Fayetteville Motor Speedway
DQ hands Mitchell first Carolina Clash victory
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 9) — Dustin Mitchell of Pine Level, N.C., was awarded Saturday's Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series victory at Fayetteville Motor Speedway after apparent winner Steve Blackburn's car came up 15 pounds light at the scales. The 14th-starting Mitchell earned $4,000 and became the second drivers of the season to win his first series victory by virtue of a disqualification.
"This is awesome. ... we’ve been in a big slump this year, had about 10 DNFs and stuff like that, but this new car, it’s brought my program way up," the 19-year-old Mitchell said of his Dunn-Benson Racing-prepared MasterSbilt. The car "was bouncing all around in there, couldn’t hardly see where I was going. It’s the roughest track I’ve ever been on. … I’d go in a little high and miss most of the ruts in the corner."
Mitchell ended up on top in a race where the rough track conditions plagued competitors and contributed to the demise of top contenders.
Five-time series champion Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., had a flat tire while leading on lap 36, Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., broke a rear end while battling Weeks for the lead on lap 13 and Justin Labonte of Trinity, N.C., led laps 23-28 but pitted to change a flat left-rear tire. Timmy Blackwell also briefly led but his car broke midway through the race.
Randle Chupp of Troutman, N.C., subbing in Scott Autry's No. A1 car, finished second while Labonte recovered to get third. Consolation race winner Jay Sessoms of Stanley, N.C., was fourth and Dean Bowen of Whiteville, N.C., rounded out the top five.
Chupp was making his first start in several months and was fortunate to survive, he said. "The track was just so unbelievably rough, (it) was more a battle of survival than really trying to do a whole lot of racing," he said. "Did a lot of dodging and not a whole lot of racing. I’m sure it's exciting for the fans, but it’s sure hard riding from where we were sitting,"
Series points leader Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., was 18th and among drivers dropping out, but he still holds a 40-point lead on Bowen with a single series race remaining.
Notes: Mitchell's MasterSbilt Race Car is sponsored by MP&J Construction, Creech's DJ and Ordess Farms. ... Mitchell is the second first-time series winner of 2010 to win by disqualification; Luke Roffers did it June 26 at Dublin (N.C.) Motor Speedway after Ray Tucker weighed in light. ... Polesitter Chris Meadows was among the race's first retirees and finished 22nd after a quick flat tire. ... Michael Mason advanced from his 21st starting spot to finish eighth and get hard charger honors. ... Johnny Pursley of Clover, S.C., qualified third quickest, but series and track officials asked him to leave the track before the main event because a member of his crew was involved in an altercation in another team's pit area. ... Besides Pursley, drivers failing to start the feature included Travis Yow, Stephen Evans, John Pursley, Mike Parker, Bubba McGee, Jonathan Gunther, Keith Jacobs and Dale Hammond. ... The series wraps up Nov. 13 back at Fayetteville with a $5,000-to-win event, a tribute to the late Jack Starrette.
Carolina Clash @ Fayetteville: (1) Dustin Mitchell, (2) Randle Chupp, (3) Justin Labonte, (4) Jay Sessoms, (5) Dean Bowen, (6) Jeff Smith, (7) David Taylor, (8) Michael Mason, (9) Ricky Weeks, (10) Chuck Smith, (11) Raymond Brown, (12) Walker Arthur, (13) Timmy Blackwell, (14) Michael Marlowe, (15) Chris Ferguson, (16) Jim Rasey, (17) Brian Ledbetter, (18) Dennis Franklin, (19) Craig Shuffield, (20) Donald Bradsher, (21) Travis Hair, (22) Chris Meadows. Disqualified: Steve Blackburn, Johnny Pursley. Fast qualifier (among 32 cars): Meadows, 17.445 seconds. Consolation race winners: Sessons, Chupp.