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National notebook

Notes: NLRA ready for first female racer

August 16, 2018, 12:49 pm
From series and track reports
Victoria Stutsky (24) is set for her NLRA debut. (speedway-shots.com)
Victoria Stutsky (24) is set for her NLRA debut. (speedway-shots.com)

Victoria Stutsky is set to make history tonight at Red River Co-op Speedway in Winnipeg, Manitoba, when she’s expected to become the first female to enter a Northern LateModel Racing Association event.

The 19-year-old criminology student at the University of Manitoba has competed in the Midwest modified division the past three seasons and joined the Late Model ranks in 2018. She’s eighth in Late Model points at Winnipeg and has five top-10 finishes in 10 starts heading into her debut on the NLRA circuit in Aug. 16's Can-Am Late Model Challenge.

"I actually had no idea that I was the first female to race with the NLRA,” said Stutsky, who lives in St. Andrews, Manitoba. “I think its pretty darn cool to have that honor this Thursday, and hopefully someday follow the tour. I hope I can put on a good show, and look forward to racing against the best.”

Stutsky racing career started in go-karts and made the jump to dirt racing a few years ago.

"My first race, I ended up with a top-10, so I guess I figured it out pretty fast. I struggled at first with the whole idea of being sideways, because in go-karts on asphalt, you have to be super straight and smooth, but now I love the mud and can sling my car sideways pretty good I'd say."

She’s yet to win on dirt — she has second-place finishes in the Midwest modified divisions — but is in the midst of her best season.

She tested her Late Model and made her first start in it late in the 2017 season and she remembers “it having so much power that it was hard to keep it straight,” Stutsky said with a laugh.

"I also remember (the Late Model) was much different to drive, a lot more smoother for sure. Everyone told me I would like it better, because it's more like a go-kart, and that's kind of true when it's dry. When I raced it in September, I expected to be at the back, just learning lap by lap, but I was actually quite competitive with some others and learned a lot, even though I got taken out and DNF'ed.”

She has hopes of continuing her Late Model career to run more NLRA races and compete at other regional tracks.

"This year, I have to say (it) has not been as great,” Stutsky said. “I have been struggling with consistency and setup, and its definitely a handful running two cars, but we are slowly getting there.” — Series reports

Fayetteville steel blocks shine

Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway’s golden anniversary campaign has lots of highlights, including stops by both national tours and frequent special events. But one that may catch the eye of lower-budget drivers is Oct. 12-13’s Cash Money 100, the fourth annual event at the 4/10-mile oval for steel-block engine Late Models.

The 100-lapper pays a whopping $25,000-to-win in one of the largest purses ever for steel-block entries. Besides the healthy winner’s purse, each starter in the event will earn at least $1,200.

"I'm excited about it because these guys just don't get to race for that kind of money, and there are some very talented drivers out there,” said Jim Long Jr., Fayetteville’s promoter. "We're expecting some of the best Late Models in the Southeast and along the East Coast, and I'm excited for the fans to be able to see a collection of the best in the business.”

Long hopes the event, a tribute to late Wilmington, N.C., racer Ricky Sullivan Jr., will entice current and past World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series and Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series regulars to participate. Among those having already expressed interest is Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.

"Several Super Late Model teams are looking for engines. It's an off weekend for them and the weekend before the Dirt Track World Championship," Long said.

The race has drawn bigger fields each year, starting with 38 entrants in 2015, rising to 42 in 2016 and again to 49 in 2017. Previous race winners are Russell Erwin of Beaverdam, Va., Ben Watkins of Rock Hill, S.C., and Willie Milliken of Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

Oct. 12’s opening night includes time trials and heat races for the Late Models. Saturday’s program includes consolation races and the 100-lap main event while the track's modified, super street, pure stock, sportmod, U-car, super stock 4 and legends will also be in action during the weekend. Visit fayettevillemotorspeedway.com for complete information. — Track reports

Odds and ends

Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway’s postponement of the Comp Cams Topless 100 on Aug. 16-18 was the second time in three years rain hampered the event. … Farley (Iowa) Speedway’s 41st annual Yankee Dirt Track Classic is scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 1. Limited Late Models will be part of Thursday’s opening-night action while IMCA-rules Late Models will run Friday and Saturday in chasing a $10,000 purse. Visit farleyspeedwaypromotions.com for more info. … Lancaster (S.C.) Motor Speedway has scheduled an unsanctioned $10,000-to-win event for Nov. 17; more details will be announced later. … Fastrak announced its members-only World Challenge event will move to another venue in 2019 after being held in recent seasons at Virginia Motor Speedway. Officials didn’t want to overburden the Jamaica, Va., oval the same weekend its hosting the $50,000-to-win Fastrak World Championship. Fastrak-sanctioned tracks interested in hosting the World Challenge should contact D.J. Irvine at (706) 223-3014.

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