by Brian Neal
Memphis, MO (Friday, October 19, 2018) – Friday night October 19th opened up the Fall Nationals at the Pepsi Scotland County Speedway in Memphis, Missouri. Even though it was a late October night, the weather for this time of year wasn’t too bad to bare. That showed as 148 cars signed in for night one of racing. At the end of the evening Jeff Aikey (Modifieds), Cayden Carter (Stock Cars), Colton Livezey (SportMods), Mike Hughes (Hobby Stocks), and Trent Orwig (Sport Compacts) found their ways to victory lane.
After 16 heat races and 6 B-Mains were ran to help set up the feature line-ups, it was time to go feature racing.
The 15-lap Hobby Stock feature was up first, with Mike Hughes and Christian Huffman drawing the front row. After three caution flag restarts in the first eight laps, Hughes was out front with Huffman working to hold back Shawn Ritter for the runner up spot.
Disaster would strike three of the top six cars on lap 10, as Nick Ulin, who was battling Huffman for third, lost a left rear tire in turn 4 and collected Huffman. Then Dustin Griffiths, who was running 6th, clipped the two cars and ended up upside down in turn 4 to bring out the red. Griffiths would climb from his car okay.
On the restart Hughes moved back out front, with Ritter and Matt Petrezelka, who started 9th, following close behind. Despite several challenges from Ritter over the final 4 laps, Hughes was able to hold on to pick up the win. Ritter was 2nd, Petrezelka was 3rd, Scott Shull started 10th and finished 4th, with John Irwin coming home in 5th.
Up next was the 15-lap Sport Compact feature, with Trent Orwig and Luke Benischek leading the field to the drop of the green flag. Orwig took advantage of his starting spot to grab the lead on lap 1 over Benischek and Jake Dietrich. While Orwig set the pace out front, Josh Barnes, who started 10th, was quickly working his way towards the front. and would edge out Orwig at the line to lead lap 5. Barnes looked like he was going to cruise to an easy win, until mechanical troubles slowed him on lap 11. This would hand the lead over to Orwig, who was working to hold off Barry Taft, who started 7th. Taft pulled off on lap 13 with motor troubles, allowing Orwig to go on to claim the win. Kimberly Abbott was 2nd, Chuck Fullenkamp was 3rd, Benischek was 4th, with Dietrich rounding out the top 5.
Brayton Carter and Colton Livezey drew the front row for the 20-lap SportMod feature, with Carter grabbing the lead on lap 1 over Andrew Schroeder and Livezey. Carter was able to hold the top spot until lap 7, when Livezey made the bottom work to edge out Carter at the line. One lap later, lap 8, Kiel Morton spun in turn 4 and collected Cody Agee to bring out the first yellow of the race.
On the restart Livezey jumped back out front, with Schroeder overtaking Carter for second. While Livezey set the pace out front, Curtis Van Der Wal, who started 8th, worked his way into the runner up spot on lap 10.
The top three started to pull away from the rest of the field, when the second caution appeared on lap 17. Jarrett VanDenBerg would drop a driveshaft in turn 4 to bring out the yellow. On the restart the field tried to raced three and four wide off turn 2 and ran out of room, which caused Brandon Savage and Daniel Fellows to go spinning down the backstretch to bring the yellow light back on.
The following restart saw Livezey move back out front, with Van Der Wal and Carter battling for second. As they battled for second Livezey held on to pick up the win and the $1,000 check to go with it. Carter won the battle for 2nd, Van Der Wal was 3rd, Hunter Longnecker came from 11th to finish in 4th, with Brandon Dale charging to a 5th place finish after starting in 18th.
Up next was the 22-lap Stock Car feature, with Todd Reitzler and Jeff Mueller scheduled to lead the field to green. But troubles after Mueller’s heat race would cause him to go to the rear of the field, which moved Michael Peterson to the outside of the front row.
Reitzler used his front row starting spot to his advantage, as he jumped out front to lead lap 1 over Peterson and Cayden Carter. The action was slowed for the first and only time on lap 3, as contact from Jason See sent John Oliver Jr. spinning in turn 2 to bring out the yellow.
On the restart Reitzler moved back out front, with Brett Lowry and Carter following close behind. Reitzler who was working the top, Lowry the middle, and Carter the bottom, raced three wide for the top spot over the next 5 laps, with Reitzler holding the lead at the line each lap. That was until lap 10 when Carter was able to wrestle the top spot away.
Carter then started to pull away from the field, when he started to enter lapped traffic on lap 15. This would allow Reitzler to close back in on him. But Carter was able to hold on to claim the win and the $1,000 top prize. Reitzler was 2nd, Lowry was 3rd, Abe Huls charged from 17th to finish in 4th, with Johnny Spaw finishing 5th after starting in 11th.
The final feature to take to the track on the night was the 25-lap Modifieds, with Robbie Reed and Michael Long leading the field to green. Long took advantage of his draw to grab the lead on lap 1 over Reed and Kelly Meyer. While Long set the pace out front, Cayden Carter, who started 12th, was quickly charging towards the front.
On lap 10 Carter would work himself into third. Then just after the lap was scored complete, the first caution of the race appeared. Chad Melton, who made the long pull up from Mineral Wells, Texas, slowed to a stop in turn 3 to bring out the yellow.
On the restart Long jumped back out front, with Carter overtaking Kyle Brown for second. Carter then went to work on Long for the lead, when he lost the handle and spun in turn 4 on lap 13 to bring out the final caution of the race.
Long once again grabbed the lead on the restart, with Jeff Aikey, who started 10th, slipping past Brown for the runner up spot. Aikey would use the bottom of the track to slip past Long for the lead on lap 18. Long would stay in Aikey’s tire tracks over the next 4 laps, as the two entered heavy lapped traffic on lap 23.
Coming off turn 4 to get the checkered flag, Long would look under Aikey for the win. But Aikey was able to hold off Long to pick up the $1,000 check. Long was 2nd, Zack VanderBeek came from 9th to finish 3rd, Brown was 4th, with Reed holding on for 5th.