Ryan Repko and Brian Vause made the most of their first trip to Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, NC with each picking up wins on the first of two days of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing on the high-banked 4/10 mile speed plant.

Repko dominated practiced and then barely missed winning the pole by 0.015 seconds to Southern National Motorsports Park regular Bradley McCaskill. Neither driver would lead the most laps in the first race as Wes Burton, who qualified third made his move early and drove away from McCaskill who was quickly under fire from Repko.

Bradley McCaskill (18) and Ryan Repko (71) lead the field down for the start of the first twin race at Southern National Motorsports Park on August 17, 2019. (Kimberly Austin photo)

As this was happening things were about to go sour for a couple of championship contenders. Ross “BooBoo” Dalton was put to the rear on lap nine after Melvin Langley went for a spin. Dalton came into the weekend as the track points leader but the penalty with such a huge field hurt his chances of staying there. Dalton said after the race that he didn’t think he’d even touched Langley.

Philip Morris, who came into the weekend tied for the lead in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National points with Peyton Sellers, also had a bit of misfortune after the caution came out. Morris headed down pit road while his left rear tire headed down the front straightaway without him.

Morris explained after the race how that happened.

“We just missed it with a torque wrench,” Morris told RACE22. “A lot going on here today. We’re kind of out of our element when we’re here.”

While all this was going on for the point leaders, Burton, who was making just his second start of the season and his first at Southern National drove away early but couldn’t shake Repko at the end of the race. Repko caught him with ten laps to go and used the chrome horn to get by Burton in the closing laps.

Repko drove off to the victory with Burton finishing second just ahead of Brandon Clements, who was making his first start of the season at Southern National.

Repko said that he loves Southern National especially after picking up the win.

“It’s a beautiful race track,” Repko told RACE22 in victory lane. “Just a killer race track and it fits my driving style. We were able to just kind of ride the first half of the race and then fire off with about ten to go and just drive away.”

For Repko, it was his second win in three weeks after winning the Throwback 276 CARS Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway and finishing just inches behind Gage Painter in a 40-lap race at Hickory just a week ago.

For Burton, it was a great run for a guy who doesn’t get to race much.

“Feels good period,” Burton told RACE22. “Only the second time I’ve raced this year, about all I do each year. Gotta relearn to race all the time but solid equipment.”

Limited Late Model driver Clements third-place finish came against the best competition in Late Model Stock Car racing.

“With the caliber of cars here third place, I think is awesome,” Clements told RACE22. “It’s definitely special to run side by side with guys that are National champions like Peyton Sellers and run side by side with Mike Looney is a lot of fun.”

Click here to relive all the action on our RACEDAY LIVE updates from Saturday night.

The top eight finishers were inverted for the start of the second race putting Brian Vause and Chris Chapman on the front row. Track position in this race would matter greatly as Vause used the front row start to put himself in front of the field and he never let it go.

A hard crash on the start of the second of twin Late Model races at Southern National Motorsports Park eliminated several cars and took 31 minutes to clean up. (Kimberly Austin photo)

The start of this race was a disaster as Chapman appeared to miss a shift and stacked up the outside line. It resulted in a huge crash that destroyed the cars of drivers such as Toni Briedinger, Brooke Storrer, Melvin Langley and more. It also took Clements out of contention for the win as his front end had severe damage.

After a 31 minute red flag, racing resumed and that’s when Vause put the rest of the field on notice. He put his car in front of the field and never relinquished the lead despite some strong challenges on the high side by Chapman on later restarts.

Vause held off Bradley McCaskill in the closing laps to pick up his first career win on the high banked track. Vause couldn’t believe it.

“I swear I can’t believe it,” Vause told RACE22. “With this stout competition, we were just coming up here, Steve Zacharias and I just to have a little fun. Kinda see where we stacked up, you know we can’t run Martinsville we don’t have the funds to do it. Just to see where we stacked up and where our package is with the big guys.”

Brian Vause gets picked up as he and his team celebrate his Southern National Motorsports Park win on August 17, 2019. (Kimberly Austin photo)

Vause had a lot of help from fellow Myrtle Beach Speedway competitor Justin Milliken.

“Justin Milliken really helped us out,” Vause continued. “We really didn’t change too much just a little bit of tweak from Myrtle Beach and had to raise it up. With Philip and the whole National title run here and this stout competition at Southern National, to pull off this win is pretty huge for our whole team for sure.”

Bradley McCaskill just couldn’t get to Vause at the end.

“We had a good qualifying effort,” McCaskill told RACE22. “Were a little too free in the day and made some adjustments and definitely went the right way. Maybe overstep it a little but made some notes and going for it tomorrow.”

Peyton Sellers was the only one of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National title contenders to have a podium finish bringing it home in third in the second race.

“Honestly, I’m pleased,” Sellers told RACE22. “We finished fifth in the first race and we made some adjustments and we got up some track position. We were able to hold our own at the end so we were making gains on it. These guys are not easy to come in and beat but we’ve gotta come back tomorrow and make some changes on it again and try it again tomorrow.”

Mike Looney, who came into the weekend 18-points behind Sellers and Morris finished sixth in both races and says if it wasn’t for points he’d be happy with a sixth-place finish at a place he’s never raced at before.

“It’s not no bad night at all,” Looney told RACE22. “It’s a tricky place. I haven’t had the luxury to get to race all over the country. I’d be happy with a sixth-place finish somewhere you’ve never been. It’s not too shabby but it’s just not good enough on this National deal.”

Looney like Sellers plans to make big changes for tomorrow and Morris will be in that camp as well as all three know the importance of getting a win on Sunday.

“Car ran pretty good, just a little bit off,” Morris said. “They threw everything at it, pretty much changed the cross and anything they could to get me some drive off. This place is kinda crazy, not a lot of grip coming out. I think we’ve got something for tomorrow. We were kinda pacing the leader on times but it’s going to take more than that.”

The three NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National title contenders will be back at it tomorrow but they’ve got a long ways to go to put themselves ahead of some of the local drivers and some of the guys who traveled to Lucama, NC this weekend to race with them. Racing is set to start at 3:15pm with RACEDAY LIVE Updates on RACE22.com starting at 2:00pm just before qualifying.

Cover photo by Kimberly Austin.

Race #1 Results:
1 – Ryan Repko #71
2 – Wes Burton #19
3 – Brandon Clements #7
4 – Bradley McCaskill #18
5 – Peyton Sellers #26
6 – Mike Looney #87
7 – Chris Chapman #51
8 – Brian Vause #26
9 – Sam Yarbrough #20
10 – Rusty Daniels #16
11 – Brian Obiedzenski #29
12 – Ross “BooBoo” Dalton #50
13 – Connor Mosack #18
14 – Brooke Storrer #9
15 – Philip Morris #01
16 – Steve Zacharias #46
17 – Ronald Renfrow #07
18 – Wesley Hawkins #21
19 – Gracie Trotter #2
20 – Melvin Langley #29
21 – Wesley Johnson #12
22 – Mike Ganoe #82
23 – Gerald Benton #21
24 – Toni Briedinger #21
25 – William Lester #97
26 – Kenneth Mercer #24
27 – JD Eversole #98

Race #2 Results:
1 – Brian Vause #26
2 – Bradley McCaskill #18
3 – Peyton Sellers #26
4 – Chris Chapman #51
5 – Ross “BooBoo” Dalton #50
6 – Mike Looney #87
7 – Philip Morris #01
8 – Ryan Repko #71
9 – Sam Yarbrough #20
10 – Rusty Daniels #16
11 – Ronald Renfrow #07
12 – Connor Mosack #18
13 – Brian Obiedzenski #29
14 – William Lester #97
15 – Gracie Trotter #2
16 – Wes Burton #19
17 – Brandon Clements #7
18 – Brooke Storrer #9
19 – Steve Zacharias #46
20 – Wesley Hawkins #21
21 – Melvin Langley #29
22 – Mike Ganoe #82
23 – Wesley Johnson #12
24 – Toni Briedinger #21
25 – Gerald Benton #21