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News

Crate Racin’ USA Hits the Home Stretch

Crate Racin’ USA Hits the Home Stretch

EASTABOGA, Ala. — A weather-related postponement of a $10,000-to-win Newsome Raceway Parts Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series event slated Nov. 3-5, 2022, at Magnolia Motor Speedway has set up three successive weekends of racing to conclude the season for the Adam Stewart-managed touring series.

The weather-affected event at the 3/8-mile oval has been rescheduled to Nov. 10-12 at the Johnny Stokes-promoted and prepared facility, which is known for excellent racing on a usually-slippery track surface.

It will now front three successive weekends of action for series regulars, who will subsequently travel from Magnolia to Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga., on Nov. 17-19 for a $10,000-to-win event, and then visit Cochran (Ga.) Motor Speedway Nov. 24-26 to conclude the ’22 season for the touring series with the season-ending Crate Racin’ USA World Championship.

A practice session for all divisions will be held Thursday, Nov. 10, at Magnolia, and qualifying (plus heat races) will take place Friday, Nov. 11. Events will also be staged for CRUSA Street Stocks ($600 to win), Factory Stocks ($500 to win), CRUSA Late Model Sportsman ($500 to win) CRUSA Modified Sportsman ($400 to win) and Hot Shots ($300 to win).

The weekend will be capped Sat., Nov. 12, by the $10,000-to-win feature, which is both a regular series event and the next-to-last race of the season for the E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge circuit. B-mains will precede the main event, and those (plus provisionals) will fill out the starting field.

Other divisions featured on the final night of activities for the three-day weekend will include CRUSA Street Stocks ($1,000 to win), Factory Stocks ($600 to win), CRUSA Late Model Sportsman ($700 to win), CRUSA Modified Sportsman ($600 to win) and Hot Shots ($500 to win).

Weekend Schedule @ Magnolia Motor Speedway

Thurs., Nov. 10
Open practice (all divisions): 7 to 10 p.m.
Pit gate opens: 5 p.m.
Pit admission: $20, and kids (ages 6-10) are $10.
Three-day pit pass: $85
Grandstands: Free

Fri., Nov. 11
Pit gate opens: 3 p.m.
Pit admission: $35, and kids (ages 6-10) are $20.
Grandstand admission: $15, and kids (ages 10 and under) are free.
Grandstand pass: $30

Sat., Nov. 12
Pit gate opens: 1 p.m.
Grandstand open: 4 p.m.
Pit admission: $35, and kids (ages 6-10) are $25
Grandstand admission: $20, and kids (ages 10 and under) are free.

*** NOTE: If weather is questionable, only single-day admission will be sold.

For more information, check out www.MagnoliaDirt.com, or call the racetrack at (662) 240-3478. You can also visit www.crateracinusa.com, or follow all of the organization’s social media channels. Watch live on Crate Racin’ USA.TV!

Thomas Returns to Form
Competing at the Showdown on the Coast held Oct. 15, 2022, at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, Ga., reigning Newsome Raceway Parts Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series champion Jimmy Thomas indicated a resurgence of his program with a solid fifth-place finish in a 29-car field.

Thomas’ racing program, headed by his father Ben Thomas and featuring the family’s Scorpion Chassis, took a big hit at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tenn., during the midsummer months when the youthful driver smacked the outside concrete wall in the first corner during time trials for the prestigious J.T. Kerr Memorial at the Mitch and Tanya McCarter-promoted oval.

The damage to his car was significant, many long nights in the shop followed, and Thomas gradually faded from serious contention for a second-consecutive championship on the Adam Stewart-managed circuit. While Thomas still remains near the top of the E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge points standings and currently trails Welshan by a slim four markers in that championship battle, he had previously dropped off the regular tour.

At Golden Isles, he was making his first start at the facility since the 2015 season, and the race counted points toward both series titles.

“That wreck [at 411 Speedway] put us way behind, and we had to drop back and punt,” Thomas said. “There were a lot of late nights to rebuild the car, and we had to do some work on our motor program. We took some time away from the track to get all our ducks in a row, and now I feel like our program is getting back to where it should be.”

Give the Man a Cigar
Cody Overton recently posted a humorous photo on one of his social media accounts, showing himself with a cigar in his mouth and labeling the picture with a question: “Am I doing it right, Keith?”

That was a reference to fellow driver Keith Nosbisch, whom Overton got to know better during the 2022 version of Florida Speedweeks at East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla. It also drew a return response on social media from Nosbisch. The pair had traded good-natured barbs and jokes steadily during the week, and especially after Nosbisch, who is never at a loss for words and humor, won the finale. He was later disqualified when his tires failed to meet the benchmark at Blue Ridge Labs in North Carolina, which handed the victory to—guess who?—Overton.

Nosbisch has been known for his signature stogies for much of his career, and the grizzled veteran can often be found leaning into his car’s engine compartment with a cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth. He had an extra one on hand during the three nights of racing at the third-mile oval, and gave it to Overton.

“He actually gave me that cigar down there at Florida Speedweeks,” Overton said. “I’ve kept it in my driver’s bag ever since. He told me whenever I won a race, I’d already have it with me to celebrate.”

Tough Year for Dowdy Motorsports
Capped by the recent death of his mother, Killen, Ala., driver Jason Markewitz has suffered through a difficult season on the Newsome Raceway Parts Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series in his Dowdy Racing-fielded ride, where he currently rides sixth in the points standings in a season where the goal was to crack the top five.

“We raced with heavy hearts all season knowing that Jason’s mom was more than likely not going to see him finish this season out,” team owner Mark Dowdy said. “She was very supportive of Jason’s racing through his whole career. Losing her was a real kick in the shorts to all of us.”

A potential sixth in points rather than a top five is not missing their goal by much, but the sheer amount of perseverance it took for this team to reach this point has been nothing short of remarkable. All season long they’ve built and rebuilt after wrecks, parts failures and more than their share of sheer bad luck.

At their most recent outing in the Showdown on the Coast held Oct. 13-15 at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, Ga., Markewitz was involved in a bad wreck that unceremoniously dumped his Domination Race Cars-built ride atop a pile of mangled machinery after a multicar melee in turn one that involved Markewitz, Joe Kump, Mark Fleischer and Randall Beckwith.

Other lowlights during the weekend included (almost unbelievably), a couple deer striking the side of the team’s truck as the group made their way home with a badly-crashed car.

“We bent a rear axle and a rear clip on the race car in the wreck, and then the side of our truck was damaged by those deer on the way home,” team owner [and former racer] Dowdy said. “It’s been a difficult season. We also blew an engine at Thunderhill Raceway Park [Sept. 17], flipped the car at Needmore Speedway [Sept. 24 in Norman Park, Ga.], and had two completely terrible nights at Talladega Short Track [Sept. 30 and Oct. 1]. It’s been a pretty rough stretch here lately for us.”

Fielding two cars on the road during the season, Dowdy Racing has also provided a first-year learning experience in dirt track stock cars for Dalton Dowdy, a nephew to the team owner. The youngster was extremely successful in USAC-sanctioned quarter midget events before making the move to full-bodied Late Models at the start of the season.

Dan Schlieper Makes a Return
Veteran Super Late Model competitor Dan Schlieper of Oak Creek, Wisc., who has been mostly inactive as a driver for almost two years, made a return to the driver’s seat in the 27th edition of the Powell Family Memorial held Oct. 22, 2022, at All-Tech Raceway in Ellisville, Fla.

Schlieper wheeled a car normally piloted by Trynt Lloyd of Jacksonville, Fla., who was serving a one-year penalty ban at the facility for a tire-related infraction.

Schlieper’s wrap featured his familiar No. S9, but featured the sponsors that Lloyd normally carries on his ride. He participated in qualifying and heat races against a strong 73-car field, but finished 10th in a 13-car field during the event’s first of six heat races. The team then scratched the machine from competition in a B-main that was set to start 21 cars.

“It’s all new stuff to me, so we just gotta get used to it,” Schlieper said earlier in the weekend during hot lap sessions. “The last time I was in a race car was about a year and a half ago. I drove Jimmy Mars’ car at a track up near home. Of course that was open motor stuff, and this is a crate motor.

“I think I’ve only drove one of these maybe once in my life.”

Odds and Ends…
••• A total of 246 different drivers have appeared at the 17 events staged by the touring series thus far this season. Four have started every main event: Jason Welshan, Jake Knowles, Jake Rainey and Matthew Brocato.

••• Asphalt-turned-dirt enthusiast Jeremy Pate’s absence at the Showdown on the Coast in mid-October at Golden Isles Speedway cost him a spot on the touring circuit’s Winner’s Circle program, which pays $200 bonus money to the top five drivers in the points, and $125 to the drivers who are sixth through 10th in the standings at the end of each event. The rewards are paid at each event on the schedule, but require a perfect attendance record. Pate is currently seventh in the overall series points standings.

••• Drivers with the most top-10 finishes on the series include current series points leader Jason Welshan, who tops all competitors with a remarkable 15 in 17 starts. Welshan holds a 160-point advantage over Jake Knowles in the chase for the $10,000 series championship.

Welshan recently sold his primary car to Brad Dyer of Mohawk, Tenn., who drove it in the 27th Powell Family Memorial weekend at Ellisville, Fla’s All-Tech Raceway, but failed to make the starting grid. Matt Henderson of Loudon, Tenn., is scheduled to wheel the machine in a $10,000-to-win event slated Nov. 10-12 at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss.

••• Two events remain on the second-year E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge, and all eyes will be watching the “series within a series” that offers $5,000 to its overall champion. Maryville, Tenn., driver Jason Welshan, buoyed by five top-10 finishes in six starts on the miniseries, currently leads the ultra-tight chase for the title by a slim four points (504-500) over Jimmy Thomas.

Rounding out the top five in the standings heading into Magnolia Motor Speedway on Nov. 10-12 are Jake Rainey [458], Jake Knowles [450] and Matthew Brocato [412]. A total of 149 different drivers have participated in an E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge event this season.

••• Quietly and discreetly, Matthew Brocato of Muscle Shoals, Ala., has put together a solid season on the circuit, and currently rides fourth in points in his first full-season effort on the touring series. He has one top-five finish in `17 starts.

••• Interesting fact: Jimmy Thomas of Phenix City, Ala., leads all drivers with the most top-five finishes (7) on the regular circuit, but the reigning series champion has fallen out of the chase for the title after he skipped events when his equipment needed midseason repairs and updates.

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