CONCORD, N.C. — The Drydene World Short Track Championship went into full swing Friday with 335 cars invading The Dirt Track at Charlotte for the two-day event that annually puts weekly racers on the big stage in a celebration of grassroots racing.
Starting at 2 p.m. ET to make up the previous day’s hot laps being postponed by a tropical storm blowing through the region, six divisions blew through qualifying and heat races over the next eight hours to set the front rows of the starting fields for Saturday’s features.
The seventh division of the night, the VP Racing Fuels Hornets, capped off the night with three 15-lap features.
In the Chevrolet Performance 602 Late Models, John Ruggiero Jr., Brian Mullis, Colton Trouille, Austin Mintz, Devon Morgan and Dale Timms picked up heat wins to advance to Saturday’s feature.
Also racing into the Chevrolet Performance 602 Late Model main event through heats were Michael Smith, Justin Mintz, Rod Tucker, Chris Joyce, Chuckie Duncan, Royce Bray, Seth Wimpey, Mark Wilbanks, John Price, BooMan Galloway, Blake Craft and Brandon Dockery.
Picking up heat wins to earn places in the FOX Racing SHOX Pro Late Models feature were Logan Roberson, Kyle Bronson, Cody Overton, Gray Parton, Ruggiero and Brett Hamm.
Also advancing to Saturday’s feature through the heats were Wil Herrington, Donald Bradsher, Matt Long, Justin Hudspeth, Dillon Brown, Gary Dillon, T.J. Salagango, Lucas Ruark, Jamison McBride, Bryan Mullis, Justin Smith and Clay Harris.
In the Summit Racing Equipment DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, two-time World Short Track Championship winner Kyle Strickler headlined the heat winners. After going .200 seconds faster in qualifying, he easily won his heat. Other heat winners were Dan Davies, David Stremme and Dylan Woodling.
Also advancing to the Summit Racing Equipment DIRTcar UMP Modified feature from the heats were Justin Cullum, Daniel Sanchez, Jesse Rocket, Clay Harris, Ty Rhoades, Jonathan Taylor, Ryan Toole, William Long, Curt Spalding, Drake Troutman, Mike Franklin, Austin Holcombe, Chris Arnold, Brandon Kinzer, Jerry Foster and Cody Brightwell.
The four Hoosier Racing Tire Pro Modified heat races were won by Jeff Parsons, Robert Poole, Trey Stamper and Jake Barneycastle. They’ll be joined in the feature Wes Helms, Steve Axtell, A.J. Belanger, Caleb Fulp, Chris Stowe, Justin Blevins, Daniel Parker, Kevin Pangrazio, Buck Stevens, Kevin Dugger, Larry Martin, Preston Blalock, Lawson Rogers, Greg Brown, Ryan Morgan and Chase Cardwell.
Heat race wins in the Drydene Racing Formulas Street Stocks went to Tyler Love, Chris Rice, Calob McLaughlin and Patrick Lyon. Also earning feature starting spots through the heats were Damon Crump, Blake Pryor, Justin Morris, Kris Frost, Ricky Greene, Joe Belkey, Johnny Westmoreland, Earl Petty, Thomas McCurdy, Bradley Weaver, Junior Johnson, Tre Beaty, Dalton Peavy, Timmy Smith, Jessie Gibson and Greg Carroll.
Six heat winners raced into the COMP Cams Monster Mini-Stocks main event on Friday, including Tack Brown, Austin Brown, Nick Walker, Nick Broome, Brayden Pruitt and Phillip Wilson. Joining them in Saturday’s feature from the heats were Sparks Parris, Pete Brew, Matt Gilbert, Casey Towell, Logan Ritchey, Carl Currin, Brandon Clements, Roger Nance, Daniel Coffey, Travis Sharpe, Jason Dickerson and Rod Tucker.
Finally, the 62 drivers competing in the VP Racing Fuels Hornets division were split into three 15-lap features based on their qualifying laps.
John Windham was the class of the field all night and put a period on that in the first VP Racing Fuels Hornet feature of the night.
In the early stage of the day, Windham was the fastest in the first set of Hot Laps and then set quick time in qualifying. That put him on the pole for the first feature. Behind him were Payne Pickles and Eddie McGraw, who won at the World Short Track Championship last year.
After watching his brother win the first VP Racing Fuels Hornet feature of the night, Walker Windham knew the pressure was on to match that in the second feature of the night.
To get it, he had to go through Donavan Beacham and Beacham did not make it easy on him. He took the early lead with Windham on his tail the entire time. The two drivers then put on a show worth the price of admission, with Beacham ultimately handing the win to Windham after hitting the wall in turn four.
In the third and final VP Racing Fuels Hornet feature of the night, Joey Kelly became a World Short Track champion for the second year in a row. He did it in dominant fashion by leading all 15-laps in a car he didn’t even have a week ago.