Ferguson Conquers Summer Shootout Opener

Carson Ferguson won the Boston Reid Real Estate Pro division feature on the opening night of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout. (CMS/John Davison Photo)
Carson Ferguson won the Boston Reid Real Estate Pro division feature on the opening night of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout. (CMS/John Davison Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. – Though he’s spent much of the last two years racing dirt late models in North and South Carolina, Carson Ferguson looked like he’d never left the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout during opening night on Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 19-year-old charged from ninth to the win in the headlining Pro division feature, driving the same Ladyga Motorsports No. 48 that he took to the Young Lions championship five years earlier.

Mark Green (Masters), Jason Alder (Semi-Pro), Landon Rapp (Young Lions), Layton Harrison (Bandolero Bandits) and Josh Horniman (Beginner Bandolero) were also winners in their respective divisions during the first of 10 races on the Summer Shootout calendar.

Ferguson rolled to his 23rd career win in the annual summer series for Legend cars and Bandoleros on the frontstretch quarter-mile, passing race-long leader Chase Scott on a lap-15 restart and pacing the final 11 circuits uncontested.

Monday night’s victory was Ferguson’s second Pro win in Shootout competition and the first triumph in the top class for the Ladyga Motorsports No. 48 since Derek Lemke’s round three victory in 2018.

“It’s just like riding a bike – when you do something for so long, it’s easy to pick back up,” said Ferguson in victory lane. “It was hard to get going in the first few laps, but we figured it out.

“It’s always good to win in front of my home crowd,” he added. “The Summer Shootout is a great opportunity and to come back and get a win is awesome.”

Ashton Higgins, making his first Legend car appearance since February of 2017, finished 2.021 seconds adrift of Ferguson in second. Garrett Manes completed the podium after driving through the field twice.

Joey Padgett crossed fourth and Vince Midas, a late model regular at Hickory Motor Speedway, was fifth.

Zach Miller and Daniel Wilk ran second and third for the first portion of the Pro feature, but came together in turn four on the 12th lap and both spun briefly before continuing.

Wilk finished seventh and Miller came home ninth after 25 laps.

Green used a last-corner pass of defending Masters division champion Robby Faggart to secure the first win of the season in the “over 40” class, fighting to the inside lane in turn three and winning a drag-race to the finish line by .054 seconds.

The victory was the fourth Masters win of Green’s Summer Shootout career. He led only the final lap.

“I didn’t really mean to get into him that hard,” Green said. “It was a good little bump-and-run deal. We had a really good race there. We had a good night. I usually start out pretty slow and work my way up, so it’s nice to get a win (early in the season).”

Faggart, who jumped up the outside from fourth to take the lead in the first corner, was in command for the first 24 laps of the caution-free feature but came home a disappointing second.

Jon Craig, Todd Midas and Bruce Silver followed in third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Alder claimed a commanding victory in Semi-Pro action, jumping to the lead on the initial start and pacing all 25 laps to win with his neon green and white No. 77 for Steven Ross Motorsports.

The soon-to-be 16-year-old took the checkered flag 5.042 seconds in front of runner-up Gracie Trotter.

“It’s an honor to be standing here right now. I’ve never won at Charlotte Motor Speedway before,” Alder said. “I can’t thank Bojangles’ enough for sponsoring this series. The Bojangles’ Summer Shootout is the best Legend car series in the world.

“(The key to winning) was adjusting my car to the track as the race went on.”

D.J. Canipe completed the Semi-Pro podium, followed by Isabella Robusto and her younger brother, William Robusto.

Though Canadian Austin MacDonald crossed the finish line first in the Young Lions division, Landon Rapp was declared the winner after MacDonald was assessed a penalty for his bumper becoming partially detached mid-way through the 25-lap feature.

Rapp’s victory is the seventh of his Summer Shootout career and his first at CMS in a Legend car.

“I wasn’t sure if we’d won, because they gave him (MacDonald) the checkered flag, even though I’d seen them black-flag him earlier on,” noted Rapp. “This is cool, though. It’s a tough break for Austin, but I’m so happy to win another one here at the Summer Shootout. It’s been a little while.”

Sam Butler, Tommy Good, early leader Tristan Borkowski and Jake Waltman completed the top five.

MacDonald, who took the lead on lap nine, was demoted to 24th in the 25-car field after his penalty.

Harrison passed Lucas Vera on lap 11 en route to the Bandits division victory, while Horniman came out on top of a back-and-forth tussle with Katie Yonchuk in the Beginner Bandolero main event for his win.

The Bandolero Outlaw feature was rained out and rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, after a drizzle began falling at the speedway following a multi-car crash on the initial start of the 20-lap race.

To view race results for all divisions, advance to the next page.