-up D.J. Canipe:
Audio with third-place Cameron Bolin:
Bandolero Outlaws Division (20 laps): 1. Blaise Brinkley; 2. Jordan Plummer; 3. Austin Geer; 4. Matthew Eades; 5. Trevor Rizzo; 6. Gracie Trotter; 7. Bradyn Mander; 8. Connor Younginer; 9. Matthew Emery; 10. Elysia Potter; 11. Alberto Limon; 12. Ashton Higgins; 13. Justin Taylor; 14. Matthew Davey; 15. Roy Hayes; 16. Liz Montgomery; 17. Seth Henry; 18. Ashley Pantoulas
Audio with race winner Blaise Brinkley:
Audio with runner-up Jordan Plummer:
Audio with third-place Austin Geer:
Audio with division points leader Ashton Higgins:
Audio with Matthew Davey post-race:
Audio with Seth Henry following his wild opening lap flip:
Legends Car Young Lions Division (20 laps): 1. Chase Purdy; 2. Alex Reece; 3. Ryan Millington; 4. Dawson Cram; 5. Jacob Heafner; 6. Sam Mayer; 7. Carson Pointdexter; 8. Garret Manes; 9. Eddie Fastscher; 10. Jack Fread; 11. Austin Green.
Audio with race winner Chase Purdy:
Audio with runner-up Alex Reece:
Audio with third-place Ryan Millington:
Legends Car Semi-Pro Division (24 laps; shortened by time limit): 1. Sheldon Crouse; 2. Stevie Johns Jr.; 3. Devin O’Connell; 4. Connor Pyle; 5. Sprout Royal; 6. Matthew Craig; 7. Taylor Jorgenson; 8. Scott Joy; 9. Jordan Mander; 10. John Holleman IV; 11. Hannah Bell; 12. Holden German; 13. John Davis; 14. Jordan Stillwell; 15. Austin Langenstein; 16. Jensen Jorgensen; 17. Enrique Limon; 18. Gus Dean; 19. Craig Biryla; 20. Joshua Plummer
Audio with race winner Sheldon Crouse:
Audio with runner-up Stevie Johns:
Audio with third-place Devin O’Connell:
Audio with fourth-place Connor Pyle:
Audio with fifth-place Sprout Royal:
Audio with Austin Langenstein post-race:
Security Force Legends Car Masters Division (25 laps): 1. Robby Faggart; 2. Tom Pistone; 3. Scott Whitaker; 4. Bruce Silver; 5. Akinori Ogata; 6. Carl Cormier; 7. Tom Sherman; 8. Chip Ferguson; 9. Ron Mander; 10. Jamie Smith; 11. Jan Ingram; 12. Herman Towe; 13. Ernie Irvan; 14. Charles Parker; 15. Jon Craig.
Audio with race winner Robby Faggart:
Audio with third-place Scott Whitaker:
Audio with fourth-place Bruce Silver:
Body Mechanic Human Tuning Group Legends Car Pro Division (25 laps): 1. Evan Swilling; 2. Joey Padgett; 3. Jared Irvan; 4. Jordan Black; 5. Michael Torres; 6. Greg Lang; 7. Zane Smith; 8. Josh Williams; 9. Dillon Faggart; 10. Alex Murray; 11. Reid Wilson.
Audio with race winner Evan Swilling:
Audio with runner-up Joey Padgett:
Audio with third-place Jared Irvan:
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s. He is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for both the United Sprint Car Series and the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]