While RACE22 was started and focuses primarily on the Late Model Stock division, we are all old school racers. If it has wheels and goes fast, we like it. Nothing quenches the thirst of a true race fan like seeing hard working 9-5 racers go at it on the weekends. Nothing epitomizes that more than the Mini-Stock division, the guys that run the least laps, make the least money but more times than not, has the best race of the evening. This weekend at Bowman Gray Stadium the annual 50 lapper for the Stadium Stock (Mini-Stock) division get’s the top billing and it promises to be wild as always.
Usually , the rules to make someone even able to qualify for this event is that they had to run X amount of races leading up to the big race. But with all the rainouts this season, all cars are able to qualify that shows up, that can easily have us seeing over 35 cars trying to make the race’s 24 starting spots. That alone will have the big dogs work cut out for them.
With all cars qualifying, the racing will be some of the best we will see all year as cars that are equal on speed will be staring the race together, no coming from the back through slow traffic on a bad draw. of course that means very little when everyone there wants this trophy more than any of them all season. The favorite for the pole will be the same guy that won the event last year, Brandon Brendle, as he has been the fastest car all season. But luck has not been on his side at all.
Brendle got out of the Hilton Hill owned ride and jumped into the #40 formerly driven by current modified driver Daniel Yates. From the first practice he has been the talk of town, but when race time comes, it’s nothing but heartache so far other than the opening night. “We have the fastest car over here, but with blowing two motors it has been nothing but bad luck. Hopefully we can bounce back this week because we know we have the car to do it” said Brendle.
Of course the two cars behind him in last season’s 50 lapper are the two other favored cars. That would be Chuck Wall and AJ Sanders. These two guys have owned the Mini Stock ranks for many years across the Southeast, not just at the Stadium. After qualifying there is no doubt barring some catastrophe that both drivers will start in the top ten, that leaves the rest of the field with a tall task at hand.
One of those that will rise to the occasion will be Bryan Sykes coming into his Sophomore season, Sykes already has his first win under his belt and sits third in points driving the super fast Mustang that was piloted by Brendle last season. You can put Wesley Thompson right there with him, the veteran has had some bad luck the last few years but is currently leading the points standings.
A host of others have closed the gap with the top three cars. Kevin Hedgecock, Billy Cameron Jr., Andy Southern, Zack Staley, Cody Arrington, Junior Smith, the list goes on and on. This honestly is the most competitive the division has been in many years.
One thing is for sure, while the modifieds will be going to for 100 laps this Saturday, the Stadium Stocks will win in the “ohh and ahhs” category as 50 laps will be the test of the season.