(Derek Lemke joins the famous #48 Ladyga Motorsports team in competition for this year’s Summer Shootout Pro division / LN Photo)
CONCORD, NC : For the 25th consecutive year all eyes this summer will be focused on the quarter-mile frontstretch oval at “The Greatest Place to See the Race”, Charlotte Motor Speedway tonight with the return of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout.
Many of motorsports’ big names have come from the annual ten-race series that takes place in the center of NASCAR country. Current Monster Energy Cup Series stars Joey Logano, Chris Buescher, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney and David Ragan have all visited victory lane during their INEX careers at the Summer Shootout. Other racing stars like Austin Hill, Kaz Grala, Ben Rhodes and the all-time Legends Pro race winning driver Daniel Hemric have all graduated from the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout.
Beginning tonight, June 11th new faces and future racing stars will take their chances under the bright lights and in front of cameras as they try to add their names to the list of winners at the home track for U.S. Legend Cars International and their most prestigious yearly event.
In the Bandolero Bandits division, drivers ages 8-11 compete each race night for 20 laps as they battle for a championship at the end of 10 races. On top of the Summer Shootout, the 2018 INEX Bandolero Nationals will also take place under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway in August. Current championship leader, and 2017 Bandolero Bandits Nationals race winner Landon Rapp of Concord, North Carolina heads into this year’s series as one of the favorites for the Summer Shootout championship.
Other championship hopefuls include Monroe, North Carolina’s Zack Miracle, who currently sits in second place in the season-long championship point standings. Yorktown, Virginia’s Jaiden Reyna has been in contention all season and is on the verge of a breakout win against the top drivers in the country. Fulshear, Texas driver Kade Brown returns this summer on the strength of five top five finishes at the 2018 INEX Winter Nationals, including two second place results.
During last year’s Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Indian Trail, North Carolina native Justin Gareis won the final three races and since then he has been the hottest driver in the Bandolero Outlaws division. Gareis has already amassed ten race wins this season and holds a comfortable lead in the national points. The Tretow Racing driver heads into this year’s edition of the Summer Shootout as the hands on favorite to walk away as champion at the end of round ten.
The Bandolero Outlaws field boasts one of the deepest and closest fields that will be competiting this summer at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Charlotte, North Carolina’s Carson Ramsey has one race win this season and has been close to stringing wins together in his Mike Gordon prepared #77 race car.
2018 INEX Battle at the Big Top Outlaws champion Garin Mash is looking to build on that success and finally collect a Summer Shootout race win and possibly the Outlaws championship after round ten.
Concord, North Carolina’s Jadyn Daniels brings her #24 KartCarolina Bandolero back for another go at the quarter-mile. Daniels, who has received coaching from 2017 INEX Bandolero Outlaws National Champion Cameron Bolin, will not surprise anyone if and when she finds victory lane under the lights of CMS.
The Legends Young Lions class has been dominated this year by Isaak Love in his Mark Nahrstedt Race Cars #6. Love has moved up from the Outlaws class last year into the Legends car for 2018 and has taken 14 race wins in the first half of the season.
The Bojangles’ sponsored #24 car of Bryson Ruff also works with help from Nahrstedt and has shown the speed to capture wins this summer at CMS. Ruff, the 2016 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout Bandolero Bandits champion is hopeful of adding a Legend car championship to his resume in a few weeks time.
Other contenders include Valdosta, Georgia’s Ryan Rackley, who has won the first two rounds of the Thursday Thunder series at the sister track to CMS, Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rackley has moved to the Chase Pistone, Inc. prepared cars this season and he has adaped quickly to the change and has been a front runner all season long thus far.
The Legends Semi-Pro class will once again have the deepest fields and could produce ten different winners. With the Miller boys having cut back their schedule this season, and Zach moving up to the Pro class, there will be a new champion this summer. Des Moines, Iowa’s Sammy Smith has found his way with the Legend car this season. He has competed all over the country in 2018, including the Battle at the Big Top Semi-Pro championship. Smith, who races his familiar #12 TMC Transportation Legend car for Ladyga Motorsports is one of the favorites for the Summer Shootout championship this year. Smith has already claimed a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he chases two summer titles.
Atlanta, Georgia’s Drew Dollar is gunning for the INEX Semi-Pro National Championship in 2018 and has teamed up with Mark Nahrstedt Race Cars in pursuit of that. Dollar, swept The Showdown at Las Vegas in April and has wins at three other tracks this year.
The “Fallston Flash” D.J. Canipe has been a rocketship this season driving for 860 Motorsports. Canipe has scored wins at Tri-County Motor Speedway, Anderson Motor Speedway, The Bullring at Las Vegas and Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway. The former Bandits champion will be a contender week in and week out this summer.
Connor Mosack has the mind of Dennis Lambert tuning his #18 Legend car this season, which has turned the driver into a championship threat this summer. Mosack enters this year’s edition of the Summer Shootout fifth in the nation in points and has scored five race wins in 2018.
The Legends Masters division will most likely produce the most different race winners this summer. Last year three drivers went into the final night one point apart before Todd Midas claimed the championship crown in dramatic fashion. Midas returns with his #50 Chase Pistone, Inc race car and is looking to pull off the repeat performance.
Along with Midas, his teammate Carl Cormier is a contender each time he takes to the race track. The Dragon is after one thing this summer and one thing only. Cormier, who was within a few laps of a Summer Shootout championship last year, is determined to capture that missing jewel.
Steven Ross Motorsports returns with two of the top Masters drivers in the country once again this summer. Robby Faggart, the 2016 Masters Summer Shootout champion, and multiple Summer Shootout champion John Sossoman are geared up and ready to chase race wins and try to bring another Summer Shootout championship to the camp of SRM.
The Legends Pro division will crown its first new champion since 2014 as three-time and defending Pro Summer Shootout champion Jordan Black is not competiting this year. Rev Racing driver and fellow Florida native Nick Sanchez has moved into the Pro class in 2018 racing with AK Performance in the Legend car. Sanchez, is also racing a Late Model on a part-time basis and hopes that experience helps him capture the Summer Shootout championship.
Savage, Minnesota’s Derek Lemke has relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina and joined the powerhouse Ladyga Motorsports team for the Summer Shootout in the famous and fast #48. Ironically, the last Pro championship driver before Black was Daniel Hemric racing for the same team and colors as Lemke will pilot this summer. Lemke has scored many Legend car wins at his home track of Elko Speedway, Minnesota competiting with the Great North Legends.
Other contenders include Cummings, Georgia’s Hudson Halder. Halder, the 2017 INEX Legends Semi-Pro National Champion, is now one of the top Pro drivers in the country and races for Steven Ross Motorsports. SRM built and maintained the cars that Jordan Black won his championship in last season, so it will be no surprise if Halder is in contention on the final night.
A former U.S. Legend Cars International competitor is making his return to the Summer Shootout this year. Tyler Lester will be running for Stillwell Racing with PR full-time this summer chasing the Pro title. Led by former USLCI employee Jordan Stillwell, Lester has seven career Bandolero Outlaw Summer Shootout victories and he chases his first victory in the Legend car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The 2015 Bandolero Bandit Summer Shootout champion Daniel Wilk is back for his second season as a Legend Pro driver and is still seeking his first win in the Legend at the speedway. Wilk, who runs for his family owned team, found the consistency and speed needed to be a front runner in the second half of last year’s Shootout. He hopes to build on that momentum and pull off a win or two this year.
In addition to these names there will be surprise winners, moments and different track conditions that will bring out more memorable moments at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All the action and information will be covered live with video on LNTV and live updates throughout each race night on the social media channels of LegendsNation.
The 25th Bojangles’ Summer Shootout begins tonight with round one and then turns around to round two on Tuesday night. Racing fans from around the world can catch every lap from start to finish of all ten rounds of the Shootout by subscribing to the live video broadcast on LNTV. Those interested in watching all the racing action can find more information by heading to www.legendsnation.tv and join the exclusive home of USLCI race broadcasts.