Commentary by: Chris Owens/Contributor to

Lucama, NC(November 26th, 2012) — Following yesterday’s Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National, I’ve taken it upon myself to go back and highlight some of the noteworthy items that happened.  So let’s take a look and see how I saw things from behind the keyboard of the LIVE Coverage.


It was great to be back at Southern National this weekend, for the first Thanksgiving Classic under Michael Diaz and his staff.  Did things go smoothly?  No, but that’s to be expected with a staff that’s doing this for the first time.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store this time next year as they learn from their mistakes this year and apply fixes to them for next year.


Because the track ran late on Saturday night, the staff decided to move the fireworks show that was schedule on Saturday night to Sunday.  I’m fine and cool with that, but let’s lolly gag around all day just so we can shoot off fireworks at the end of the day that turned into night.  I’m cool with having an autograph session for the fans and all, but that should have been done before the Super Late Model race ran, so we could keep things on schedule.


I was doing our LIVE coverage from the track yesterday, and it surprised me to see so many people send comments in on how Southern National was a single file track.  I just have one question for those people, have you ever been to Southern National?  The racing I saw and described on the coverage was beyond single file racing.  Guys battled for position for numerous laps running side by side.  Heck, I can recall at least twice where guys took it three wide for a lap or two.  To say that Southern National is single file racing is blasphemy, and you certainly have no idea what you’re talking about.


After three cars went home on Saturday night, we ended up not needing to run the Last Chance race.  My question is why did we still run it? The nine cars that started the feature sure as heck didn’t need another fifty lap practice session.  They probably didn’t need to burn a set of tires to put on a “show” for the fans.  Why couldn’t we have done away with it? It’s not like anything happened in it, guys got single file and rode for fifty laps.


The biggest story out of Southern National has to be Deac McCaskill and Lee Pulliam getting taken out by a lapped car.  Neither driver was too happy about it, but the excuse that Austin Self gave had to upset everybody in the pit area.  Our own Corey Latham talked to Self, who told him “I didn’t have a spotter.” Um, I’m no genius or anything, but if you didn’t have a spotter, why were you still on the race track?  We wrecked two race cars over careless decisions by a driver, which should have never happened.


Getting the call on Thursday to come race on Sunday was not what Blake Jones was expecting this week.  After David Garbo came down with the Flu, Jones rushed to Kenly, NC on Friday to jump in the car.  Suffering from all sorts of problems Friday and Saturday, Jones would have to run the Last Chance race on Sunday afternoon.  Well, things got worse as he would blow the motor just past halfway in that race.  The crew worked feverishly to change motors and Jones started thirty fifth, shotgun on the field.  By the halfway break he was already up to the twelfth position.  After some late race accidents Jones crossed the line to come home second.  Just your average Sunday drive, don’t you think?


For several years now, Greg Edwards has run most of the big races at the end of the season.  And for years, he’s come home with a less than stellar finish.  Things changed on Sunday as Edwards was finally able to take the checkered flag ahead of everybody else to win at Southern National.  We’ve seen him have good runs at Myrtle Beach the last couple of years, leading the race only to have something break on his car.  I’m sure Edwards is finally happy to pick up a big race win and get that monkey off his back.


Where did Mike Darne come from this last half of the year?  Things started out strong at Martinsville. Darne had a chance to take home the grandfather clock, but things didn’t fall his way.  Now on Sunday, Darne led the field to the green flag and led a majority of the first half of the race.  When race leaders McCaskill and Pulliam wrecked, that moved Darne up into prime position to take the win, but things wouldn’t fall his way.  After an accident involving Brandon Brown, Darne would run out of fuel and request assistance back to the pits.  Once he got the car re-fired, he rejoined the race, out of the top ten.  Had Mike Darne not run out of fuel, we could be talking about a different outcome today.


Yesterday, we rode around under caution for what had to be twenty or thirty laps because several drivers wouldn’t follow instructions from Lynn Carroll.  One instance was when Brandon Brown was asked to clean his front fender when it was dangling from the car.  So what does Brown do?  He takes it upon himself to run his car into the wall and wall ride for nearly two laps.   NASCAR should have black flagged him and sent him to the pits.  If you can ask Matt Bowling to pit and clean the front of his car, you sure as heck can get Brandon Brown to do the same thing.  Now I know that Brown is the son of Jerry Brown, one of the track owners, but that doesn’t matter.  You can’t play favoritism just because his father owns the track.  It’s not fair to the track and it’s not fair to the other thirty four guys running the race.


Following yesterday’s race, I can certainly tell you I wish there was another Late Model Stock Car race to attend, but that’s not the case.  Now we move into the three month off season and look back on 2012 and all the different things that happened.  But, 2013 will soon be here, and RACE22 will be bringing you LIVE Coverage of the Battle at the Beach in Daytona Beach, FL.  Then it looks like things are quickly going to snowball from there as several tracks will open their season within four weeks of the Battle at the Beach.  From Southern National, to Kingsport, Myrtle Beach, South Boston and Hickory, there’s one thing you can count on, and that’s RACE22 will be at just able every race in March.  So stick around to the website, I’m sure will have all the breaking news over the off season before anyone else!