Jake Ruggles and Brian Sutphin have been credited with victories from Sunday night’s Limited Sportsman race at Motor Mile Speedway following disqualifications of Scott Lancaster, Karl Budzevski, Travis Hurt, Ryan Repko and Julia Landauer.
Budzevski had won the first race with Lancaster winning the second race. Lancaster, who won the Limited Sportsman championship at Motor Mile Speedway in 2014, was stripped of his win due to a cylinder head infraction. The other drivers were stripped of their wins for using aftermarket piston rings.
Karl Budzevski and Scott Lancaster both spoke in-depth with RACE22.com about their disqualifications. Budzevski’s disqualifications are his second and third of the season. He was disqualified on June 13th. His disqualification from Sunday’s race strips him of his lone victory of the season.
“We all got tossed for piston rings. [Julia Landauer] is not aware because she don’t work on her cars. They’re not going to come out with an official decision because somebody appealed it. It will be at least tomorrow evening. As far as I’m aware, the engine builders are all aware of what’s going on. Between tracks, the policing is just different how they handle it.”
Budzevski called the disqualification a huge setback, not just in terms of points (if the disqualification stands) but because of the cost it will take to put the engine back together.
“Problem is now, we have our motors that are torn literally all the way down,” Budzevski explained. “They’re basically a short block. The points situation, there is no such thing for me anymore. When I came back this race, I was done after the last one. I came back and it’s ironic that you put redemption in that article because that’s what it’s about. I wanted to show them I could run against the people with all that money. This disqualification, it helped to see everybody else get disqualified.”
Budzevski says he does not envision himself returning to Motor Mile Speedway. Lancaster echoed those sentiments, saying he also would not return to Motor Mile.
“It was a cylinder head infraction that they didn’t like the looks of the casting on the ports,” Lancaster explained. “The factory casts, they didn’t like it. My cast number, I was told yesterday, if I could come up with a cast number the same as my cast number, that he would take a look at it and compare the two I went on the internet, used social media, put it out there that I was looking for this. I had a lot of feedback but no one had the cast number. One of our buddies in Mooresville, he had a buddy who had this cast number on a head.”
Once they found the cast number, Lancaster said a sponsor drove to Mooresville, North Carolina to buy a set of heads.
“So my sponsor went down this morning, as a favor to me, to get this head,” Lancaster continued. “The guy would only sell him a set of heads, would not sell him just that head. My sponsor went down, bought the set of heads and brought them back. One of the heads was the same cast number. My brother and I went to the track, met the sponsor and Randy Merriman. Randy inspected that cast number and it was the same as my head that was raced Sunday night. Both appeared the same, were measured the same but track officials did not like what they saw. They said it did not match any of the other heads that were there Sunday night.”
Lancaster was frustrated with the entire process which eventually resulted in his disqualification. He also said he was frustrated with the Motor Mile Speedway tech officials.
“There have been numerous trips back and forth from our race shop to Motor Mile Speedway by the track officials inspecting different parts. It’s been a long procedure and it sucks. If you’re going to race at Motor Mile, you better buy a sealed crate motor when your motor needs to be freshened. It sucks because you’ve got the best engine builders in the North Carolina Virginia area. They’re building the motor back like it came from the factory but because they put one different part in because it’s cheaper to the consumer, I mean come on man. It’s not the engine builder’s fault at all.”
The next race at Motor Mile, the way they’re doing the tech now, if there are three new winners and they get torn down, you’ll see three more people get disqualified.
Motor Mile Speedway’s general manager, Randy Merriman, went to Lancaster’s shop and looked at both the right and left heads. According to Lancaster, there would have been no problems if they had taken the left side head off instead of the right side head during tech.
“When Randy came to our shop today, he wanted to look at the cylinder head,” Lancaster remarked. “We had a choice that night to take the left side or the right side head off because it was easier to take off. We took the right side off. If we had taken the left side head off, it would have been no problem. When he came to our shop today, he looked at the left and the left was fine. If we would have taken that off at the racetrack, there would have been no questions.”
Lancaster, who also said he would not be returning to Motor Mile Speedway, said he expects more disqualifications throughout the remainder of the 2015 season.
“The next race at Motor Mile, the way they’re doing the tech now, if there are three new winners and they get torn down, you’ll see three more people get disqualified.”
Ryan Repko confirmed to RACE22.com on Monday evening that he had been disqualified. RACE22.com also spoke with Julia Landauer on Monday afternoon.
“I’m not at liberty to talk about it right now,” Julia Landauer said when asked about her apparent disqualification on Monday. “There are still discussions going on. I haven’t gotten a call from Motor Mile. I’m also hearing the rumors you are. Nothing’s official yet. Until we get official word, it’s not fair to comment on rumors.”
RACE22.com has since followed up with Landauer who was not able to discuss the incident on Tuesday evening. She drives for Lee Pulliam Performance. RACE22.com reached out to Lee Pulliam who said he had no comment on the situation.
Disqualifications are nothing new at the Motor Mile Speedway tech shed. Multiple drivers, including former division champion Preston McGhee, were disqualified last year. In fact, the winners of the first two Limited Sportsman races at Motor Mile Speedway were disqualified. Jackie Lawson, who is a tech official at Motor Mile, also took his talents for finding technical infractions to Southern National Motorsports Park where the tech shed played a major role in the outcome of that track’s Limited Late Model championship in 2014.
While victory turned to defeat for Budzevski and Lancaster, defeat turned into triumph for Jake Ruggles and Brian Sutphin. Both drivers are now credited with their first career Late Model victories.
“It’s awesome,” 14-year-old Jake Ruggles said. We practiced on Friday. We ran pretty decent times. I didn’t know what to expect. I thought we did pretty good, about mid-pack with that field. That first race, I worked my way up through and stayed out of trouble. We ended up finishing fifth. Second race, we got to the lead, battled the second place car pretty hard for 12 laps and got wrecked. Unfortunate luck. It feels awesome to win though. It’s been a while since I won my last race back in 2012.”
Sutphin’s win was also his first in a Late Model and his first win of any kind in several years.
“It’s unfortunate for them but it’s good for us,” Sutphin remarked. “I hate that they got disqualified over it. A win’s a win. It means a lot to all of us. Your first one’s the most special one. I wish we would’ve out run them on the track but you’ve got to get through tech too. We’re tickled with it. Hopefully we can build momentum from this.”
RACE22.com has reached out to Motor Mile Speedway’s Randy Merriman and JW Martin for comment. Merriman said he was not at liberty to comment on the situation and does not do interviews. Martin has not returned RACE22.com’s request for comment.