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Whitener earns $10,000 in First Boothill Appearance

Whitener earns $10,000 in First Boothill Appearance

GREENWOOD, La. (Oct. 16) — Taking control after a lead-swapping duel on the opening circuit with Maryville, Tenn., driver Jason Welshan, Middleburg, Fla., driver Mark Whitener took the top spot at Boothill Speedway and continued to a $10,000 victory in the 50-lap Battle of Boothill Saturday night at the high-banked oval.

He led all but the first trip around the facility and was trailed to the stripe in a 24-car field by Jason Welshan, B.J. Robinson, Tyler Stevens and Jake Knowles.

It was Whitener’s first victory of the season on the Newsome Raceway Parts-sponsored Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series, and he was the 10th different winner in 17 completed events this season on the Adam Stewart-managed touring circuit. The race also served as the fifth event of the season for the first-year E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge, which is a collection of events paying at least $10,000 to the winner. He also claimed two victories on the Crate Racin’ USA Winter Series earlier this season, earning back-to-back victories Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 at third-mile East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla.

Whitener’s win was also his first on the E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge, and he’s the current points leader over Welshan on that “series within a series” concept in the chase for a $5,000 championship prize. Whitener currently leads Welshan by 44 points [460-416] in the standings, with two events remaining on the schedule. Those final two E-Z-GO events are slated to be held Nov. 5-6 at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss., and Nov. 19-20 at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga., and both will pay $10,000 to the winner. Both will also count toward the regular series championship for Chevrolet Performance-equipped 604 Late Models, which is worth $10,000 to the top point-getter at the end of the season.

Whitener was making his first start at one of Louisiana’s historic oval tracks, and it didn’t take long for him to figure out the unique facility when he outqualified a 27-car field in time trials with a lap clocked at 15.433 seconds. He gave up the early lead to Welshan on the opening circuit after a back-and-forth exchange between the pair, but retook the point on lap two and never again trailed. It was a return-volley crossover maneuver that propelled Whitener back into the top spot after Welshan’s early rush allowed him to lead the first lap by less than a car length at the flagstand.

“We did a couple slide jobs on each other, and he [Welshan] was real strong early in the race,” Whitener said. “Once I got settled down a little bit, I realized we had a phenomenal race car, and I finally figured out I was probably overdriving the place a little bit.

Welshan stayed close for a few laps and eventually finished 1.313 seconds behind Whitener, but the race leader was steady on restarts through six caution flags that appeared during the first 36 laps, and Welshan never again challenged as seriously as he did during the opening circuits. The final 14 circuits were completed without a caution flag, and Whitener was able to extend his advantage.

“I’ve only been here this one time, but it seems to me this place is easy to overdrive,” Whitener said. “I don’t have a lot of laps here, and I had to adjust my driving. I was telling myself every restart to just calm down. When I did, it seemed like we could pull away a little bit.”

Welshan’s Quest
Welshan’s best opportunities arrived in the first 10 circuits, and the veteran driver ended up settling for a runnerup finish. At one point he was challenged heavily by third-place finisher B.J. Robinson of Bossier City, La., but was able to protect the runnerup slot.

It was a disappointing second-place finish for Welshan, but still a decent outing from the standpoint of his year-long participation in a four-way battle for the regular touring series championship. Coupled with difficulties suffered by standings leader Jimmy Thomas, Welshan moved to within 28 markers of the points lead.

“It’s a good night for us in the regular series points, but I’ve really been wanting to get one of these $10,000-to-win shows this season,” Welshan said. “We’ve been close, but can’t quite seem to get it done. I don’t know if that’s selfish or not. I guess you can say I’m happy tonight, but not satisfied. This points deal is tight again, and it’s possible for us to win it. One thing I can tell you is. that we won’t quit.”

Welshan and Whitener elicited a response from fans with their dramatic early battle, and it set the stage for an entertaining event. Welshan also raced door to door with Robinson as the race passed its middle stages, giving him additional respect for both competitors.

“Every time we race against Mark [Whitener], I feel like we get a little better ourselves because he’s so good driving these crate Late Model cars,” Welshan said. “I really respect that about him, and I’ve enjoyed racing against him. When the race was red-flagged on lap 17 [for an injured fan struck by debris in the backstretch grandstands], I couldn’t get my right-rear tire to fire off on the restart, and pretty much had to play defense from lap 25 until lap 30. [B.J.] Robinson was right there on me, and he could have dumped me because I was out there struggling and basically just points racing. He didn’t, and you have to respect a guy who races like that.”

Troubles for Thomas
The points have been an often-torrid, back-and-forth affair all season, and tightened once again for the stretch run with four points-paying events remaining on the slate. The annual Drydene World Short Track Championships slated Oct. 28-30 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte will be co-sanctioned by Crate Racin’ USA in collaboration with the World Racing Group’s DirtCar Racing organization, but it will not award points toward the Crate Racin’ USA regular touring series championship.

Jimmy Thomas entered the weekend with a 70-point edge over Welshan, but contact with an infield tractor tire sent him to the pits with heavy front-end damage, and resulted in a 23rd-place finish. Welshan cut the deficit to 28 points [1,450-1,422] with his second-place performance. Jake Knowles is 38 points behind [1,412] and sits solidly in third place, while Rookie of the Year points leader Tanner Collins resides in fourth place, just 76 points behind Thomas and still holding a shot at the overall championship.

Sponsors and Schedules
Whitener drove to the winner’s circle in a Barry Wright Race Cars-built Icon outfitted with a motor handled by Vic Hill Race Engines. The car carried sponsorship from Boswell Oil, P&S Transportation, Mosely Ranch Timber, Michael Moore Construction and Roofing, Edward Jones Investments, Baker Farms, ML Motorsports, Ocala Restaurant Supply, Massey Towing & Recovery, VP Fuels, Bilstein Shocks and Topnotch Kustom Koncepts.

The touring circuit’s road caravan will now point toward Ellisville, Fla., where the Powell Family Memorial will take place Oct. 21-23 at All-Tech Raceway and pay $26,000 to the winner of what has become one of Florida’s biggest dirt track stock car racing events.

Thursday evening will feature an open practice session, while qualifying and heat races are scheduled for Friday night. B-mains and the 60-lap feature is scheduled for Saturday. The touring series previously appeared at the facility on May 29, and Joseph Joiner of Milton, Fla., was the winner. Whitener, who lives approximately 30 minutes away from the half-mile oval, is the defending champion and multitime winner of the Powell Family Memorial.

Battle of Boothill: 1. Mark Whitener, 2. Jason Welshan, 3. B.J. Robinson, 4. Tyler Stevens, 5. Jake Knowles, 6. Kevin Sitton, 7. Corey Neil Jr., 8. Robbie Starnes, 9. Jamie Burford, 10. Rob Litton, 11. Tony Lindsey, 12. Tracy Denby Jr., 13. Garrett Gibson, 14. Clayton Stuckey, 15. Tanner Collins, 16. David Winslett, 17. Tim Eaves, 18. Tim Eaves Jr., 19. Garren Lindsey, 20. Jeff Chanler, 21. Brandon Ball, 22. Rhett Starnes, 23. Jimmy Thomas, 24. Brad Couch.

Crate Racin’ USA Dirt Late Model Series (current points): 1. Jimmy Thomas, 1,450 points; 2. Jason Welshan, 1,422; 3. Jake Knowles, 1,412; 4. Tanner Collins, 1,374; 5. Mike Combs, 1,108; 6. Troy Dixon, 1,032; 7. Colton Leyendecker, 563; 8. Matt Henderson, 525; 9. Jadon Frame, 524; 10. Mark Whitener, 442; 11. T.J. Brittain, 440; 12. Jake Rainey, 402; 13. Austin Horton, 340; 14. Jimmy Elliott, 334; 15. Brad Skinner, 322; 16. Wil Herrington, 320; 17. Monte Skinner, 296; 18. Christian Hanger, 281; 19. Sterling Freeman, 271; 20. Trynt Lloyd, 262.

E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge (current points): 1. Mark Whitener, 460 points; 2. Jason Welshan, 416; 3. Jake Knowles, 380; 4. Cody Overton, 290; 5. Wil Herrington, 290; 6. Trynt Lloyd, 272; 7. Jimmy Thomas, 246; 8. Tanner Collins, 210; 9. Jake Rainey, 207; 10. Pearson Lee Williams, 206; 11. Kyle Bronson, 196; 12. Walker Arthur, 192; 13. Cory Hedgecock, 188; 14. Joseph Joiner, 182; 15. Dylan Knowles, 177; 16. Russell Brown Jr., 164; 17. Carson Ferguson, 160; 18. Garrett Mosley, 156; 19. Johnny Collins, 142; 20. John Baker, 140.

Total entries: 27
Boyd-Bilt Fabrication Fast Qualifier: Mark Whitener, 15.433 seconds
Lap leaders: Jason Welshan 1, Mark Whitener 2-40.
Margin of victory: 1.313 seconds
Cautions: 6
KRC Power Steering Heat winners: Mark Whitener, Jason Welshan, B.J. Robinson.
KRC Power Steering B-main winner: Tanner Collins.

About Crate Racin’ USA
The economical Chevrolet Performance 602 and 604 Circle Track Engine is utilized by competitors in the various divisions presented by Crate Racin’ USA. It’s in stock and available for free, next-day delivery from Newsome Raceway Parts in Hartsville, S.C.

Each engine is built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications. To place an order, call 1-877-497-3624.

For more information and rules, visit the organization’s website at www.crateracinusa.com, or follow our extensive social media programs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Newsome Raceway Parts, a division of Raceway Chevrolet in Hartsville, S.C., is the title sponsor of Crate Racin’ USA. E-Z-GO Golf Carts is the title sponsor of the newly-established E-Z-GO $100,000+ Challenge.

Chevrolet Performance is an official sponsor of the organization, along with Advanced Laser & Machine, Cruise with the Champions, Hoosier Racing Tire, KRC Power Steering, Knowles Race Parts and Bodies, My Race Pass, VP Racing Fuels and Lubricants and Willy’s Carburetors.

Official chassis sponsors include Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis and CVR Race Cars.