Mark Wertz Takes Victory In Chaotic Overtime Finish At Carteret County Speedway

Mark Wertz Takes Victory In Chaotic Overtime Finish At Carteret County Speedway

by November 4, 2019 0 comments

PELETIER, N.C. – Veteran racer Mark Wertz saved his best for last, surging from third to first in the final lap of a chaotic Late Model race to score the victory at Carteret County Speedway on Saturday night.

Wertz was running in the fourth position in the closing laps of the race, which had been dominated by Chris Burns when a late-race caution set up a two-lap shootout.  Coming to the white flag, Brandon Clements was able to muscle his way past Burns and then Burns and Boo Boo Dalton tangled in turn one, as the caution came out to set up an overtime finish.

Because the caution was called for a separate incident, Burns retained the lead position, where he had been running at the last officially scored lap.  Wertz, who restarted third on the final overtime attempt, was able to get past Dalton, Clements, and Burns on the last lap of the race – making the pass on Burns in the final corner.  The win came in Wertz’s first start at Carteret County Speedway.

“Sometimes the fastest car doesn’t always win,” Wertz, 50, from Chesapeake, Virginia, said.  “The saddest part is, the car is a whole lot better than I am.  I needed a race here.  As the race went on, I started realizing more and more what I had to do.  We got that long run there and I was slowly creeping up on Boo Boo.  Stuff happens.  I hate to see it for these guys who run here every week, but we came here to race, and I got to capitalize and, thank God we did it.  That four-and-a-half-hour ride’s worthwhile now.”

Wertz is a two-time Late Model champion at Langley Speedway in Virginia, a track which Carteret shares many characteristics with, and he had the help of three-time Carteret County Speedway winner Connor Hall.  Chris Burns ended up finishing second while Brandon Clements, Tyler Horne, and Boo Boo Dalton rounded out the top-five.

Burns may not have won the battle, but the 27-year-old from Swansboro, North Carolina, went on to win the war, clinching his second Late Model track championship.

“We had a pretty good car in the race, we just didn’t need to see that caution on lap 74, but it is what it is,” Burns said.  “We’ll move on to the next one.  Overall, it’s been a pretty good year for us.  Overall, we only had one race where we didn’t finish.  The car’s just been really good this year and we’ve been able to put a lot of solid runs together.  Tonight, I felt like we had a car to win, but it’s racing.”

Burns had clinched the championship by taking the green flag in Saturday’s race.  His championship was confirmed in postrace technical inspection.

Sanders goes back-to-back

Stephen Sanders scored his second consecutive track championship with a win in the first Battlefield Tire Pros Mini-Stock duel and a runner-up finish in the second.

The 29-year-old from Midway, North Carolina took the lead early in the first race and drove away from Zac Reimer and Michael Rouse.  His main championship rival, Kris Hetu, had finished sixth, which allowed Sanders to open a 12-point advantage on Hetu.  All Sanders had to do in the second race was finish in the top-10 and he would secure the championship.

“This championship right here’s for Bobby Watson,” Sanders said.  “If it wasn’t for Bobby, I wouldn’t be racing here the past couple years and I’d like to thank Bob [Lowery] for carrying on this tradition.  It feels great to be a two-time champion and we’re going to come back and get a third one next year.”

15-year-old Luke Smith, from Advance, North Carolina, went on to win the second Mini-Stock duel in what was only his second feature race start at Carteret County Speedway.  Smith came to prepare for the $2,000-to-win Carolina Mini-Stock Nationals, which will be held at Carteret on Saturday, November 16th.

Lamothe victorious in frenzied Legends feature

Jordan Lamothe clinched the Legends championship in style, with a victory in Saturday’s feature race.

Tucker Jones had started on the pole and led the race’s first 10 laps before spinning around off the front bumper of Brenton Irving’s car.  On the ensuing restart, Lamothe got a jump on Brian Sullivan to take the lead.  From there, he never looked back as he went on to score the win.

“Thank you to all the fans and to Carteret County Speedway and all the staff,” Lamothe said.  “I didn’t think I had the car to win that race, but I guess luck was on our side a little bit.  I knew I jumped the start, that was my fault.  That’s alright.”

Tucker Jones was able to rebound from his earlier incident to finish second, his best career finish at Carteret County Speedway to date.

“We had a good car until we got into it,” Jones remarked.  “I’m happy to get second and work my way back through the field.  That’s good.  Better than finishing last after that.”

Aaron Crumpler finished in third while Shane Irving and Joel Carlyle rounded out the top-five.

Champions crowned at Carteret County

Sean Wales won the race and the championship in a wild Champ Kart feature race.

J.R. Taylor had been leading over Wales until the race’s 18th lap when Taylor was tangled up with a lapped car.  Wales inherited the lead and held off a last-lap challenge from B.J. Thompson.

“That was a good race,” Wales said.  “I appreciate everyone coming out.  That was awesome.  I think everybody wanted to win this race.  There was a lot of money up.  That was a good one.”

Andrew Jackson appeared to have to win in hand in the U-CAR division, holding Steve Sullivan at bay.  However, while leading the race, Jackson crashed while trying to pass a lapped car, ending his night.  Sullivan went on to win the race, but Jackson won the championship despite the incident.

Chris Burns won the Sportsman’s Wholesale Street Stock race while Mike Cooper clinched the championship.  Charles Pudenz had already clinched the Mini Cup division championship prior to Saturday’s race which was won by Charles Hassinger.  Caleb Braswell won the Jr. Mini Cup championship while Carmen Odum was victorious in the race.

Greg Butcher scored the Vintage Sportsman win and the overall win in the Southern Ground Pounders Vintage Racing Club feature; Lonnie Parker scored the victory in the Vintage Modified class.

While the division championships have been decided, there is still one more race remaining in 2019 at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway.

On November 16th, Carteret County Speedway will play host to the Carolina Mini-Stock Nationals for the second consecutive year.  The race, which is organized by the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge touring series, pays $2,000 to the winner.  The Coastal Carolina Mini Cup Series will also compete, alongside the Legends and the Mod-4 class.

November 16th will also be Military Appreciation Night at Carteret County Speedway.  Active duty service and retired veterans will receive a $5 discount on general admission tickets for the Carolina Mini-Stock Nationals.

For more information about Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s official website at www.carteretspeedway.com“like” Carteret County Speedway on Facebook or follow @carteretcoswy on Twitter.

Source: Carteret County Speedway

Photo Credit: Eric Creel

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