(Daniel Silvestri caps off the Southside Speedway season in victory lane / Photo Credit : Silvestri Racing)
MIDLOTHIAN, VA : Daniel Silvestri entered the weekend a mere four points (226) behind leader and fellow rookie Cody Carlton (230). You could say the task was rather simple, go out and win the race and take home the championship. Though Silvestri was able to complete one of those tasks, the latter portion was a bit more difficult. Cody Carlton, former Arena Racing USA champion, was the fastest man in town during the final practice session of the afternoon which earned him the pole position come race time as well as one extra bonus point towards his championship hopes. Silvestri’s time would be good enough for second while Chris Lilly, Kevin Yeatts, and Carter Weedon made up the fastest five drivers. Carlton and Silvestri would swap places on the grid, however, after Carlton drew the number two pill.
The invert seemed to play well for Silvestri who jumped out to the early lead when the green flag was displayed. Carlton would lose the second position rather quickly to Chris Lilly who was able to power around the points leader using the bottom groove of the track leaving him to battle with Ryan Matthews. Lilly would eventually catch the back bumper of Silvestri and apply pressure, but just was not able to make anything happen. Carlton was able to track Lilly back down and make the pass for the second position just past the halfway mark of the race and immediately set his target on the race lead. Running times almost .400-seconds faster than the race leader there was no question that Carlton was going to catch Silvestri, the question could he make the pass on old tires.
Carlton had pulled up to Silvestri’s rear bumper with two laps to go and gave the 2016 Southside Speedway Bandolero champ a shot to rattle his cage but it was ineffective. Carlton would make one more attempt down in turns one and two but looked to clip a bit of the rumble strips and had to chase the car up the track a bit allowing Silvestri to pull away and collect is second win of the 2017 season. The second place finish from Carlton was enough to not only clinch Rookie of the Year honors but also win the 2017 Legends title for the Chesapeake, Virginia driver.
“He always has a good car and is a good driver,” Carlton said about Silvestri. “Pair that with a track that’s already difficult to pass at and he is a tough competitor, and a good kid overall. I was happy to see him get the win, we both left there satisfied. Even after falling back we were able to run him back down, we just ran out of time to get it done clean.”
The championship was the first of its kind for Carlton, outside of Arena Racing and Karting, and just the tip of the ice burg for this talented driver.
“There is no better feeling,” Carlton told The Weekly Racer after locking up both Rookie of the Year and the track title. “It’s a hard accomplishment to make, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my car owner, John weaver, and the crew chief, Steve Hancock. Since the first time I strapped into the legend car it has been a rocket ship so I felt like from the beginning it was up to me to get the job done and show my team that we could win races and championships. I was really hoping to double up and win two championships in my first season, unfortunately some bad luck at Langley prevented that. It’s still an awesome feeling to do what we have done in our first season of legends, I really enjoy driving these cars and look forward to next year.”
With just one more Legends race left on the season for Carlton down at Langley Speedway his race season is far from over, however, as he will spend the fall and winter chasing trophies and wins in karting on the dirt tracks throughout the region. He later went on to tell The Weekly Racer he will more than likely run a full Late Model schedule with Legends races in-between.
Layton Harrison was able to double down and pick up his second win in a row in the INEX Bandoleros to kick off Champions night at Southside Speedway this past weekend. After qualifying on the pole with a 16.919-second lap, the only one in the nine car field to hit a sub seventeen second lap – Harrison would find himself rolling off the grid in the fourth position for their 15-lap feature. The four car invert found Franklin Caricofe leading the field into one when the green flag was displayed.
The 15-lap feature witnessed six lead changes among three drivers, oddly enough neither one of the leaders were points champion Conner Jones who had a wicked accident during qualifying – and only one caution. Harrison and Leland Honeyman, who races primarily at Concord Speedway, spent the better portion of the race battling hard for the race lead lap after lap. The final two laps were really something to watch as Harrison did everything he could to get around and Honeyman did everything he could to hold his line and protect. Harrison entered turn three strong on the final lap and was able to make a bit of a crossover move when both cars stepped out of line coming out of treacherous turn four. Harrison appeard to get back on the throttle quicker beating Honeyman to the checkered flag.
Despite the issues Conner Jones had during practice he was able to start the race from the rear in a back up car and drive up to the fifth position. The top five was enough for the young man to put a cap on the dominating 2017 season he had at Southside and clinch the championship.
Legends Results :
- Daniel Silvestri
- Cody Carlton
- Chris Lilly
- Ryan Matthews
- Carter Weedon
- DJ Elzey
- Carter Wood
- Kevin Yeatts
- David Turner
Bandolero Results :
- Layton Harrison
- Leland Honeyman
- Franklin Caricofe
- Logan Clark
- Conner Jones
- Eddie Slagle
- Wyatt Philyaw
- Teddy Cranmer
- Kenton Case
– Press Release by Justin Kern of The Weekly Racer