Tuesday at Merced turned into a sweep for one driver, plus we had a champion crowned and a DQ. We'll talk about all of that, plus we got the Sheppard/Longhorn photo. Let's go!
It's Wednesday, November 23rd, I'm Justin Fiedler. This is DIRTRACKR Daily.
Before we get into things today, this is probably my last show of the week. Figured I'd take a few days off with the holiday here. If something crazy happens though, we can definitely fit in an episode somewhere if need be. Also, because we are coming up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I've gone ahead and put the entire merch store on sale. Every hat, shirt, and decal has been discounted. I'll keep the prices where they are through next Monday if you want to grab something. I'll still cover shipping and taxes if you live in the US. Head over to shop.dirtrackr.com to take advantage of the savings. And I'm not traveling anywhere for Thanksgiving, so if you make an order, I'll have them packed and shipped quickly.
Last night at Merced Speedway in California we got the first of two nights of racing with the USAC midgets and 360 sprint cars. Once preliminary action on the night was completed, all Buddy Kofoid had to do was fire off for the feature, which he did, and he claimed the USAC National Midget Championship for the second straight season. According to Walkapedia, Kofoid becomes the 12th different driver to win USAC midget titles back-to-back, with the last one being Bryan Clauson in 2010 and 2011. No surprise to see Kofoid wrap it up with still a couple of race nights left. He's been absolutely lights out in the midget this season. He's won 12 of 30 races, which is 40%, he's finished in the top five in all but four races, and in the top ten in all but two. His average finish for the year right now is an insane 3.7. I don't have stats back super far, but I'm guessing this is one of the best seasons ever for a driver in the series. In the night's midget feature, Jake Andreotti, Chance Crum, and Justin Grant led early, but Carson Macedo was on a charge, and he went fifth to the lead in 10 laps. From there, he was never really challenged again, including on a late restart. The win for Macedo was his first ever with the USAC National Midgets. Going back over the last week, you can tell Macedo just needed some time to acclimate to the car after a long season in the sprint car. He was 16th in a B on the first night back in midget at Bakersfield. He was then 22nd, 10th, and fourth at Placerville through the Hangtown 100. And now he's a winner. With the way his improvement has gone, he may win the next two nights as well. Behind Macedo, Kofoid hard charged from 14th to finish second, with Justin Grant rounding out the official podium. I say official, because Jake Andreotti was actually third at the checkered flag, but his night when sideways in post race tech. All USAC said in the post race release was that he was DQ'd for failing inspection, but we know this morning that it was because of his engine. Brian Axup and the Esslinger Twitter account posted after the DQ that the engine mapping was set 200 RPMs too high, at 10,000 instead of 9800, and that's why Andreotti failed. Axup took responsibility for the mistake, explaining that the mapping was not set correctly after the team needed to change engines at Placerville. Their plan today is to have USAC check everything before they roll onto the track.
In the night's sprint car show, Macedo made it a sweep after starting third and getting around Tanner Carrick for the lead before half way. Driving the Tarlton 21, Macedo used lap traffic to sneak by the 83T, and then he held off a final lap challenge from Chase Randall to bag the win. The attempt from Randall actually cost him second as well, with Tyler Courtney sneaking by to finish runner up, with Randall back to third. Sunshine was driving the Works Limited 57. We did have some fireworks in the sprint car feature, when Colby Copeland and Justin Sanders tangled, with both drivers ending up out of the race. Sanders tried to come at Copeland, but track officials held him back. The two had traded moves and some contact right before the incident, and we don't quite know what happened, as FloRacing's replay just showed the tail end of the incident. If you are in the area, Merced is located east of San Jose and north of Fresno on highway 99. They'll line them up and do it all over again tonight. If you can't get there, watch it live on FloRacing. And don't forget, the USAC midget season ends on Saturday at Ventura for Turkey Night.
We talked yesterday on the show about Brandon Sheppard taking a Rocket Chassis to the Dome next week for the Gateway Dirt Nationals, and I mentioned there was supposedly a photo floating around of the B5 pit cart at Longhorn Chassis. I had not seen the photo, but thanks to a few in my audience who I will not name, I am now in posession of said photo, and here it is. This was first posted to Snapchat, and it shows very clearly the Sheppard B5 pit cart inside a building, next to a car on stands with a blue nose. The photo is tagged at Viva Motor Sports in China Grove, NC, which is the little complex where Longhorn Chassis sits on NC Highway 152. Whether or not this is actual evidence of a swap to Longhorns, I'll let you decide. But this photo isn't quite a smoking gun. First, it's not dated, so we have no idea when it was taken. The chatter says this photo was after Sheppard was at Senoia last weekend, but again, nothing to actually confirm that from the photo. Also, outside of the tag on the photo, which could technically be photoshopped on, nothing Longhorn is visible in the image to confirm this is indeed the Longhorn shop. So keep that in mind when looking at the photo. B5 pit cart, yes. Blue nose, yes. Chassis in the background yes. In a building, yes. Keyser Manufacturing box visible, yes. From there, everything else is up for debate. I'll let you decide.
One other late model note for you today, Big Frog Motorsports has announced that reigning Super DIRTcar Series champion Matt Sheppard will drive their number 58 at the upcoming XR Super Series events at All-Tech Raceway in Florida. The Sunshine State 50 takes place December 2nd and 3rd, and according to the release from the team, they are also working on having Sheppard in the car during Speedweeks in January and February, between Georgia and Florida. Sheppard said the last time he thinks he was in a late model was at Brewerton with the World of Outlaws way back in 2009. Obviously a talented racer in a modified, it will be fun to see what he can do with the late model crowd.
Looking elsewhere over the next few days, there are a few other dirt racing events going on. The Gobbler 100 at Cochran Motor Speedway features $10,000 to win for Crate Racin USA late models. The Iron Man Series closes out it's year on Sunday at 411 Motor Speedway for $5000 to win. Springfield Raceway in Missouri has $10,000 to win for late models on Sunday. There are also a few events down under playing on Clay Per View, including two nights for the Pro Dirt Series. So in between turkey and football, there is some dirt racing to check out.
If you are in the market for other dirt racing podcasts this week, LoudPedal has Brent Cox from Abacus Racing, Passing Points has another Down Under episode, Forward Bite has Boom Briggs, Dirt Tracks and Rib Racks has Travis Berryhill, and there are new episodes of the Dirt Reporters, and the Dirt Nerds. To see the full list of shows and episodes, head over to dirtrackr.com/podcasts.
Today's streaming schedule is the same as it was yesterday. Action from Merced and Flo 24/7 over on FloRacing, plus DIRTVision Now. To see the full daily streaming schedule with links to watch, visit dirtrackr.com/watchtonight.
That's it for the show today, enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday weekend! Please hit that like button, and subscribe to the show if you don't already.
Thanks everybody for tuning in, I'll see you tomorrow for more DIRTRACKR Daily!