Dominion Raceway hosted the CARS Late Model Stock Tour for its northernmost trek of 2021. The rock and roll style atmosphere of the new Dominion Raceway hosted a raucous and highly vocal crowd. Another first-time tour winner graced victory lane at the Northern Virginia track.
Mike Looney started on pole with a blistering 15.031 around the .410 mile pure oval. Daniel Silvestri set his fastest qualifying time of 2021 and started on the outside pole.
The race ran differently than the previous six events of the year. Three planned competition competitions became scheduled to wave every 30 laps. This race structure was in place due to several tire issues that created some havoc for some competitors one year ago.
The race began with some contact. A few drivers had the misfortune of qualifying towards the rear of the field. At the initial start of the race, the 4th place qualifier of Grant Thompson spun his tires and backed up the outside line. Deac McCaskill, Sam Butler, Tyler Matthews, and Terry Carroll all were involved in a pileup in turns one and two. The incident occurred before a single lap was in the books.
With the red flag displayed, the race came to a halt. Initial starting positions remained instead of reracking after the yellow.
Daniel Silvestri was on the gas early. He got past pole-sitter Mike Looney after cleanup from the initial calamity was completed. Silvestri and Mini Tyrell got ahead of the Looney machine that was content to ride in third early in the 125 lap competition.
The first 30 lap stint was a single file affair for the most part. Drivers were dialing in their cars before the caution flag flew. Tire management was not nearly as bad of an issue compared to 2020. The field had time to cool off their Hoosiers.
Another frenetic restart gave way to a more spread-out second stage. The Silvestri car was able to pull away from the field. Bristow Virginia’s Jonathan Findley went silent on the front stretch after struggling in his run. Findley pulled around to pit lane and never returned to the field. His quest to repeat as the defending CARS Tour Dominion Raceway winner became vanquished on lap 74.
Layne Riggs had struggled during his run. He qualified in the 18th position and could not get much headway through the field. It was lap 83 when he and Jonathan Shafer made contact in turns one and two. Riggs went spinning into the outside barrier. When he got his machine refired, Riggs made a b-line for the Ashland Ohio driver. Riggs believed Shafer sent him into the fence. Riggs swiped the left front fender of the Shafer machine under caution before parking it for the night. A frustrated Layne Riggs did all he could to refrain from calling out the offending driver over the microphone. The flashy big screen that sits in the middle of the track showed his frustration as it mounted with his overall disappointment.
“He always runs in the back and tonight he decided to run into us,” Riggs said. “It’s just been a frustrating night. We just never got it tonight. We never got the setup right.”
The caution period counted as the final competition yellow. It was a tried and true short-track dog fight to the end. Mike Looney got back around to second place and set his sights on the lead.
With 40 to go, Looney swung around the inside of the 97 of Silvestri. Looney got the lead. The Bitcoin car of Silvestri drove up to the top in a fashion like no other. Both cars pulled away from the rest of the field, running side by side. Six to seven laps ticked by with the two jockeying for position with the fans up on their feet. Silvestri finally motored on by and set sail on the rest of the competition.
Great Falls, Virginia’s Daniel Silvestri won to a legion of devoted fans shouting and cheering as he crossed the line. He spoke of his victorious night inside of Dominion Raceway’s indoor concession midway.
“It’s amazing, just a great race, he pushed me,” Silvestri said. “Looney pushed me. All the crew, we’ve been through a lot this year. There were two great cars and one really great driver. Mike Looney got everything out of that racecar when he passed me. I had a better car. Looney did a great job, he’s one of the best.”
Mike Looney cooled off by the fan in the tech garage just after a highly intense run to the finish. He came just short of his first CARS Tour win of 2021.
“Hats off to Daniel, from what I could tell, he didn’t make a single mistake from what I could tell,” Looney said. “We couldn’t quite keep pace with him in the beginning, so we tried to conserve a little bit of tire. I wanted to be set up for the last caution. He passed me clean, and he did a good job. I tried to match his pace a little bit. Just really proud of Billy Martin Racing, Harrisonsworkwear.com, A1 Heating and Cooling, Hopkins Lumber. They make this thing get around the track.”
The Late Model Stock Car contingent for the CARS Tour this year is a class with plenty of parity in 2021. There have been two first-time winners through seven tour races. Justin Johnson is the only driver to have more than one win thus far. The year is shaping up to be a very tight points battle.
The CARS Tour takes its summer break at the halfway point of the season. Many local and regional tracks are heating up with big money races. The Late Model Stocks will return to Hickory Motor Speedway on July 31st. Hickory will host the combined event with the Super Late Models for the Throwback 276. Follow Late Model Stock action at race22 on Facebook and Race22.com the Short Track Authority.
Cover photo by Bridger Swinimer.