NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Keepin’ it Short – Crowning an unlikely winner

Three weeks after it was scheduled to run, the Carolina Crown finally went off at Lancaster Speedway last Saturday night. A field of 23 cars took the green chasing the $20,000 top prize. The stands were packed with over 2,500 fans and the track was lightning fast after several days of rain leading up to the event. Perhaps it was the full moon or just the prize money, but the drivers attacked the track like every circuit was the last of a 10 lap dash for cash. In the end it was Scott Autry, a long time short track racer from Fayetteville, NC who took the checkers and the big check.

Autry was the 2002 Carolina Clash Series champion, a touring series for Super Late Model dirt cars that runs throughout the Carolinas and Virginia. Some time after that championship, Autry learned he had gout arthritis. That ailment resulted in his racing schedule being reduced and Autry personally reevaluating his health and eating habits. He now has the arthritis under control and feels that he’s in some of the best health that he’s been in for years. With his body treating him much better, he’s reinvigorated about his racing career and is planning to do quite a bit of racing this year.

The Crown didn’t start out like it was going to be a successful event for Autry. In fact, during qualifying he hit the front straight wall, which resulted in his starting position being in the last row of the grid. The team planned to start the race and park until it was rained out on the initial night. The three week break gave his crew a chance to fix the car and he headed into this weekend’s event thinking it might be a better car than he tried to qualify. Autry still felt like he didn’t have a chance to win due to his starting position and the speed of the track, but his car owner suggested he go ahead and let the race play out.

The race started out like a house afire with the cars at the front of the field beating and banging and driving like every lap was the last. The result was cars spinning and cutting tires, cars being damaged too much to continue, one car actually going over the retaining wall, and Autry simply biding his time and slowly working his way toward the front. By the time the race got to the 50 lap mark, just two thirds of the way through the event, Autry was knocking on the top 5 and several of the top contenders had already dropped out of the event. When Chris Ferguson had an engine problem and Jared Landers had a rear tire go down with 12 laps to go in the race, Autry found himself in the top spot with Landers, Dennis Franklin and Donald Bradsher as the only drivers left on the lead lap.

After the mandatory caution with 10 laps to go, Autry realized that he had a real chance to win the event. The race went back to green and it took Landers a few laps to figure out how to make his new rear tires work with his worn out front tires. He started working over Franklin and worked past him shortly after the restart. As Landers set his sights on Autry, Bradsher passed Franklin and the Gaffney, SC driver pulled his car into the pits a few laps later as it ran out of gas. Bradsher was a distant third so it was down to Landers and Autry for the win. With four laps to go, Autry tried to diamond off turns 1 and 2 while Landers made a move to his inside. The two cars made contact coming out of turn two and Landers gave Autry a second to regain control. As the leaders raced into turn three Landers made an amazing drive into the corner to take the lead from Autry, but the momentum took him very high in the corner. Autry pointed his nose to the bottom of the track and got his nose back in front of the Clint Bowyer Racing driver and beat him to turn one. At that point, Landers’ engine stumbled as he started to run low on fuel as well.

From there on it was all a matter of whether Autry had the gas to make it to the end. Landers was able to hold off Bradsher but couldn’t push his car and risk running out of go juice, so he settled for second. Autry crossed the finish line and scored one of the most improbable wins in the history of dirt track racing. Autry was impressed by the move that Landers was able to pull off.

“He drove it in there about four car lengths further than anyone ever should,” said Autry. “I expected him to go over the wall but when I saw him get it turned I knew I had to take it to the bottom and try and beat him to turn one.”

There are Cinderella stories in every kind of sport, and motor racing is no exception. Regan Smith snagged the win at Darlington last season. David Gilliland shocked the Nationwide world by taking the victory at Kentucky in an underfunded ride. Scott Autry beating the likes of Jonathan Davenport, Landers and Steve Francis is easily on par with those wins. If the opportunity presents itself, head to your local short track when you get a chance. You just might get to see something happen that you’ll never believe.

This Weekend’s Racing Calendar

Fri : Apr 13th – Batesville Motor Speedway ; Locust Grove : AR – Comp Cams Super Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Ocean Speedway ; Watsonville : CA – Taco Bravo Ocean Sprints
Fri : Apr 13th – Five Flags Speedway ; Pensacola : FL – Must See Racing Xtreme Sprints
Fri : Apr 13th – Orlando Speedworld ; Orlando : FL – Brighthouse Challenge Super Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Tri-City Speedway ; Pontoon Beach : IL – MARS Dirtcar Series Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Davenport Speedway ; Davenport : IA – Cornbelt Clash Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Heartland Park ; Topeka : KS – Midwest Late Model Racing Association
Fri : Apr 13th – Paducha International Raceway ; Paducah : KY – World of Outlaw Sprint Cars
Fri : Apr 13th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – USRA Modifieds
Fri : Apr 13th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – IMCA Stock Cars
Fri : Apr 13th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds
Fri : Apr 13th – Chateau Raceway ; Lansing : MN – WISSOTA Street Stocks
Fri : Apr 13th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Modifieds
Fri : Apr 13th – Malden Speedway ; Malden : MO – Street Stocks
Fri : Apr 13th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Super Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – NeSmith Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Street Stocks
Fri : Apr 13th – Ace Speedway ; Altamahaw : NC – Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Ace Speedway ; Altamahaw : NC – Modifieds x2
Fri : Apr 13th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – USCS 600 Sprint Cars
Fri : Apr 13th – Carolina Speedway ; Gastonia : NC – USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Cars
Fri : Apr 13th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Steel Block Late Models
Fri : Apr 13th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Modifieds
Fri : Apr 13th – Jackson County Speedway ; Jackson : OH – Street Stocks
Fri : Apr 13th – Trail-Ways Speedway ; Hanover : PA – Sidewinder Sprints
Fri : Apr 13th – Golden Triangle Raceway Park ; Beaumont : TX – Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Fri : Apr 13th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Modifieds
Fri ; Apr 13th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Sport Modifieds
Fri : Apr 13th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – IMCA Stock
Fri : Apr 13th – Mountain Creek Speedway ; Grand Prairie : TX – Street Stock
Fri : Apr 13th – Virginia Motor Speedway ; Saluda : VA – Commonwealth 100 Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Mobile International Speedway ; Irvington : AL – Must See Xtreme Sprint Cars
Sat : Apr 14th – Mobile International Speedway ; Irvington : AL – Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – South Alabama Speedway ; Kinston : AL – Viper Pro Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Havasu 95 Speedway ; Lake Havasu City : AZ – NASCAR K&N Pro West Series
Sat : Apr 14th – Diamond Park Speedway ; Nashville : AR – Comp Cams Super Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Bakersfield Speedway ; Oildale : CA – California Lightning Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Sport Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – Madera Speedway ; Madera : CA – Hobby Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – Thunderbowl Raceway ; Tulare : CA – USAC 360 Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – TBARA Winged Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Desoto Speedway ; Bradenton : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Apr 14th – North Florida Speedway ; Lake City : FL – Florida Mini-Sprint Association
Sat : Apr 14th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – 5th Annual Billie Harvey Memorial Super Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – New Smyrna Speedway ; New Smyrna Beach : FL – Sportsman
Sat : Apr 14th – Punta Gorda Speedway ; Punta Gorda : FL – Open Wheel Modified
Sat : Apr 14th – Gresham Motorsports Park ; Jefferson : GA – Outlaws
Sat : Apr 14th – Gresham Motorsports Park ; Jefferson : GA – Pro Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Gresham Motorsports Park ; Jefferson : GA – Trucks
Sat : Apr 14th – New Senoia Raceway ; Senoia : GA – Season Points Opener Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Waycross Motor Speedway ; Waycross : GA – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Cornbelt Clash Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – 5th Annual Don Bohlander Tribute Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – Peoria Speedway ; Peoria : IL – Limited Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Anderson Speedway ; Anderson : IN – CRA Super Series
Sat : Apr 14th – Lawrenceburg Speedway ; Lawrenceburg : IN – AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Cars
Sat : Apr 14th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Stock
Sat : Apr 14th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Spring Fling Roadrunners
Sat : Apr 14th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Spring Fling Hornets
Sat : Apr 14th – Speedrome ; Indianapolis : IN – Spring Fling Legends
Sat : Apr 14th – Twin Cities Raceway Park ; North Vernon : IN – Midwest Mini-Sprint Association
Sat : Apr 14th – Hamilton County Speedway ; Webster City : IA – Deery Brothers Summer Series IMCA Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Sportsman
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Pure Street
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Mini Stock
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Outlaw Mini Cup
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Baby Grand
Sat : Apr 14th – Corbin Speedway ; Corbin : KY – Pro Challenge
Sat : Apr 14th – Hagerstown Speedway ; Hagerstown : MD – Late Model Sportsman
Sat : Apr 14th – Hagerstown Speedway ; Hagerstown : MD – Pure Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – Berlin Raceway ; Marne : MI – Ice Breaker 100 Outlaw Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Midwest Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Street Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – Wissota Super Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – Deer Creek Speedway ; Spring Valley : MN – USRA Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Super Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – NeSmith Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Magnolia Motor Speedway ; Columbus : MS – Street Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – I-55 Raceway ; Peavely : MO – World of Outlaws Sprint Cars
Sat : Apr 14th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – Spring Thunder MLRA Dirt Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – A-Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – Lucas Oil Speedway ; Wheatland : MO – Factory Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – New Jersey Motorsports Park ; Millville : NJ – 24 Hours of Lemons
Sat : Apr 14th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Late Models Trucks
Sat : Apr 14th – Caraway Speedway ; Asheboro : NC – Street Stocks
Sat : Apr 14th – Concord Motorsports Park ; Concord : NC – Late Models Twin 50s
Sat : Apr 14th – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – Limited Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Hickory Motor Speedway ; Newton : NC – Street Stock
Sat : Apr 14th – Rockingham Speedway ; Rockingham : NC – UARA Stars Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Columbus Motor Speedway ; Columbus : OH – Buckeye Super Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Sprint Cars
Sat : Apr 14th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – ARDC Midgets
Sat : Apr 14th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Keystone Legend Car Tour
Sat : Apr 14th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Super Sportsman
Sat : Apr 14th – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – 410 Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – 358 Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Lincoln Speedway ; Abbottstown : PA – 358 Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Sport Modifieds – Pole Day
Sat : Apr 14th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Late Models – Pole Day
Sat : Apr 14th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Factory Stocks – Pole Day
Sat : Apr 14th – Newport Speedway ; Newport : TN – ISCARS Dash Series
Sat : Apr 14th – Smoky Mountain Speedway ; Maryville : TN – Southern All Star Dirt Super Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Battleground Speedway ; Highlands : TX – Lucas Oil ASCS Sprints
Sat : Apr 14th – Motor Mile Speedway ; Radford : VA – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Motor Mile Speedway ; Radford : VA – Limited Sportsman
Sat : Apr 14th – Motor Mile Speedway ; Radford : VA – Street Stock
Sat : Apr 14th – South Boston Speedway ; South Boston : VA – NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
Sat : Apr 14th – Virginia Motor Speedway ; Saluda : VA – Commonwealth 100 Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Late Models
Sat : Apr 14th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Modifieds
Sat : Apr 14th – Cedar Lake Speedway ; New Richmond : WI – Midwest Modifieds
Sun : Apr 15th – Thompson International Speedway ; Thompson : CT – NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Sun : Apr 15th – Rockford Speedway ; Rockford : IL – Big 8 Series Late Models
Sun : Apr 15th – Lee USA Speedway ; Lee : NH – Governor’s Cup 150 ACT Late Models
Sun : Apr 15th – New Jersey Motorsports Park ; Millville : NJ – 24 Hours of Lemons
Sun : Apr 15th – Wall Speedway ; Wall : NJ – North East Enduro Tour
Sun : Apr 15th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – 358 Modifieds
Sun : Apr 15th – Big Diamond Speedway ; Minersville : PA – Sportsman
Sun : Apr 15th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Sport Modifieds
Sun : Apr 15th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Late Models
Sun : Apr 15th – Mountain Speedway ; St. John’s : PA – Factory Stocks
Wed : Apr 18th – Millbridge Speedway ; Salisbury : NC – Mini Outlaws – Millbridge Mutt Night to benefit the Humane Society of Iredell County

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