NSDN Rewind 2014 Race 8: Little Sandy

The NSDN Daily Race Coverage season continued into September as we traveled to PTN Championship Weekend 2014 at Little Sandy Raceway in Grayson, KY. This was the Season Finale for the PTN series with a full slate of classes to contest and crown champions in. Jim and Gaye Johnson do an incredible job putting on a great event at their wonderful facility in Eastern Kentucky. The Johnson’s are always greatly welcoming to racers and crew that come to their track. They are truly a pleasure to work with and make things easy for NSDN to cover all the action. It was also great to catch up with our friends Gary & Michelle Burrow with Lonestar Graphics as they made the trip from Texas for this one. The Burrow’s do such a great job for the sport and once again supplied us with a batch of great photos from this one. This NSDN Daily Race Coverage was presented by Mid-West Coatings, Inc. and Pro Truck Nationals.

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NSDN Racer of the Event: This one was a very hard decision for me to make as there were two very deserving racers that fit the criteria for Racer of the Event. So the easiest way to decide is to recognize both standout racers from this event, Blake Cole and Jason Thompson.

Blake Cole came to PTN Championship Weekend with a newly acquired Jeep ready for his first weekend of action in it. He would leave as the 2014 PTN Pro Truck series champion. Blake made it a clean sweep of the weekend in Pro Truck action. He started off on Friday with a .028 RT to take the #1 Qualifying spot in the Pro Shootout. He would eventually end up in the final round taking the win over the always tough Kyle Harney. After Day One the target was definitely on the back of the young Ohio-based racer. He handled the pressure like a Pro and with a .008 RT in Q2 locked up the #1 Qualifying spot in the Pro Truck class, which earned bonus points as well as the round one bye that would lock up the championship before eliminations even started. Cole would then go on to the final round where he defeated Jeff Banks in the legendary “Speed Buggy” in the final round. Blake also ended up with a runner-up finish in the Sportsman Car category on Saturday, losing a close final round breaking out by just .002. Blake’s performance definitely merits being Racer of the Event.

Blake Cole (Lonestar Photo)

Jason Thompson was on a mission heading to PTN Championship Weekend 2014. Jason took the win in Race 2 of the 2014 PTN 3.95 Index Pro ATV series at Newtown Dragway in Newtown, Virginia and decided to make his first trip to Kentucky searching for the title. The Pennsylvania-based racer worked all weekend to get his ride dialed into the 3.95 Index. He would get close in qualifying with a 3.999, however that would only be good enough for the #6 position in such a tough field of competitors. Round one was a battle as Keith Lycans took a sizable edge on the tree, but Thompson was able to squeak around him with a 4.00 to take the win by just .007 at the stripe. Things didn’t get any easier the next round as he faced off with Michigan racer Shawn Roth of class sponsor Proformance Prototypes. Jason knew he needed to hang a tree on Shawn and did so with a stellar .013 bulb. However, Shawn was right with him going .053 on the tree. At the stripe, Jason would turn on the win light in a 4.03 to 4.04 close decision. Up next was a semi-final round match with another Michigan racer Kyle Wiedmayer. This one was decided on the tree as Thompson once again hit the tree well with a .028 which enabled him to take a 4.01 to 4.02 victory to advance to the final round. The final would see Jason square off with one of the very best local racers in Gary Butler. The luck was square in Thompson’s corner on this night as Butler turned on the red light in the other lane while Jason took the win with a 10MPH pass as he experienced problems right off the line. Jason’s unreal performance in the heat of a championship battle with tons of pressure leading to a race win and championship title makes him worth of being Racer of the Event.

Jason Thompson (NSDN Photo)

NSDN Run of the Event: This could have gone one of many directions at this event with so much action happening throughout the weekend. For me, the most intense battle of the weekend was the Pro Outlaw final round between Kathy Ellington and Ryan Wilson. The PTN Pro Outlaw heads-up category was contested on a 200’ track length at this event, which brought about some incredibly close racing. Kathy Ellington in the MKEMotorsports.com Black Widow was the #1 Qualifier with a 2.62 ET. Ryan Wilson in the Steele Wilson Connection Racing Altered struggled in Qualifying, but found the tune up in Round One with a solid 2.69 to defeat Mike O’Neal. With both racers in the 60’s, there was no margin of error for either racer. This race could go either way. Ryan was up for the challenge recording a great .018 RT to take the edge over Ellington’s solid .041. It would be the Nitrous-assisted power of Ellington that would pull ahead on the top end for the win in a very close 2.62 to 2.70 decision. Both racers put it all out there in the final for the Kentucky crowd making it worth of Run of the Event.

Kathy Ellington (NSDN Photo)

NSDN Storylines

Sand Shark: Bruce Lagory brought the newest Sand Shark to the track for PTN Championship Weekend in Kentucky. A potent turbocharged SBC powered the new ride in Pro Truck and Pro Outlaw action at this event. After some issues on his opening passes, Bruce recorded a solid 3.73/88MPH on his first Pro Outlaw qualifying run. Unfortunately this new ride would give us a scare in the next Pro Outlaw session. Bruce would lose control down track and eventually roll over once. Thankfully with the great safety equipment, Bruce walked away unharmed.  The Sand Shark would be eventually be repaired and returned to the track later in the season.

Bruce Lagory (Lonestar Photo)

The Pumpkin Does It Again: The Rigger Racing Pumpkin Pro ATV did it again taking the Twin-Cylinder 0-650 Limited category at PTN Championship Weekend 2014. The team of Rigger Racing’s Ricky Thorpe and rider Terrell Allen backed up their big win at Newtown, Virginia with another great performance. They qualified #3 with a 3.71 at 86MPH in the tough field. Round one saw their quickest pass of the weekend with a solid 3.65 defeating KW Racing’s Brittany Ranger. A semi-final round single saw Terrell Allen jockey the ride to a 3.79 to set up the final round with Team MDR’s Trey Williams. Both rides were ready for action, but the MDR was a bit too ready as Trey turned on the red bulb by just .011. The ET’s were both 3.67 so this would have been a great battle had both gone green, but the win light went to the team of Terrell Allen and Ricky Thorpe.

Terrell Allen (NSDN Photo)

Team MDR: When there’s a Heads-Up ATV race, Missouri’s Madd Draggin Racing comes ready for battle. This race was no exception with all of their rides putting up impressive performances. Trey Williams scored two Heads-Up class wins to go with one #1 qualifying position while Jeff Patterson put their Scimitar-powered ride at the top of the list in two classes and scored two runner-ups. To top that off, Jerrid Maddox qualified #1 in PTN 3.95 Index Pro ATV with a 3.951. These guys are serious and always a threat to win at each race they attend.

Trey Williams (Lonestar Photo)

Jeff Patterson (Lonestar Photo)

Three Peat: Matt Randolph clearly has the hot hand whenever he comes to Little Sandy Raceway. Matt entered this event having won the Sportsman Car class during the past two PTN visits to the Kentucky track. This time around he was in a different ride, but it didn’t matter as he took on all challengers including newly crowned PTN Pro Truck champion Blake Cole in the final round. Matt got the job done handing Blake his only loss on the weekend. Congrats to Matt on yet another big win in Grayson, KY. 

Matt Randolph (Lonestar Photo)

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