Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]

Altamahaw, NC(June 9, 2011) — Another race night at Ace Speedway, another rivalry born.

The bullring in Altamahaw NC has had It’s share of drivers with dislikes for one another the past few years, from Dustin Rumley vs. Rodney Cook, Speedy Faucette vs. Cook, Dean Fogleman vs. Ryan Wilson and even Barry Beggarly having a spat last season with Brad Kurth. Rumley would once again be in the limelight again, this time with a new rival in Jeb Burton. With Burton being the fourth different winner in four races he may have won the battle this week, but Rumley vows to win the war.

Burton would make the final laps to be remembered for some time, but a lot of great racing preceded the finish on this night. Another large field boasting 20 cars took to the track with Rumley picking up the pole over Burton, Cook, Beggarly and Matt Bowling. Thomas Scott would cook his motor in practice and not take time but left to fetch the backup car of Rumley to start and get points, a very sportsman like gesture from Rumley.

The race begins with the top three being inverted but Rumley quickly let’s everyone know that he has the car to beat as he pushes Rodney Cook around the track until he takes the lead back on lap five. Beggarly takes advantage of the hole that Rumley leaves and sticks it inside of Cook as the two race side by side for nearly five laps before Beggarly moves ahead bringing Burton with him and knocking Cook back to fourth. Cook is usually one of the cars to beat but brake problems from the get go would spoil any chances he had of victory on this night.

After a caution by the spinning car of Elliott Jewell slows down the action on lap 13, the race gets absolutely crazy for the next ten or so laps. Caution after caution in the back of the pack with the leaders beating off one another up front as the crowd comes to It’s feet. With the cone “choose” restart it was exciting each time after caution with Beggarly taking to the outside for three cautions in a row, amazing none of them worked out for him as they usually do. The last time proved to be the kicker for him though as he and Rumley make contact going into turn one with Beggarly going high and getting into the wall doing considerable damage to the rear of his black #82 machine. Under caution at lap 18 Beggarly pulls up beside Rumley under caution and let’s him know what he thinks about the move, undoubtedly the most animated anyone has seen Beggarly in many years.

The next restart puts on another show as Rumley gets away with Cook and Beggarly racing each other hard, really hard looking like it was the last lap and they were going for the win. Beggarly finally slides it sideways off turn two very high and slides down in front to take the position and begin chase after Rumley who was leaving the field each time after caution. It was at this point where Jeb Burton began to show his strength as he began picking cars off in a hurry getting to Cook and passing on lap 26 to move into third.

That lap also sees or first red flag of the night at the racing behind the leaders is some of the wildest you’ll ever see. That was the trend of the night, the top two would race hard much of the event, third and fourth were relatively clean, then 5th through 17th were on top of each other, sometimes three-wide all the way around the track with cars going everywhere. This time it was Matt Bowling going into turn three very deep and getting into the side of Scotty Warren turning him around. Dean Fogleman would go hard into Bowling as Warren drives away with the cars of Fogleman and Bowling getting stuck together and not being able to move. This allows the crews to run to the wall and voice their displeasure with one another, obviously the Fogleman crew was not happy with Bowling from an earlier incident and let it clearly be known.

Burton will take to the outside for the restart and move past Cook into second, but not before Rumley checks out once more. Beggarly pushes high in turn four and moves all the way back to fourth into the clutches of Scotty Warren who had just barely made it through the last caution. We get to lap 33 with some good clean racing when Warren tries the outside of Beggarly but suddenly goes high and nearly comes to a stop off of turn two, a broken hub ending his night and unknowing to him, a few others also. John Moore would come up right behind with nowhere to go and has to turn dead left to keep from pile-driving Warren off the corner taking Dean Fogleman and Tripp Massengill with him into the inside wall. Moore would be done but Fogleman would soldier on, he along with Brad Kurth had cars at this point that looked as if they had been in a demolition derby.

The lap 34 restart sees Jason York take the outside of Rumley, and to everyone’s amazement, he takes the lead. The Rumley machine had been so strong all night, it looked as if no one could run with him but York made it stick to move out front…….but it was short lived. Rumley would muscle by just two laps later bringing Burton with him as Burton and York bang as they pass, leaving the crowd wondering what might happen as York was not pleased with Burton the last time they raced and vowed to “Show him how to drive around Ace sideways”. The did manage to “play pretty” on this night but in the future it could be different as racers never forget.

As the race wears on it becomes clear who the two cars to settle the race will be, Rumley and Burton. The two would leave the field nearly a straightaway behind and were putting the lapped and damaged cars down laps easily, that is until lap 53. Rumley approaches the heavily damaged car of Brad Kurth off turn two and goes under him to lap him as he had done numerous times already, but Kurth turns down into Rumley running him down into the inside wall as Burton makes a three wide move to take the lead. Rumley comes out of the corner fine and gets right up behind Burton, mad, as he knows he has the car to beat.

Lap after lap Rumley hounds the rear of the Burton machine as the two get sideways numerous times, it was obvious that these two were holding nothing back, all the while York is lurking closer each and every lap in third. The leaders approach the lapped car of Tony Keen on lap 67, just eight laps form the end and Burton goes low to pass with Rumley going to the outside of Keen to make another three wide pass for the lead to take the top spot back. The move would bring many ohhhs and ahhhhs from the crowd but most importantly it seemed to light a fire under Burton.

Rumley seemed to have it in the bag, under five laps to go and he had three cars over Burton but the South Boston native was not finished yet. He inched closer each lap, slip a little then get close again. People start to come to their feet again as he moves in, it didn’t look possible at first but now there is a chance he may get to him. They come to the white flag and Burton slips off turn four and looks like his chances are done but he somehow doesn’t loose ground and is at Rumley’s bumper once again as the enter turn one. They race down the backstretch with Rumley ahead by a car, they dive into turn three as Burton goes low under Rumley, contact is made and around Rumley goes in a cloud of smoke.

Burton would pick up the win just barely beating York back to the line but this ordeal was far from over. As Burton was taking his victory lap we all wondered where Rumley was, he was still in turn three as he could not get his car fired but finally does and simply heads down pit road. We thought for sure something was going to happen, and it was, Rumley just doesn’t use his car to express it.

Victory lane was abuzz with people, the Burton clan had brought many with them and the fans voicing displeasure from the fence was very obvious also. In all the chaos here comes Rumley quickly to victory lane as he tries to snake his way though the crowd to get to Burton but is stopped just short by track officials as he tells them he just wants to “talk to him”. Burton exits his car and has to be restrained also as tempers flare and each team vows to play as rough as they want. Mark Rumley and former Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, fathers of the two youngsters were even involved in a long discussion pointing fingers, it was a tense scene to say the least.

In the end it was Burton collecting his first ever Late Model victory in thrilling fashion in what turned out to be one of the best Late Model races of the year to date. But, does it have It’s consequences? Rumley vows that is does, Burton says he doesn’t care, either way it turns out to be a great blessing for the fans and track alike, rivalries always makes great racing and nothing sells like controversy. When the Late Models return in two weeks it should be rather interesting.

1. Jeb Burton
2. Jason York
3. Rodney Cook
4. Barry Beggarly
5. Robert Turner
6. Matt Bowling
7. Bobby Griffin
8. Dustin Rumley
9. Cole Apple
10. Mike Chambers
11. Tony Keen
12. Coy Hedrick
13. Dean Fogleman
14. Brad Kurth
15. Jason Payne
16. Scotty Warren
17. John Moore
18. Tripp Massengill
19. Elliott Jewell
20. Thomas Scott