Chris Burns Takes the Checkers in Instant Classic at Carteret
Mar 31, 2019 - updated Mar 31st, 2019 7:48am
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Chris Burns comes to the checkered flag to pick up the victory in the season opening race at Carteret County Speedway. (Morgan Odum photo)
PELETIER, NC – Chris Burns picked up the biggest win of his career on Saturday afternoon, coming from the back to the front to pick up the victory in an instant classic at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Burns closed in on Stacy Puryear during the mid-stages of the Solid Rock Carriers 100 and, when the two battled for the lead, Puryear went around off Burns’ front bumper – resulting in both drivers going to the rear. Burns quickly battled back and, with four laps to go, made the pass on Jason York to score the victory.
“I feel like we were just a little better on entry than Stacy,” Burns said in victory lane after the race. “Definitely not intentional. He’s a class act racer. I try not to race that way. Using the bumper’s okay but I definitely didn’t mean to spin him out. This is huge for our little team. Last year, we struggled with this car ever since we put it together. Man, to get this win is awesome.”
Burns’ car came to life during long green flag runs as he, on two separate occasions, raced his way into contention for the lead – ultimately making the winning pass with four laps to go. For Burns, it’s the biggest victory of his career as he raced against heavyweights and took home the $5,000 payout.
“It started out shoving the nose in the center,” Burns explained. “I came over the radio and said, ‘it’s still early, I think we might have a chance.’ After that red flag over there, it was like a different racecar. I’m tickled. I couldn’t ask for more. York and Puryear are no slouches, that’s for sure. They’re some of the best in the business, been doing it a long time. Having my little girl with me, that’s a life-changing deal. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Burns’ win came in a wild race which saw multiple incidents. On a lap 43 restart, contenders Rusty Daniels, Tyler Horne, Brandon Clements, and Joshua Yeoman were all involved in a pileup in turn one. Later, on lap 65, Clements and Daniels were again involved in an accident which also collected Thad Moffitt and Gerald Benton.
Jason York inherited the lead when Burns and Puryear got together and led for most of the second half, until Burns came roaring past. York settled for a runner-up finish.
“We were real good,” York said. “We were pleased with the car. Just a little free in the center. We’ll fix it, get it back over here and get some wins here. Congratulations to Chris though. He done a hell of a job winning the race.”
Stacy Puryear, who felt the mid-race contact from Burns was just a racing incident, was able to rebound for a third-place finish.
“We just had gotten loose up off and, you know, we had a good racecar,” Puryear said. “If it had been a little tighter, [Burns] wouldn’t have known which way we went. This is the first time we’ve ever been here. This racecar’s been sitting since Martinsville 2016 and we’re very proud of it.”
Rusty Daniels and Tyler Horne finished fourth and fifth respectively while Thad Moffitt, Lexi Gay, Eric Winslow, Brandon Clements, and Gerald Benton rounded out the top-10.
The win for Chris Burns was his first since April 28, 2018.
Brenton Irving continued his dominance in the INEX Legends division, picking up the win in a thrilling INEX at the 4/10-mile track which will play host to the INEX Legends Asphalt Nationals later this year.
Irving raced his way past Brian Sullivan on lap 16 in the 35 lap feature and then survived challenges from Zack Brown, Brian Sullivan and Emily Day. On the final turn of the last lap, Brown got loose which resulted in both cars getting together and spinning across the line to a second and third place finish respectively.
Irving, who won the track championship at Carteret in 2016 and 2017, was ecstatic after scoring the victory.
“I’m going to tell you, this win was for all of you fans who come out to watch a good race,” Irving said in victory lane. “That’s why we came here, baby. Jesus Christ loves every single one of you guys. I was just playing [with Emily]. When I see someone in my mirror, we would have stepped it up.”
Brown took his second-place finish in stride after an eventful race – first when his windshield was covered with oil when Kevin Nowak blew an engine directly in front of him, then the finish with Sullivan.
“I was loose, just really loose,” Brown said. “Hate that I did that right in front of pretty much the field, but you’ve got to dig when you’ve got a green-white-checkered. The first half of the race was crazy. I guess Herbie the Love Bug (Kevin Nowak) gave me some love as far as fluid goes all over the car. Just a reallooseose racecar. Appreciate all the fans coming out.”
Sullivan once again had one of the fastest cars but was unable to come away with the win. This time, however, he was able to finish without any mechanical issues and is looking ahead to the next race.
“We didn’t blow up, that’s one way to look at it,” Sullivan remarked. “Last year, we blew two motors, so we’re just happy to finish a race and not blow the thing up. I didn’t know if [Day] got back by on the outside or not. Zack got sideways, I checked up. I thought he was going to save it. He almost saved it then, last minute, I think he was trying to get to the line as well and he got back in the gas or something and just came across. Luckily we didn’t do too much damage.”
Emily Day finished fourth while Jim Smith rounded out the top-five in the 16 car field.
Kris Hetu made a late race pass on Michael Rouse to pick up the victory in the Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini Stock Division. Rouse dominated for much of the event but a late race caution tightened the field and Hetu was able to make the pass on the outside.
“Before that last caution, I noticed [Rouse] started smoking a little bit off his right side so I don’t know if it was getting on his tires or what but I think I used it to my advantage,” Hetu stated. “I had to drive the piss out of this thing. It’s been almost a year since I won.”
Rouse’s engine expired late. Reigning division champion Stephen Sanders finished second over Travis Provost, Jason Adams and Andrew Deal.
Robert Arch picked up the win in an equally entertaining U-CAR feature. Arch took the lead early and never looked back while Neil Mason, Steve Sullivan and Andrew Jackson engaged in a fierce battle for second behind him. Arch went on to win and Mason prevailed in the battle while Sullivan, Joe Lanier and Jackson rounded out the top-five.
“It really came to life there,” Arch remarked. “The longer we ran, the better it got. I thought we were going to be okay, then at the end, the exhaust fell off the car and it lost a bunch of power. I thought the Carteret Curse came back. I’ve tried so many times to win here. That’s the main reason we’re coming down here. We were coming to race until we won. I guess we knocked that checklist off early in the year.”
Mike Cooper scored the victory in the Street Stock feature while Gary Rochelle rebounded from a mid-race incident to finish second. Sean Wales picked up the win in a wild Champ Kart feature, defending a late race charge from Justin Mitchell which included an attempted pass in the grass from the eventual runner-up. Justin Hall was victorious in the Mini Cup feature. In the Jr. Mini Cup feature, Scotty Benford, in his first race, collected the victory over Caleb Braswell.
The 2019 season at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway will resume on Saturday, April 13th with the Spring Thaw. The Spring Thaw will feature racing for the INEX Legends, Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini-Stocks, Street Stocks, Mini Cups, Champ Karts and the East Coast Flathead Fords. Green flag will fly at 7pm.
For more information about Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s official website at www.carteretspeedway.com, “like” Carteret County Speedway on Facebook or follow @carteretcoswy on Twitter.
Carteret County 3/30/19 Results
Limited Late Model
1. Chris Burns
2. Jason York
3. Stacy Puryear
4. Rusty Daniels
5. Tyler Horne
6. Thad Moffitt
7. Lexi Gay
8. Eric Winslow
9. Brandon Clements
10. Gerald Benton
11. T.J. Barron
12. Joshua Yeoman
1. Brenton Irving
2. Zack Brown
3. Brian Sullivan
4. Emily Day
5. Jim Smith
6. Jordan Lamoth
7. Matt Haufe
8. Aaron Crumpler
9. Chris Hammett
10. Josh Spence
11. Tucker Jones
12. Trevor Thacker
13. Joel Carlyle
14. Skyler Dean
15. Kevin Nowak
16. Eric Courtney
Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini Stock
1. Kris Hetu
2. Stephen Sanders
3. Travis Provost
4. Jason Adams
5. Andrew Deal
6. Michael Rouse
7. Dub Fulford
8. Jeremy Ottaway
9. Adam Resnick
10. Jesse Heath
11. Jimmy Odum
1. Robert Arch
2. Neil Mason
3. Steve Sullivan
4. Joe Lanier
5. Andrew Jackson
6. Brian Mattice
7. Abby Jolly
8. Curtis Lanier
1. Mike Cooper
2. Gary Rochelle, Jr.
3. Billy Slater
4. John Sharp
5. Ronald Shephard
1. Sean Wales
2. Justin Mitchell
3. Mike Tyndall
4. Cory Dimauro
1. Justin Hall
2. Chase Singletary
3. Charles Pudenz
4. Scotty Benford (JR)
5. Caleb Braswell (JR)
6. Alexis Steffan (JR)