CONCORD, N.C. — Audio, photo and recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman —
Some would call the result of Monday night’s final race to start the 22nd annual Bojangles’ Summer Shootout (BOJSSO) a coincidence.
However, Dawson Cram simply calls it a win.
Cram led a slate of six winners on opening night for the annual summer series for Bandolero and Legends Cars, picking up his first career BOJSSO victory in the Young Lions class — also his second career Legends Car victory on the frontstretch quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The driver of the Bojangles’ No. 11 started from the point after a multitude of problems for initial polesitter Jacob Heafner, and led the first eight laps of the 20-lap main that saw five cautions on the initial start before a lap was officially complete.
By the time lap eight hit? So did a torrential downpour.
At that stage, the race had hit the scheduled time limit — leading race officials to call the event complete under stormy skies and leaving the four-year Shootout regular with the biggest victory of his young career.
“It’s just an amazing deal,” Cram said in the tech line after victory lane ceremonies were moved to shelter. “I think I probably could have won it in the rain if they would have let us finish it out because I’ve raced a ton of dirt [at Millbridge Speedway] and that just suits my driving style. I’ll take it this way though, for sure!”
A lap before the rains came, Justin Taylor brought out the caution when he took a hard shunt into the turn two Styrofoam. The Shootout regular gingerly climbed out of his battered Chris Woods Racing No. 03, but was uninjured in the incident.
In Legends Semi-Pro division action, first responder Sheldon Crouse returned to the wheel of a Legends Car at Charlotte and nearly picked up a win to start the summer — darting out from the pole to lead the first 20 laps of the division’s 25-lap feature event.
However, Stevie Johns had other plans. The driver of the Brown Bell Housings No. 91 snuck by Crouse on lap 21 just before Crouse spun behind him to bring out the race’s only caution — and then held off Austin Langenstein for his first-ever Shootout win in any division and his third career victory on the CMS quarter-mile.
“It means a ton,” Johns said of breaking through at the Shootout. “This is my third summer running all of the races and to start with a bang feels great. Now we can run the rest of the season the same, and hopefully pick up a few more of these. This is unreal though. I’m going to find a special place for this trophy.”
Crouse swallowed the tough loss with the solace that his team has the speed to contend, but knows it will be a long summer digging out of his early points hole.
“I just made a mistake,” Crouse admitted. “Tried to cross him over and locked the brakes up. I didn’t mean to get into him as hard as I did — but once I did it turned me around and that was the end of that. We’ve got speed though, so I’m confident for the next nine races.”
Two-time defending Masters division champion Tom Pistone made quick work of another Legends car feature at Charlotte, passing longtime division rival Scott Whitaker on lap six of the 25-lap main and leading the final 20 laps to score the opening night victory for the second year in a row.
“Our car was really on a rail tonight,” Pistone said. “Great forward bite — the car is actually four-time USLCI Masters National Champion Ira Laughy’s car. We’re shaking it down the first two rounds so he can hopefully come down from Canada and run it the rest of the summer. Hopefully we can come up with a motor program for my primary car, but either way, a win at Charlotte is always a big deal.”
In Bandolero action, Daniel Wilk made a spectacular charge from the outside of row two in the Bandits (ages 8-11) division feature, passing Ryan Israel with a bump-and-run on lap 15 and leading the final six laps to score his ninth-consecutive victory on the quarter-mile at CMS.
Wilk, who swept the eight-race Winter Heat Series in the Bandits class back in January and February, said (with a huge smile) that his first Shootout win topped all eight of the prior victory celebrations combined.
“[Just winning] sounds really great, but to win at the Shootout finally is huge!” Wilk said. “I knew I had to get to Ryan before he checked out, and somehow I ran him down. It was calm, it was smooth and when I got to his bumper, I knew that was my chance [to make the pass.]”
Other division winners included Ashton Higgins (Bandolero Outlaws) and Landon Rapp (Beginner Bandoleros).
After the rains hit, the headlining Pro division feature was scrapped and rescheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday night, setting up a doubleheader for the stars of the top class on Principal School Bus Racing night.
Round two 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 9 beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern — with live coverage online at www.goprn.com and additional audio, video and social media coverage right here on Race Chaser Online!
RESULTS: Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Series; Round One; Charlotte Motor Speedway; June 8, 2015
Legends Car Pro Division (25 laps): Rained out; Rescheduled for June 9
Legends Car Masters Division (25 laps): 1. Tom Pistone, 2. Scott Whitaker, 3. Robbie Faggart, 4. Bruce Silver, 5. Chip Ferguson, 6. Carl Cormier, 7. Jan Ingram, 8. Ron Mander, 9. Danny Bisson, 10. Craig Bruce, 11. #14, 12. Jamie Smith, 13. Herman Towe, 14. Rodney Tharp.
Audio with race-winner Tom Pistone:
Legends Car Semi-Pro Division (25 laps): 1. Stevie Johns Jr., 2. Austin Langenstein, 3. John Holleman IV, 4. Jake Tretow, 5. Jordan Stillwell, 6. Joe Gregory, 7. Joe Graf Jr., 8. Connor Pyle, 9. Jensen Jorgensen, 10. Riley Herbst, 11. Scott Joy, 12. Devin O’Connell, 13. Sprout Royal, 14. Sheldon Crouse, 15. Enrique Limon, 16. Cameron McGee, 17. Hannah Bell, 18. Holden German, 19. Taylor Jorgensen, 20. Craig Biryla.
Audio with race winner Stevie Johns:
Audio with Sheldon Crouse post-race:
Legends Car Young Lions Division (20 laps; shortened to 8 laps due to time limit and rain): 1. Dawson Cram, 2. Ryan Millington, 3. Austin Green, 4. Chase Purdy, 5. Alex Reece, 6. Eddie Fatscher, 7. Jacob Heafner, 8. Andrew Moeller, 9. Sam Mayer, 10. #68 (No name listed), 11. Carson Poindexter, 12. Jack Fread, 13. Justin Taylor.
Audio with race winner Dawson Cram:
Audio with runner-up Ryan Millington:
Audio with Justin Taylor post-race:
Bandolero Outlaws Division (20 laps): 1. Ashton Higgins, 2. Matthew Davey, 3. Connor Younginer, 4. Roy Hayes, 5. Trevor Rizzo, 6. Robby Gordon Douglas, 7. Matthew Eades, 8. Matthew Emery, 9. Tristan Lesik, 10. Austin Geer, 11. Hudgins Gauntt, 12. #24B (No name listed), 13. #22 (No name listed), 14. Gracie Trotter, 15. Seth Henry, 16. Elysia Potter, 17. Austin Powell, 18. John Legg, 19. Liz Montgomery, 20. #35 (No name listed).
Bandolero Bandits Division (20 laps): 1. Daniel Wilk, 2. Ryan Israel, 3. Carson Kvapil, 4. William Robusto, 5. Bryson Ruff, 6. Blake Cisneros, 7. Tommy Good, 8. Josh Kossek, 9. Cameron Bolin, 10. #26 (No name listed), 11. D.J. Canipe, 12. Mini Tyrell, 13. Jaiden Reyna, 14. #47 (No name listed), 15. George Hayes, 16. Ethan Johnson.
Audio with race winner Daniel Wilk:
Audio with runner-up Ryan Israel:
Beginner Bandolero Division (20 laps): 1. Landon Rapp, 2. Leland Honeyman, 3. Alberto Limon, 4. Jackson Moore, 5. Zach Miracle, 6. Putnam, 7. Jacob Gantz, 8. Tyler Bartoszewicz, 9. Josh Speas, 10. David Selvik, 11. Stanley Hayes.