( Rural Retreat, Va.) With the first shot of cool air streaming into southwestern Virginia, teams and fans gathered at Fred Brown’s beautiful 1/2 mile facility tucked in the valley of Rural Retreat, Virginia for Round 10 of the 2022 #deuceswild tour. Twenty teams signed in for the Steel Block Bandits Dirt Late Model Challenge first visit to Wythe Raceway and its second visit to the Commonwealth state of the season.
HGR’s Truck & Trailer Sales, Inc.. qualifying would kick off the evening with two laps for each competitor that would set up the starting lineup for two heats. Shaun Harrell would knock off local hot shoe Travis Greer with a lap of 16.764 to earn his first career Bandit pole. Harrell picks up the $200 from Bryan Sullivan and would lead the field to green in heat number one.
The Scott Service Company heat race number one would see Dustin Mitchell D8 and Harrell on the front row for the right lap affair with the winner advancing to the pole of the 40 lap feature. Mitchell would power by Harrell on the start and lead the 10 car field down the long back stretch with Harrell and Willie Milliken in tow. Mitchell hangs on to get the win followed by Harrell, Milliken, Matt Long Racing and Robbie Emory rounding out the top five.
The Hardison Suspension Technologies heat race was filled with all kinds of action as the drivers battled to fill the remaining positions of the feature. Travis Greer and Timmy Blackwell brought the final heat to full song but as the field raced into turn one, Brian Strickland loses a right rear tire causing significant damage to the right rear of his Barry Wright Race Cars. Michael Batten was marching his way through the field and was running second as the field came to the white flag. A right rear tire exploded on his Longhorn Chassis sending him into the outside retaining wall. Greer would cross the line as the winner but would come up light at the scales. The win was awarded to Blackwell with Tyler Bare, Derick Quade, Michael Alderman and Lance Brasington rounding out the top five.
The stage was set for the $5000 feature with Mitchell and Blackwell bringing the field to green. As the field sliced through turns one, Harrell’s car gets clipped on the right rear snapping his Capital Race Cars around in front of the field. Matt Long, trying to miss the incident, gets snagged by Emory sending his car in several violent flips. Brasington, Barett Lowe, Cody Wright, Derrick Rankin and Batten were all involved in the crash. A lengthy red flag ensued as track crews had to pry several of the cars apart. After the red was lifted, Mitchell and Willie-Crystal Milliken would separate themselves from the rest of the pack setting a blistering pace. Milliken woukd try numerous lines to reel the Pine Level native in but couldn’t quite get it done. As the laps wound down, Milliken mounted one last charge with two laps to go but Mitchell would use a group of lapped cars to his advantage and dash away to record his fifth win of the season and extend his points lead.
“Man this place is bad fast, noted Mitchell. I haven’t raced here in awhile but this was fun, I love these big tracks. Gotta thank Corky, Rose all of our crew and sponsors, they have given me a rocket ship. I wanna thank Willie for racing me clean, I knew he was right there with me, we were picking them up and putting them down.”
Milliken finally got his car to his liking for the feature, “I knew if we could get it freed up we would be fast, I was tight in the heat but the guys went to work and it was dialed in. Millikeb noted the aero Wythe provides, “This place is so big and wide open thst you can feel the aero push, I think with one more adjustment we would have been there but congratulations to Dustin, they hit it tonight.” Timmy Blackwell records his best finish in his Bsnfit career, “We needed this one bad, I absolutely love this place , they need more of these big tracks. This place is so big I could smoke a cigarette from turn 4 to turn 1, it’s a blast.”
* Tyler Bare was off from the time his team unloaded, even going a lap down in the feature. He will lose valuable points when the points come out Tuesday but the series heads to a track he has been good at next.
* A big salute to Cody Wrights crew for getting his car repaired after the big wreck on lap one. Wright rallies for a fourth place finish and gains points on Rankin in the Arizona Sport Shirts rookie standings presented by New Point Lighting and Design.
* Batten has another fast hot Rod but bad luck continues to haunt this team as he is involved in two wrecks.
* Mitchell set a torrid place leaving himself, Milliken and Blackwell the only three cars on the lead lap.
* The 8 car pileup was the biggest accident in Bandit history thankfully all of the drivers were not injured.
* A blinding fast surface greeted the series and the drivers that drew great appreciation from everyone even though it proved to be one of the most challenging events in series history.
Wythe Results: 9/17/2022
1. Dustin Mitchell (5)
2. Willie Milliken
3. Timmy Blackwell
4. Cody Wright (R)
5. Robbie Emory
6. Tyler Bare
7. Michael Batten
8. Barrett Lowe
9. Michael Alderman ( R)
10. Derrick Rankin (R)
11. Brian Strickland
12. Chris Blackwell
13. Caleb Fulp
14. Derick Quade
15. Dan Breuer
16. Travis Greer
17. Shaun Harrell
18. Matt Long
19. Lance Brasington (R)
20. Brad Lowe
Lap leaders- Mitchell 1-40
Furr’s Deli Rookie of the race- Wright
Pole Award-Harrell (1)
Next Up: Saturday, October 1st Beckley Motor Speedway $5000 to win $500 to start.
EP/ Bandir PR