US LEGENDS: Road to Nationals Heating Up as Time Runs Out

Jacob Seelman Carolinas Racing, Featured, Northeast, Southeast 0 Comments

August 13, 2013 – By Jacob Seelman for Speed 77 Radio and RaceChaser Online – As the 2013 season winds down, it’s becoming even more evident that the cream continues to rise to the top in the National Points races for the INEX/US Legends Car divisions.

The last two weeks have been especially heated due to an abundance of National Qualifiers leading up to the Legends Asphalt Nationals on September 8th at Lake Erie Speedway, with drivers scrambling for every position and victory they can get in an effort to have a guaranteed starting position. With that in mind, here’s a look back at the last two weeks of action, with who’s been hot in recent races.

August 2nd, 2013 – Winston Salem, N.C. – Last Friday night, the Madhouse (Bowman-Gray Stadium) hosted Legend and Bandolero action in addition to their traditional Modified and Stock car weekend program, and it came with wild results with Nationals berths on the line.

In the Pro/Masters combined feature, Jordan Black finally put several weeks of promising Summer Shootout runs with no results to show for it behind him by holding off Florida hot-shoe Dakota Baggette for the Pro class and overall win, notching himself a Nationals provisional in the process. Black took the lead after a late race crash swept up race leaders Ryan Shattuck and Joey Padgett. Rodney Tharp went largely unchallenged over the 20 laps to score the victory in the Masters portion of the combined feature.

In the Young Lions/Semi-Pro feature, Carson Ferguson (YL) dominated the first 15 laps of the event and was looking for his 5th win in his last 11 races. However, the handle on the car went away late and Ferguson drifted up in Turn 3, allowing Stevie Johns Jr. to slip to the point. Johns would go on to take the Young Lions/overall victory, his first of the season, to put an end to a frustrating 2013 drought. William Byron, the Young Lions points leader, did not start the event. Jay Coen would continue his breakout roll in the Semi-Pro class and win in that division, notching his fourth major Legends win of 2013.

In Bandoleros, John Holleman IV proved his mastery of the Stadium, winning the Outlaws feature, and Cason Werner again took the victory over Dawson Cram in the Bandits class, in a reversal of the Summer Shootout finale where Cram overtook Werner in the final laps.

August 3rd, 2013 – Bethel, N.Y. – Qualifier action moved north to the Bethel Speedway in southern New York for Bethel’s annual LegendStock event, featuring a combined-division, 50-lap feature that has become a must-win event for Legends drivers. With $3,000 on the line as well as the 3-foot guitar trophy awarded to the winner, 49 drivers representing 8 states and 2 countries turned out for the National Qualifying event.

Quickly established was the dominance of the out-of-towners, with William Byron (YL) and Tyler Green (P) asserting their dominance as the top two in qualifying. For Byron, the overall pole lap was more than a tenth faster than Green, a huge accomplishment for the Young Lions National Championship leader.

After heat races, and two packed last chance races (C and B-main), 24 cars were set for the main event. Tyler Green (P), starting from pole, wasted no time in placing his car out front overall, but had to defend his lead as the front five (Green, Byron, Mike Alcaro, Austin Berry and Ryan Mackintosh) broke away from the rest of the field. Those five fought and clawed amongst themselves for position until late in the race when Mike Alcaro spun with just 3 laps to go, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Another caution however, in which Aidan Landauer ended up on his door, ended the race with 49 laps complete. Green stormed to the Pro and overall wins, with Byron (YL), Berry (SP) and Joe Graf (M) taking class wins. For Byron, it was especially sweet to grab the National Qualifying berth after two near misses in NCQ events at Atlanta and Charlotte.

August 12th, 2013 – Concord, N.C. – And on Saturday night, Concord Speedway reopened to a packed grandstand and the roar of Legends and Bandolero engines for the beginning of their Fall points series, which runs from August to October.

Due to impending storms, the speedway put the entire schedule on “hurry-up”, with an hour window to get three Bandolero features and two combined Legends features complete before the rains fell.

Josh Kossek, just two weeks after a breakthrough win in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Summer Shootout finale, stormed to another Beginner Bandits win in the Fall opener, while Dawson Cram (Bandits) and Jensen Jorgensen (Outlaws) each continued their quests for the national points championships by picking up their division wins. For Cram, it was his seventh Concord win of the season, and for Jorgensen, it was the Outlaw’s sixth 2013 win at Concord.

In the Legends ranks, William Byron continued to add to his Young Lions national lead with his 18th win of 2013 and 10th at Concord. Currently holding a 24 point lead in the National Championship, that lead is now expected to grow when the updated points are released later this week. Semi-Pro national leader Ryan Mackintosh scored the win in his division, his 11th of the year at Concord, and Zane Smith, driving for Chase Pistone, grabbed the Pro class win.

With just 3 weeks left to go before Legends Asphalt Nationals in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Bandolero nationals this weekend in Bethel, N.Y., all of the INEX/USL drivers will be scrambling for everything they can get as the season winds to conclusion.

Who will take the glory? Stay tuned to find out.

PHOTO COURTESY:  SpeedRacer Photos

Results:  – August 2 (Bowman-Gray Stadium)

Legends Masters (20 laps) – 1. Rodney Tharp, 2. Jon Craig, 3. Jason Austin

Legends Pro (20 laps) – 1. Jordan Black, 2. Dakota Baggette, 3. Joe Ryan Osborne

Legends Semi-Pro (20 laps) – 1. Jay Coen, 2. Sheldon Crouse, 3. Jake Burkhalter

Legends Young Lions (20 laps) – 1. Stevie Johns Jr., 2. Carson Ferguson, 3. Michael Womack

Bandolero Outlaws (15 laps) – 1. John Holleman IV, 2. Dylan Smith, 3. Alton Clark

Bandolero Bandits (15 laps) – 1. Cason Werner, 2. Dawson Cram, 3. DJ Canipe

August 3 (Bethel LegendStock)

Legends Feature (49 laps) – 1. Tyler Green (P), 2. William Byron (YL), 3. Austin Berry (SP), 4. Joe Graf (M), 5. Richie Coy (P), 6. Johnny Sutton (SP), 7. Richie Davidowitz (P), 8. Kevin Yeatts (M), 9. Robert Silver Jr. (YL), 10. Michael Carroll Jr. (P), 11. Ryan Mackintosh (SP), 12. Jim Sylvester (M), 13. Aidan Landauer (SP), 14. Mike Alcaro (P), 15. Stephen Hershey (P), 16. Carl Vilardo (SP), 17. Brendon Bock (P), 18. Tom Sherman (M), 19. RJ White (P), 20. Raven Schrantz (P), 21. Artie Pedersen III (YL), 22. Matt Evans (P), 23. Todd McCollum (P), 24. Brad Lowmaster (SP).

 

August 10 (Concord Speedway)

Winners:

Legends Pro – Zane Smith

Legends Semi-Pro – Ryan Mackintosh

Legends Young Lions – William Byron

Bandolero Outlaws – Jensen Jorgensen

Bandolero Bandits – Dawson “DK” Cram

Bandolero Beginner Bandits – Joshua Kossek

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