On a Wheel and a Prayer
Local pastors traded paint in school buses, Legend Cars tangled and Bandoleros battled during Tuesday's eighth round of the Bojangles' Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway presented by iFLY. Calvary Baptist Church pastor Dustin Hamrick earned the pole for the Faster Pastor event after his church donated 1,070 toothbrushes and toothpaste to the speedway's Blessing Bus for those in need.
Hamrick backed up his congregation's faith in his driving by holding off Assurance United Methodist's Daniel Wilson in a two-lap, green-white-checkered restart that featured more than enough bumper-banging to justify a trip to the confession booth.
"The only way y'all could make it better is to add some seats for my crew to ride with me," Hamrick said.
Carson Ferguson navigated his way through the pack in the early going, took the lead from Caleb Heady and ran away from Davis Rochester to win the Boston Reid Real Estate Pro feature to solidify his championship charge with two races left.
Ferguson's No. 48 Ladyga Motorsports entry - which entered Tuesday's races with a 30-point lead over Ryan Mackintosh - padded the advantage after second-lap misfortune befell Mackintosh and relegated him to a 13th-place finish.
"I knew everyone was going to drive cautiously going into Turn 1 (on the final restart)," Ferguson said. "I knew I'd get a shot but that's just short-track racing."
A three-car accident marred the beginning of the Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company Masters feature and knocked title contender Robby Faggart out of the race, but it didn't hurt Todd Midas' championship hopes. Midas' drive to a Masters crown received a major boost with Midas' third victory of the season over Mark Green, last week's winner.
"When you're down in the dumps a little and you're not running great, this happens," Midas said.
After 19 laps of following him, Sam Butler cleared polesitter Jake Waltman for the lead with six laps to go in the PMG Young Lions feature. Butler had to clear lapped traffic and hold off Zack Miracle over the final circuits, a challenge which Butler expertly maneuvered to snap Janson Marchbanks' run of consecutive Young Lions wins at two.
"I had to be more consistent," Butler said of his late-race strategy. "I just had to calm down. I had the perfect shot (at Waltman) and I just had to go for it. It was stressful (holding off Miracle). He raced me clean."
Braden Rogers claimed his second straight VP Racing Fuels Semi-Pro victory, tightening up the division championship battle with only two races left. Rogers - who entered Tuesday ranked third in points - started 15th and steadily made his way to the front. Rogers passed Isabella Robusto, who ranks second in division standings, for the lead and never looked back over the final 10 laps.
Robusto finished second with points leader Jason Alder third.
"There's a little bit of water still getting into Turn 1, but we just adjusted," Rogers said. "I can't thank Farbo Motorsports enough for giving me a rocket to get to the front."
Cameron Murray moved from third to first in four laps in the Farm Bureau Bandolero Outlaws feature, speeding to the win over Jadyn Daniels and Carson Ramsey.
Lucas Vera maintained the point in a caution-filled K1 RaceGear Bandolero Bandits feature, then withstood Layton Harrison's bid for victory on a one-lap restart to notch his third victory of the season.
After winning her Beginner Bandolero heat race on Tuesday night, Katie Yonchuk stormed to a convincing victory in the A-feature. Yonchuk led a 1-2 finish for females, with Natalie Richard - the other heat race winner - second in the main. Joel Smith won the B-feature over Colt Johnson.