On May 2, 2015, an incredible streak of 26 races began where only two drivers visited victory lane at Motor Mile Speedway.
On September 20, 2014, Kevin Kenley won the final Mod 4 race of the season. On April 27, 2019, Kevin Canter won the season-opening Mod 4 race at Motor Mile Speedway. In between Jesse “Doodle” Lang and Chucky Williams split victories nearly evenly during three seasons of racing on the 4/10th-mile speed plant.
On May 2, 2015, was the first race of the 2015 season and that’s when Lang began the streak with a victory over Chucky Williams. Over the course of the next 26 races Lang won 14 races and Williams won 12. It was a streak that’s unrivaled in racing but it was made possible by two drivers who respect one another and raced each other hard but clean.
Both drivers were disappointed with the streak coming to an end.
“Breaks my heart,” Williams told RACE22.com. “That’s a long time. We’re both proud of that but hate to see it end.”
“It sucks,” Lang told RACE22.com. “But it is what it is. I’m surprised it lasted that long myself. It sucks the streak ended but at least he (Canter) didn’t collect the bounty.”
In 2017 a bounty of $500 was placed on Lang and Williams for anyone could beat them and end the streak. According to Lang, the bounty was still in place but because of neither driver finishing the race, the bounty couldn’t be collected.
Canter didn’t care about how he won but was elated to get the win not even thinking about ending the streak.
“It’s unexplainable,” Canter told RACE22.com. “Rocky (Yates, Canter’s stepdad) said it’s hard to win at Motor Mile and it’s something special to achieve a win there. I broke down in tears on the way back to victory lane. It’s just so special to me to win there and to do it in my first start made it even better.”
Typically in short track racing streaks of this length can’t be achieved because of a rivalry between the two drivers spilling over and ending badly. Lang and Williams aren’t your typical racers and their friendship is one that is hard to come by between competitors.
Lang and Williams have become close over the years racing together. Lang says the agreement between the two is what allowed the streak to continue.
“We have a mutual agreement,” said Lang. “If I knock him sideways, I let him get back straight and continue and he does the same. We raced each other hard but we always knew that we weren’t going to take one another out.”
During the April 27th race, Williams was the first driver out of the race as he didn’t even take the green flag. Williams camshaft broke and he said it detonated his engine. Once he was out, his first thought was hoping that Lang kept the streak going to live another race.
“Once I went out before the race started I was hoping that Doodle would win it,” Williams stated. “Then on the first lap, they started crashing and never stopped. I stood up on the trailer watching that mess and couldn’t believe they were just running over one another.”
Lang’s bid to win the race was slowed on lap one when the field stacked up in front of him and several cars crashed on the front straightaway. Lang then was involved in a spin with David Brown and both drivers were put to the rear. Later as he was racing his way back up through the field he crashed hard with David Helm.
Lang hit pit road and Williams ran from where his car was parked in turn four to where Lang was parked just off turn two to help get Lang back on track.
“If he wasn’t the first guy to my pit, he wasn’t far behind,” Lang continued. “He didn’t have shoes on. He ain’t family but he is. He was right there to help.”
“I ran all the way down to Doodle’s pit in my socks,” commented Williams. “I didn’t have time to get my shoes on when the wreck happened, so I took off in my socks to see if I could help.”
Williams and Lang pit together and have for at least eight years but because the track sold pit stalls this year and he was awarded one due to winning the championship in 2017, Lang pitted where they usually parked together and Williams parked in the overflow parking because there were so many Mod 4’s (23). Lang says going forward he’ll probably give up his parking space and move to where Williams parks, so they can hang out together again.
“Rivals don’t usually get along like we do,” said Lang. “It’s something different and something that made the streak even more special.”
Canter for his part is honored to be the one to end the streak but says he didn’t think about it at first and was reminded later about it.
“I didn’t think about it,” Canter said. “When we were riding home one of my buddies said ‘you know what you did right?’ he said ‘you broke the streak’ and I remembered it. That gives me more motivation to win again but this one was special.”
This was Canter’s 35th win in a Mod 4 but his first at Motor Mile Speedway. He’s won 27 times at Kingsport, where he’s dominated over the last few seasons and had seven wins at the now dirt Lonesome Pine Raceway. Canter says this one is the biggest win of his career by far.
“This one takes the cake,” Canter continued. “This means more than all my other wins and my championships. I never thought we would have won there that fast. Winning at Motor Mile takes a lot of preparation and being on top of your game. It’s a hard place to win and we won it on our first try.”
Canter says that not having Lang and Williams on the track during his win doesn’t diminish the victory but he hopes he can beat them with them behind him soon.
“To know we were on the track and were just a tenth off the pole shows we’d have been right there with them,” Canter commented. “I want to beat them on the track but winning at Motor Mile is special no matter how it happens.”
Canter hopes to continue his winning streak as he’s won all six races he’s entered this season and is on a streak of his own. Canter has won all five races at Kingsport Speedway this season and starts in the rear of every race, which he thinks makes the redraw at Motor Mile easier for him than other competitors.
“The redraw doesn’t bother me,” Canter continued. “We elect to start at the rear every race at Kingsport and have to be patient and make our move on the slower cars. We drew 10, of course, which is my luck. We nearly got taken out in the first lap wreck that took Doodle out but we missed it somehow.”
Lang nor Williams is a fan of the redraw, which is new this year in hopes of making the racing more entertaining and give other drivers a chance to win with the faster cars having to work their way through the field. Williams qualified second and was set to start ninth before breaking on the pace laps. Lang won the pole in qualifying but redrew sixth for the start. Both have strong feelings about the redraw but Lang is more vocal.
“We’re playing into a new game,” Lang stated. “I understand putting on a show. I know all about it. When I started racing at Franklin County Speedway, I had to start in the rear every week because they wanted to ‘make a show of it’. The problem here is the speed and the closing rate of the cars in this division. Only the top six are within four-tenths of a second and behind them some of the cars are a second off and some are two and half seconds off.”
The redraw might have played a role in the streak coming to an end but just because it’s over, doesn’t mean Lang or Williams are ready to slow down.
“We ain’t going to sleep,” Lang commented. “We’ll see what happens when the top two cars are on the track at the end of the race. I can’t always be perfect. We can’t always be perfect and flawless all of the time.”
“I’m not going to have my motor back for this next race,” Williams continued. “So Doodle is probably going to have be the one to get the streak started back. I’m going to be running a different car and another engine, I don’t think the motor is good enough to beat Doodle or Kevin. Hopefully, we can get it started back but it’s going to take somebody some doing to beat the streak we had. It was special and I’m glad it lasted as long as it did.”
With Motor Mile Speedway only running 10 events this season with a similar schedule expected in the next few seasons, it would take at least the better part of three seasons to equal the streak. Canter could be the guy to start the next streak or maybe together with Lang and Williams they start a new one but the competition at Motor Mile Speedway is likely to make this kind of thing ever happening again nearly impossible.
The Mod 4 division is stacked with talented drivers young and old and top notch cars from all over the region. If you make a trip to Motor Mile Speedway don’t sleep on the Mod 4 division as it produces some of the best racing on any night.
Cover photo by Jaden Austin.