Bristol Motor Speedway
Notes: Carrier enjoys three-victory weekend
Brian Birkhofer grabbed most of the Memorial Day weekend headlines with back-to-back Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series victories, but Eddie Carrier Jr. enjoyed a nice holiday weekend himself. The Salt Rock, W.Va., driver reeled off three straight victories on Friday-Sunday to earn $11,000. What did he do Monday? "I took the day off," Carrier deadpanned. | Ohio weekly results
The 38-year-old driver earned a little rest and relaxation after three consecutive victories in southern Ohio. He earned $3,000 at Midway Speedway's May Day 40 in Crooksville, pocketed $5,000 for an O'Reilly All Star Series victory at K-C Raceway near Chillicothe, then grabbed $3,000 in Portsmouth Raceway Park's season-opening Stars & Stripes 35.
"We've had this new car and just been working with it. We kind of got some stuff figured out on it, and it was pretty good," said Carrier, who began working the Rocket Chassis following Florida Speedweeks. "It's a good time to get rolling, too."
Indeed, Carrier's first career three-victory weekend comes with the season heating up, and he finds himself with a choice of special events within three hours of his Huntington, W.Va.-based Grover Motorsports team.
"We're in a pretty good area when racing really gets started up," Carrier said. "We've got a bunch of good tracks close to use that always seem to pay good money."
Even when K-C and Portsmouth aren't running special events, $2,000 winning purses are common for regular-season events, he said.
At Midway, Carrier took the lead from Doug Dodd just past the halfway point of the main event. At Portsmouth, Carrier led every lap. But things were a little more exciting at K-C, where polesitter R.J. Conley was in command throughout the race.
Carrier started 11th and worked his way to the front, getting up to third near the race's midpoint and grabbing second in the late stages of the 50-lapper. "They had the (final) restart and he got away from me about three or four car lengths, and I was like, 'I'm not sure I can win this,' " Carrier recalled. "Then I said to myself, 'Maybe I can drive a little bit harder.' "
Carrier picked up ground in his No. 28c, and when Conley tried to keep his No. 71c in the inside groove to protect his lead, it played to Carrier's advantage as he pulled alongside on the last lap and made the winning pass. It was close, but Carrier knew he'd won. "When I came off (turn) four," Carrier said, "I never saw him."
Carrier plans on running a $3,000-to-win event at K-C on Saturday, then battle World of Outlaws Late Model Series competitors Sunday at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va. — Todd Turner
LATHAM MEMORIAL UP AT FLORENCE: Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., winless on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in 2009, will try to change that May 30 at Florence Speedway for the 23rd annual Ralph Latham Memorial, an event he won last year. The $10,000-to-win event honors the three-decade Cincinnati-area driving star who posted a 43-victory season in 1970. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., leads Lucas Oil Series points heading to the half-mile oval in northern Kentucky. — James Essex
CLOSURE OF CHALLENGER SHUFFLES UFO SCHEDULE: With the closure of Challenger Raceway near Indiana, Pa., the Unified Force Race Championship is shuffling its schedule to make up for the loss of Challenger's season-ending Ultimate event. UFO will fold the Ultimate into the Pittsburgher at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway, running two 51-lap events on Sept. 19 paying $10,000-to-win apiece, with a $10,000 bonus to any driver who can pull of an Ultimate-Pittsburgher sweep. The Ultimate-Pittsburgher event on Sept. 18-19 will use a unique format with the draw for heat race lineups will be used for both events — straight up for one, inverted for the other. Retired Challenge Raceway promoters Jack and Donna Lentz will be grand marshals for the race. The UFO series also added a season-ending, $10,000-to-win event at Hesston (Pa.) Speedway on Oct. 9-10, the only Super Late Model event of the year at Hesston. — From series reports
ELKINS BEEFING UP CHUCK GEAR MEMORIAL PURSE: Elkins (W.Va.) Speedway is expanding the annual Chuck Gear Memorial into a two-day event on June 26-27 and boosting the purse for the Super Late Model portion of the event. The $5,000-to-win event will pay an impressive $4,000 to the runner-up, $3,500 to third place, $3,000 to fourth place and $2,500 to fifth. Every starter will earn at least $500. "We wanted to bring this race back to life and restore its credibility in the dirt racing community," said promoter A.J. Rockwell, "and I believe our purse structure shows how serious we are." The purse also includes a boost for drivers who fail to make the feature, including $450 to the top non-transferring driver. June 26's action is highlighted by a $1,500-to-win Steel Block Mafia race as well as a regular event for Super Late Models. June 27's event includes the $5,000 Chuck Gear Memorial and a fireworks display. — From track reports
MLRA SHIFTS FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND SCHEDULE: The O'Reilly Midwest LateModel Racing Association added a July 3 event at Park Jefferson (S.D.) Speedway over the Fourth of July weekend to ease travel schedules on MLRA racers. The race replaces an event at 24 Raceway in Moberly, Mo., and runs between a July 2 event at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Neb., and a July 4 event at Adams County Speedway in Corning, Iowa. The Patrick M. Pinney Contractors Best of the Midwest 40 will pay $4,000 to win for the first-ever series event at Park Jefferson. "This will save about 250 miles of driving for both drivers and fans alike," series director Harriett Chancellor said. "We just felt like this was a win-win situation for all involved." The event at 24 Raceway in Moberly was moved to July 11. — Dan Robinson
FLORIDA TRACK LOOKING FOR A LITTLE HELP: Hendry County Motorsports Park in Clewiston, Fla., is hosting cleanup days at the track May 30-31 to prepare for the track's July 18 opening. Painting, raking, sign installation and other cleanup projects are scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. each day under the supervision of Larry Thacker (Saturday) and track owner Ken Kinney (Sunday). "Fans and drivers have been asking for months to come and and help," Kinney said, "and now that time has finally come when we need their help." Anyone coming to help can bring useful items such as rakes, shovels, grass trimmers, pressure washers and circular saws. Those wishing to help can simply show up or call for details at (941) 426-6760, (863) 241-7388 or (863) 673-4325. — From track reports
ODDS AND ENDS: Reversing an earlier announcement, the May 30 O'Reilly All Star Series event at Butler, Mich., will be an open-tire event rather than a UMP-tire event. ... The Southern Regional Racing Series will sanction the Oct. 17 Grant Adcox Memorial at Cleveland (Tenn.) Speedway, a $4,000-to-win event. ... The O'Reilly MARS DIRTcar Series has rescheduled to Tony Roper Memorial at Monett (Mo.) Speedway for June 7. The $3,000-to-win event was rained out May 24. ... Jackson (Miss.) Motor Speedway has scheduled the $5,000-to-win Ival Cooper Memorial for Sept. 12. ... The O'Reilly Southern All Star East Series added a June 12 date at Cleveland County Speedway in Lawndale, N.C. The race will pay $3,000 to the winner. ... The World Dirt Racing League added a July 13 event at Mineral City Speedway in Fort Dodge, Iowa, along with a July 28 event at North Central Speedway in Brainerd, Minn. ... The Deery Brothers Summer Series added a July 30 event at Jackson County Speedway in Maquoketa, Iowa, a Thursday night event during the Jackson County Fair.