Story by: Corey Latham ~ [email protected]

12:30pm …. Rockingham, NC ~ The cars have hit the track in the test seession for the upcoming UARA STARS event here at Rockingham Speedway. The temps here are in the 20’s and the drivers have gone full bore into the early the early morning session. The only incident so far is a blown engine in the #29 machine of Andy Loden, which took some time for clean-up. With inexperienced drivers at such a fast track, every precaution is needed to ensure saftey.

Right now Kyle Grissom is the fastest in the session with a 25 flat. The scoring here in the pits is on the skids right now so we will be getting some other times shortly. Other cars that are fast on the hand watch are Alex Yontz, Kyle Moon, Clay Rogers and Darrell Wallace Jr.  R.A. Brown and Matt DiBenedetto have just arrived at the track and will hit the track after the lunch break.

12:58pm …. A couple of official times from the UARA(keeping in mind not everyone is running a transponder)
Kyle Grissom ~ 25.124
Alex Yontz ~ 25.531
Clay Greenfield ~ 26.016
Jake Crum ~ 26.269
Matt McCall ~ 26.275
Coleman Pressley ~ 26.277
Andy Loden ~ 26.474
Scott Turlington ~ 25.596
Marc Davis ~ 26.605
Paul Bryant ~ 26.715
Bob Saville ~ 26.766
Darrell Wallace, Jr. ~ 26.906
Brad Queen ~ 26.927
Justin Boston ~ 27.352
Kyle Moon ~ 27.384
Luke Laney ~ 27.500
Ryan Robertson ~ 27.975
Jeremy Burns ~ 28.484
Bryan Dauzat ~ 28.905

3:04pm … The teams are starting to deal with mechanical failures. Brandon McReynolds and Kyle Moon have both had engine problems, possibly burned pistons, along with Andy Loden who expired his engine in the first 30 minutes of practice. Darrell Wallace Jr. has broken a transmission, but the team has worked hard and changed it out and are about to make another run. Most others are experimenting with different shocks and springs, Ryan Robertson is running way too stiff in the front end and is currently on track with a set of sticker tires. Scott Turlington hasn’t changed a thing all day, and is not the quickest, but is very consistent.

Clay Rogers is one of the few without a transponder, and by our watches he is the quickest of the day with a time of 25.072. Kyle Grissom continues to be consistently the fastest, along with Alex Yontz, Clay Greenfield and Matt McCall in the “Pig Rig” Ford. Matt DiBenedetto had his car delivered at lunch, and after running 2 laps he is one of the top 6 quickest cars of the day. There are many spectators here today checking out the action, including Clint Mills, Garrett Campbell and Thomas Hartensveld. Another highlight of the day is the cone count pulling into pit road, right now Clay Greenfield is destroying the field with a score of eight cones knocked down …

4:13pm … That’s it folks, testing has concluded here at “The Rock”. Clay Rogers was unofficially the fastest by our watch, as he did not have a transponder hooked up to record times. He only ran sparingly in the afternoon session, and said the car was “very good”. There may just be a reason he didn’t have a transponder and was of few words, he should be one to watch when the series returns here in April. After all, he was the winner here last Fall in the Hooters Pro cup finale, he has the experience on other drivers in the field. Kyle Grissom was the fastest UARA regular, along with the usual suspects, Yontz, McCall, DiBenedetto and a very strong Clay Greenfield, who has seemed to benefit greatly with the move to Grumpy Motorsports.

Coleman Pressley, who was one of the hottest drivers in 2008, ran some very competitive times in the high 25 second bracket in his crate motor. But his built engine in his second car didn’t fare as well as he had engine problems within half a lap of being on the track. The crates motors were thought to not be the way to go here, but Randy Benson proved that wrong turning 25.62 often late in the day. Matt DiBenedetto could be the sleeper, as his car didn’t get there till lunch, and he never got the car exactly the way he wanted it.

It was so loose he could hardly drive it, and they had the wrong gear in, and late in the test the motor started to cut out. With all that, he still was one of the fastest cars of the day consistently turning 25.6’s in what limited time they had on track. It’s hard to tell who’s gonna be good by todays test, many teams were experimenting, but the fast cars should be fast again, and many who were not here will be good also. It’s going to be a barn-burner for sure.

Official Times from UARA Scoring …
1 ~ Clay Rogers 25.092
2 ~ Kyle Grissom 25.105
3 ~ Alex Yontz 25.208
4 ~ Matt McCall 25.353
5 ~ Alex Yontz 25.469
6 ~ Matt DiBenedetto 25.568
7 ~ Randy Benson 25.633
8 ~ Justin Boston 25.756
9 ~ Jake Crum 25.762
10 ~ Darrell Wallace, Jr. 25.823

24 cars had transponders in second practice session … we’ll have more later.