RURAL RETREAT, Va. — A local driver finished second in the headline event as the Wythe Raceway celebrated Memorial Day weekend with several races.
On Saturday, Wythe Raceway paid tribute to the men and women of the armed forces with a four-wide salute from the FASTRAK Touring Late Models. Each driver waved an American flag as they circled the track to a standing ovation, according to organizers.
The FASTRAK series also is called the Pro Late Models, said Ryan Atkins, a Beulah resident who competes in the series.
“It’s what everybody around here calls a crate car,” said the 25-year-old North Surry graduate. It is basically the most popular race around these parts, he said, like what Friendship and 311 speedways hold weekly.
“These motors make about 430 to 440 horsepower,” he said. The race at Wythe was 40 laps on a half-mile dirt track, a pretty common distance for these events.
Atkins qualified fourth and ran there for several laps.
He said he’s run races like this without a single crash and others where there seemed to be continuous wrecking.
While there were some spin-outs and flat tires, this race only had a couple of accidents, he said. After one caution, he restarted in fourth near the midpoint of the race and quickly jumped up to second.
After getting passed, he ran in third for a few laps. Then with 13 laps left the race leader cut a right rear tire, moving Atkins up to second place behind Dennis Franklin, of Gaffney, S.C. The man known as Rambo held onto the lead the rest of the way.
Atkins said he got within a few car lengths at one point, but his motor was overheating so he couldn’t push the car “to the ragged edge.”
Rambo pulled back out to about a six car-length lead and won the race.
Atkins said he won the race here two years ago and won another at Volunteer Speedway in Blowing Gap last year.
However, this year he has finished second in four races.
“We’ve been knocking on the door this year, but we just haven’t come through,” he said.
He thanked his many sponsors, especially Circle K, Hicks Water Stove, Mayberry Recycling and Elkin Jewelers.
Other local drivers in the race included Chase McCormick, Dobson, who finished eighth; Pat Lindsey, Elkin, 20th; and Lance Reynolds, Mount Airy, 24th.
In other Wythe Raceway competition, Joe Bonham once again dominated the R&C Towing Super Streets, claiming his second-consecutive event, according to organizers. The drivers who finished second, third and fourth all had to come from the rear of the field after suffering mechanical woes early on.
The Crate Modz saw Ron Lawson, Max Meadows, claim his fourth feature event win of 2012. Dennis Jones, Galax, claimed victory lane in the Pro Mini main event.
Hunter Reedy, Marion, who will be joining the Marines, celebrated Memorial Day in style by winning his first-ever UCAR main event.
Ashley Umberger, Rural Retreat, won the UCARII main event by beating Destiny Huffman, Sugar Grove, to the line.
Wythe Raceway Results
FASTRAK Late Models
Fast Qualifier Teddy Tate
1 Dennis Franklin, Gaffney, S.C.
2 Ryan Atkins, Mt. Airy, N.C.
3 Anthony Sanders, Spartansburg, S.C.
4 Clinton Cook, Radford
5 Lee Cooper, Greer, S.C.
6 Dan Breuer, Troutman , N.C.
7 Barry Arnold, Max Meadows
8 Chase McCormick, Dobson, N.C.
9 Brandon Umberger, Rural Retreat
10 David Smith, Inman, S.C.
R&C Towing Super Streets
Fast Qualifier Everett Cox
1 Joe Bonham, Sugar Grove
2 Everett Cox, Austinville
3 Mike Keith, Rural Retreat
4 Keith Griffitts, Sugar Grove
5 Brian Mock, Abingdon
Fast Qualifier Ron Lawson
1 Ron Lawson, Austinville
2 Troy Loomis, Sherills Ford, N.C.
3 Will Ferguson, Wytheville
4 R K Dix, Rural Retreat
5 Morgan Widener, Marion
Fast Qualifier Brandon Farris
1 Dennis Jones, Galax
2 Doug Monday, Max Meadows
3 Jason Powers, Marion
4 Sammy Mitchem, Rocky Gap
5 Chris Martin, Sugar Grove
1 Hunter Reedy, Marion
2 Jon Keyes, Sugar Grove
3 Dakota Wilson, Rural Retreat
4 Leon McMahan
5 Justin Edwards, Sugar Grove
1 Ashley Umberger, Rural Retreat
2 Destiny Huffman, Sugar Grove
3 Dawn Fogelsong, Rural Retreat
4 Kenneth Bentley Jr., Wytheville
5 Kayla Keyes, Atkins