January 7, 2014 — Audio, cover photo and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — CONCORD, NC — He may not be Darth Vader, but the Imperial March might have been a good theme song for Daniel Hemric on Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hemric, who hours prior to the afternoon had been outfoxed by William Byron in Round 1 of the Legends Winter Heat at Charlotte, came back with a vengeance and dominated Round 2 of the Pro division, starting from pole and fending off an early challenge from his protege Ryan Mackintosh to grab the lead at Lap 2. Hemric then held Byron, who started 6th, and Mackintosh at bay over the course of the 20-lap feature to win his 21st career Legends Pro feature event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“It’s a big win for us,” Hemric expressed in Victory Lane. “Our car here is normally set up for the 100-degree heat, and we were really searching for speed for a lot of the afternoon, but we finally hit on something before the second heat race and it paid off.”
“William’s a great driver and battling with him all weekend has been a lot of fun. I know it’s gonna be hard-fought from now forward and I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna make the rest of this Winter Heat and especially the Shootout later on real fun.”
The feature was slowed by caution twice early on in the event, including a Lap 1 yellow for a four-car melee involving Trey Jarrell, Zane Smith, Evan Swilling and Michael Torres, who finished 3rd in the first feature of the afternoon.
In the Masters Division, Jon Craig, uncle to Young Lions competitor Matt Craig, waged a furious duel over much of the 20-lap feature with first feature winner Scott Whitaker and polesitter Robby Faggart.
Whitaker had to bat from the trenches after being involved in an early race spin with Carl Cormier, and caught a lucky break when a caution came out for Cormier’s engine expiring in a ball of fire on Lap 8. It took him more than three-quarters of the event to capitalize on it after being involved in two subsequent cautions, but Whitaker managed to get back to the front and was all over the bumper of Craig over the final two laps of a shortened feature.
However, a determined Craig managed to hang on despite Whitaker abusing the rear bumper of the #1C on the final lap to pick up the feature victory over Whitaker and Bruce Silver.
“Man, look at my rear bumper,” Craig laughed in Victory Lane. “It is wore out. But I tell you what, I wanted that race and we hung onto her there over the final couple.”
In Semi-Pro, Carl Vilardo made a trip down south from Akron, Ohio count as he made a daring pass in Turn 2 on Lap 13 to get around first feature winner Sheldon Crouse in the waning laps of the 20-lap main and claim his first-ever victory at Charlotte.
Billy Webb started on the pole and looked like the early favorite before being passed by both Crouse and then by Vilardo just prior to halfway.
“It’s unbelievable,” the 19-year-old college student said in Victory Lane. “I knew we were going to have some speed but to come down here for the first time and come away with the hardware, it’s really special. It means a ton to me and to this team.”
Cameron Bolin (Beginner Bandits), Daniel Wilk (Bandits) and Austin Powell (Outlaws) all took Bandolero victories on the afternoon. For Wilk, it was a clean sweep of the Bandits class on the afternoon, and for Austin Powell, his win was a bit of redemption after coming up one spot short in the first feature to Justin Taylor.
One hard crash during the conclusion of the Beginner Bandits feature collected the 47 of Xander Broadbent on the frontstraightaway. Though the hit looked jarring, Broadbent walked away unscathed from the crash.
The Legends Young Lions division feature was postponed due to time constraints and will be made up as the first event on the card during Saturday’s double-header conclusion to the oval portion of the 2014 Winter Heat Series.
Legends Pro (20 laps): 1. Daniel Hemric, 2. William Byron, 3. Ryan Mackintosh, 4. Joe Ryan Osborne, 5. Gregory Lang, 6. Trey Jarrell, 7. Jordan Black, 8. Evan Swilling, 9. Zane Smith, 10. Michael Torres, 11. Clayton Weatherman, 12. Jared Irvan
Audio with winner Daniel Hemric:
Audio with runner-up William Byron:
Audio with third-place Ryan Mackintosh:
Legends Masters (14 laps; shortened due to time limit): 1. Jon Craig, 2. Scott Whitaker, 3. Bruce Silver, 4. Brandon Wrisley, 5. Robby Faggart, 6. Shawn Geisel, 7. Scott Montgomery, 8. Carl Cormier
Audio with winner Jon Craig:
Legends Semi-Pro (15 laps; shortened due to time constraints): 1. Carl Vilardo, 2. Sheldon Crouse, 3. Joey Mathis, 4. Billy Webb, 5. Blake Spears, 6. Tyler Janocha, 7. Tyler Truex, 8. Austin Allen, 9. Craig Biryla, 10. Nicholas Naugie, 11. Devin O’Connell, 12. Andrew Rogers, 13. Jake Tretow
Audio with winner Carl Vilardo:
Legends Young Lions: postponed to January 11th due to darkness and time constraints
Bandolero Outlaws (15 laps): 1. Austin Powell, 2. Eric Brown, 3. Ivan Gudmestead, 4. Justin Taylor, 5. Jacob Brumagin, 6. Matthew Davey, 7. Corey Hall, 8. Jack Fread, 9. Hannah Bell; OUT: Nick MacMillan, Hunter Richards
Audio with winner Austin Powell:
Audio with runner-up Eric Brown:
Bandolero Bandits (13 laps; race shortened due to time limit and time constraints): 1. Daniel Wilk, 2. Clay Thompson, 3. Braydn Mander, 4. Richard Kuty; OUT: Zach Wells, Brayde Miranda, Henry Broadbent Jr.
Audio with winner Daniel Wilk:
Bandolero Beginner Bandits (12 laps; race shortened due to time limit and time constraints): 1. Cameron Bolin, 2. William Robusto, 3. Kyle Campbell, 4. Isabella Robusto, 5. Carson Kvapil, 6. Ashton Higgins, 7. T. Adams, 8. Dillon Notaro, 9. Xander Broadbent