NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Dirty: 2021 Flo Racing Night in America at Volunteer Speedway

The Headline(s)

Superman kept Yung Money at bay to become the first driver to win multiple races in the Flo Racing Night in America series, scoring the $10,000 win at Volunteer Speedway Wednesday night.

How it Happened

Feature: 2021 Flo Racing Night in America
Where: Volunteer Speedway – Bulls Gap, Tenn. (streamed on Flo Racing)
Winner’s Purse: $10,000

Polesitter Ross Bailes led the opening 26 laps on a track that was top-line heavy all night long, but unrelenting lapped traffic gave Jonathan Davenport a window, and on lap 27 Superman took flight.

As if that move wasn’t enough, Davenport sealed his 24th super late model win of 2021 with a commanding three-wide middle move through lapped traffic that left eventual runner-up Kyle Larson stymied in lapped traffic, unable to make a late-race challenge for the win.

Success Stories

The Flo Racing crew posed an interesting question during Wednesday’s pre-race show, asking whether there was any way for Davenport to reclaim the super late model driver of the year title from Brandon Overton, concluding there would be no way to do it unless Davenport essentially won out the rest of the fall. That doesn’t seem likely, but nonetheless Davenport’s weave through lapped traffic to win Wednesday’s feature was masterclass.

Paragon, Ind.’s Steve Peeden bested 2021 Wood Tic champion Rusty Schlenk in a caution-free late model feature at the Kokomo Speedway Sunday evening, scoring a $2,021 check.

Peeden’s strong showing was topped, however, by a photo finish between Jordan Wever and Nick Allen in Kokomo’s modified feature on Sunday. The tape speaks for itself.

Modified Photo Finish at Kokomo Klash XV

It doesn't get much closer than that! 📸 🏁

Posted by FloRacing on Monday, October 18, 2021

Loudon, Tenn.’s Cory Hedgecock ended up carrying the flag for the state of Tennessee Wednesday night with a fifth-place finish at Volunteer, besting polesitter Bailes on the last lap. However, earlier in the night…

Vexed, Villains & Victims

Hedgecock absolutely took out Winchester, Tenn.’s Joe Denby with an ill-advised slide job during his heat race that saw Hedgecock’s No. 23 get out of shape, spinning and forcing Denby’s machine into the turn 2 wall.

2021 DIRTcar Summer Nationals late model champion Bobby Pierce made his debut appearance on the Flo Racing Night in America circuit Wednesday night, but it didn’t last long, with Pierce opting to start-and-park the feature due to a mechanical issue that emerged between the heat races and feature.

It didn’t appear intentional, but Morristown, Tenn.’s Austin Lefevers clearly took out Jamie Whitt racing for fourth in Wednesday’s street stock feature at Volunteer.

NASCAR Truck Series regular Sheldon Creed was running in the top five in micro-sprint competition at Millbridge Speedway Wednesday night before pounding the turn 2 wall and breaking his machine with two laps to go. 

Fanning the Flames

Flo Racing wasted no time teasing that their “Night in America” super late model series will be back for 2022, “bigger and better” per Wednesday’s telecast. If everyone else is doing it…

It makes zero sense to me that Flo Racing’s DirtonDirt personalities hosting the “Night in America” program spent plenty of time complimenting the PA announcer at Volunteer Speedway, yet spent nearly the entirety of the street stock feature yakking about their own bets and their dating lives instead of actually telecasting a feature event. Let’s keep the “racing” in Flo Racing Night in America please.

Between watching Christian Hanger having to slam on the brakes to avoid a street stock car in reverse at the end of Wednesday’s super late model B-main or the tow tractor having to thread the needle between parked cars to get a wrecked machine into the infield, perhaps the hardest question to ponder from Wednesday was where is the worst traffic in the state of Tennessee? I-40 through Knoxville, or the infield at Volunteer Speedway?

I have not yet gotten to read the revised UMP modified rules for the 2022 season, but DIRTcar Summer Nationals modified champion Nick Hoffman certainly had plenty to say about rule changes that purportedly will be dramatic in changing bodies, as well as requiring a standard 22-gallon fuel cell.

Hoffman, who was interviewed by Flo Racing during Wednesday’s late model telecast, made several coherent points about the impact that rule changes could have in the current environment of parts/engine shortages across the dirt racing industry. And if this tweet is in fact accurate, there’s reason for tracks that run UMP-sanctioned modifieds to be concerned.

Having said that, let’s not forget that Hoffman’s No. 2 car made a literal mockery of the Hell Tour this summer, winning more than 10 races in a row that were not even remotely competitive. Hoffman’s points lead got so out of hand that he sat out the tour race at Macon to avoid bending up his primary car. Racing without parity may work for Formula 1, but good luck selling tickets to midweek races where the result is known before hot laps start.

Numbers Game

4 – cars that wrecked in the front-wheel drive feature coming to the green flag at Volunteer Speedway Wednesday.

8 – yellow flags that flew in Wednesday’s 20-lap 602 crate late model feature at Volunteer Speedway.

28 – super late models entered for Wednesday’s Flo Racing Night in America feature at Volunteer.

33,000 – viewers reported by Flo Racing to be watching during the preliminary street stock feature at Volunteer Speedway Wednesday night.

Where it Rated (on a scale of one to six cans with one a stinker and a six-pack an instant classic): The midweek gets four strong pulls of Jack. Davenport and Larson put on a good show in the feature at Volunteer, a shiny finish to an otherwise caution-filled night of racing during a midweek that was thin on racing programs. Had Flo spent less time yakking, it may have warranted another half a shot.

Up Next: The World of Outlaws head to Kansas City to headline Friday night, while Saturday sees plenty of late model racing off the beaten path, with a $26,000-to-win crate late model show at All-Tech Raceway and a $20,000-plus purse to win the Keystone Cup at the Bedford Speedway. Coverage Friday can be found on DirtVision; Saturday on Flo Racing and The Cushion.

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