For the first time in several years, we packed up the P&R Photos / Chase’n Race’n RV and made the trek to Staley NC’s Liberty Raceway Park. Over the years, we’ve certainly covered our share of great karting events at this facility, beginning with Ronnie Miller’s NCKRA. For you “younger folks”, the NCKRA was the North Carolina Kart Racing Association. That organization eventually became simply, the North Carolina Dirt Series.
Four years ago, Tommy Burrow (as he puts it, he and the bank) purchased the facility from businessman Jim Smith. Since, Burrow and his family has since built perhaps one of the strongest, most loyal, base of racers anywhere in the country. The recipe to success includes hard work, love of the sport, and the desire to provide the absolute best karting experience for their customers. That’s what happens when you have racers working for racers.
Saturday’s event was just another day at the office for Burrow and his crew. The place was spit shined, polished, and ready for action!
Having a great racing surface will almost always provide some great action, and Saturday was not a disappointment.
Let’s talk about having a “big day”. Obviously, winning the night capping 50 lap Pro Stock feature after taking the top prize in Stock Heavy qualifies as a big day. That’s what Blackshear GA’s Austin “Youngblood” Yarbrough did. In the Heavy main, AY, aboard the JRE powered MC Motorsports prepared PRC Recon, fought off Daniel Armstrong to claim the win. As the night drew to a close, AY lined up in the top starting spot for the Pro feature, with Cameron Carter, Armstrong, Jonathan Cash, and Devin Dowell filling in the top five starting spots.
With 29 fast karts taking the green flag, things got dicey and exciting early. Brady Penny looped his machine exiting turn two on lap three, and was dead in the water. With the field screaming out of turn two not appearing to slow for the waving caution, Penny bailed. Hanging on the outside off the turn Stephen Adams, the Stock Medium winner, jockeying a P&P powered Olimpic clipped the dead kart of Penny, and the wild ride ensued. Adams kart tumbled and slid (on his head) halfway down the backstretch in one of the wildest crashes we’ve seen this year. Adams eventually walked away under his own power.
AY led the field to the crossed halfway flags. One lap later, it was the P&P Speedshop steed of Jonathan Cash swiping the lead away. Carter and Armstrong slipped by AY on lap twenty-seven. Cash led until lap thirty-six when AY led a train that included Armstrong, Shay Chavous, and Carter to the front.
Chavous started deep in the field, but made a run towards the front that had all the fence hangers watching. Unfortunately for him, his machine began to fade shortly after moving into the third spot.
The field sailed under the white flag with AY leading the way over Armstrong, Cash, Austin Barnhill, and Semi Pro winner Case Daniels. Then things got dicey in turn one with Armstrong diving low into turn one, attempting the pass for the lead. AY threw a successful block, and Cash drove under Armstrong. Armstrong hung a left on Cash exiting turn two, allowing Barnhill and Daniels to slip by while AY headed for the checkers. At the finish line, it was AY, Barnhill, Daniels, Armstrong, and Carter. Cash settled for sixth ahead of Jesse Riggins, Jerry Mullis, Hunter Curtis, and Cody Garner.
The individual “big day” belonged to Vause Racing Engines powered Kinetik of Ryan Joyner. Joyner bagged all three Jr 2 offerings, taking Lite over Jr 1 Heavy winner Baron McDowell, and beating Stewart Dalton to the stripe for the Heavy win. To cap his night, Joyner led the Jr 2 Pro main from flag to flag, outrunning Michael Bumgarner and Jackson Crowder to the finish line.
Joyner’s hat trick along with Devin Dowell’s Semi Heavy, and Dustin Bunch’s Pro Super Heavy wins made for a really “big day” for Wesley LeBlanc’s Kinetik Racing Chassis. No doubt, it’s impressive to take five wins on a stage this big.
Others “parking it” in winner’s circle included Duane Wade (Super Heavy), Clay Harris (Jr 3 Lite), Alex Cunningham (Heavy EL), Brayden Donaldson (Red Plate), and James Seeright (Jr 3 Heavy). Brysen Duncan claimed the Jr 3 Pro win, while Casen Sinclair scored the Jr 1 Pro win.
Another “notable” on Saturday was Hartlee Hoyle. I’ve watched this young lady since her beginning, and was honestly taken aback by
how she’s progressed since the last time I’ve seen her on the track. She’s always been “scrappy”, and fast, but on Saturday she proved to have some moxie, and savvy, to go along with the scrappiness. She pressured Clay “The Shark” Harris in the Jr 3 Lite, even taking the lead at one point, before slipping to third on the final lap after a failed attempt to overtake Harris for the lead. She also ran with the lead pack until something went wrong with her machine late in the Jr 3 Pro feature. In other words, the boys need to keep an eye on this lass. Maybe it’s the Superior Tire Management program she’s on now, but she’s gaining confidence with every lap, and that’s a dangerous thing for female! Lol.
That’s the way I saw it Saturday at Liberty Raceway Park. The NKL rolls into TriCounty Race Track in Brasstown NC next weekend for the 4th Annual Ray Cook Tarheel Nationals. That is a non-points event. Then it’s on to Talladega on September 10th for the next points race in the series.
Images from the event can be found online at www.p-rphotos.com