Landon Huffman races to the checkered flag at Hickory Motor Speedway. (Sherri Stearns Photography for Hickory Motor Speedway)

Huffman, Little, Dayton capture wins on Hickory Anniversary Night

It was Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet/Birthday Night at the races, and another installment of the NASCAR Whalen All-American Series was ready to begin with racing slated to start at 7:30. Although, mother nature had to “put in her two cents” as rains would come down on to the racing surface. Not only was whether a threat, a transformer was blown out just down the road and the track had no power at one point in time. Finally, after all that was squared away by around 8:00, it was time to go racing at “America’s Most Famous Short Track”. Moments after the Renegade event, the Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models set their sights on the “green” race track for a 50 lapper for Round 7 in the Paramount Kia “Big 10” Challenge Chase for the Championship.

The lineup was set by points after the rain washed out qualifying, Jeremy Pelfrey and Monty Cox lead the nine-car field to the green flag. Pelfrey gained the lead quickly over Cox, with Mack Little and Dylon Wilson making noise coming from their 7th and 9th place starting positions. On lap 15, Little got to 2nd and began to run down the #51 of Pelfrey, five laps later on lap 21, Little took over the lead with authority.

Without a single caution flag, Mack Little went on to win the Limited Late Model event over Jeremy Pelfrey coming home 2nd and Mitch Walker “The Racing Lawyer” with a 3rd place finish in the Walker Law Offices #29. Little, needless to say, was very pleased with how his #16 handled in the event.

In the post-race interview, Little said” We came and practiced this morning and was pleased with the car, just had to make a few adjustments throughout the day and that was pretty much it”.

Jeremy Pelfrey was pleased but disappointed at the same time with his 2nd place run. Pelfrey was asked of how his race went, his response was, “that’s the story of my life”.

The Hickory Motor Speedway regular has had stellar runs the past few weeks in weekly competition, just not able to “put the pieces together”.

The Bojangles Late Models were previously scheduled to run 100 laps, since only nine shower up, Kevin Piercy and Track Officials decided to shorten the race to 75 laps. Lineup for this race was set by final practice times, putting Kres VanDyke and Ty Gibbs on the front row. VanDyke got to the lead early with Landon Huffman making his way through the field after starting mid-pack. With the field logging laps, Michael Faulk back behind the wheel of the Lee Faulk Racing #5, would spin by himself while running 8th on lap 63, setting up a 12 lap dash to the finish. Landon Huffman had made his way back up to 2nd during that long green flag run would restart on the outside of the front row.

On the restart, which most think it’s impossible, made his way around Kres VanDyke on the outside of the speedway to take the lead away from the National Championship contender. Three laps later, Ty Gibbs and Ryan Millington were on the move and they closed in on Kres VanDyke, the three drivers made contact in Turns 1 and 2, resulting in VanDyke going around, collecting Anderson Motor Speedway regular Neil Meredith in the process. After the second restart, Huffman was able to get back front with Stefan Parsons in tow. Parsons would close in within a car length of Huffman’s back bumper, in the end, Parsons would come up short. Landon Huffman would pull off the win. A very popular win it was for the Claremont, North Carolina driver as it had been since 2015 since he had won a weekly race at Hickory.

When Race22 interviewed Huffman, he spoke of it how fun it was to be back.

Huffman said, “It was fun to come back and race without anything on the line, points wise, just going out to go for a win”.

Huffman also considered it a “tune-up” for the CARS Tour race coming up August 5th. Huffman is excited about the chance to race in front of the hometown crowd with a theme on his car honoring his father, Robert Huffman, in a White House Apple Juice yellow #37, throwing it back to the Goody’s Dash Series days.

The One Design Super Trucks hit to the track next with a 10 truck field for 35 laps. Sheflon Clay and Tyler Dayton would lead the field to the green. Sheflon Clay had been having mechanical troubles the entire day and those problems continued on lap 1 of the event, ending his night early, making a great impact in the points chase in the Super Trucks. On the restart, Allen Huffman would love up a row from 3rd to the pole, Huffman would gain the lead early, however, Tyler Dayton would not go away quietly.

In this “sluggfest” of a Super Truck race, if a driver was not involved in a caution, they were very lucky. Dayton and Huffman would battle the entire race even with the cautions. On the last restart of the race, the young Dayton was able to “shake off” Huffman and pull off the win, with Huffman running 2nd and Joey Shuryan finishing 3rd. Allen Huffman was a little displeased with Tyler Dayton when he was interviewed.

Huffman’s comments were, “He(Dayton) ran into me so hard that he cut a left side tire down and there is no sense in that, but I can’t thank God enough for keeping us safe”. Dayton commented that it was “just racing”.

Tyler Dayton was more frustrated about the amount of cautions during the race being committed by the same drivers.

Dayton said, “It was really frustrating, I was wanting to make laps, and to be honest, I got a little heated on the radio but it all worked out.”

This Saturday night July 22nd at Hickory Motor Speedway, it will be Twin 40s for the Bojangles Late Models, Limited Late Models and other weekly divisions will be on the card at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars”.

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Hunter Weaver

Hunter Weaver