Full Moon Brings Drama Aplenty to Championship Night

The traveling Grand National Super Series was in the house Saturday at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway but it was a Swansboro driver who stole the show.

Local driver Chris Burns scored the chance to pilot the number 51 GNSS car and turned in the second fastest qualifying time before racing to a pair of second place finishes as the GNSS closed out the 2022 season with Twin 50 Lap championship races.

Burns was on fire in the 51 pushing GNSS points leader AJ Henrikson all the way to the checkered flag in the first 50 Lap Final. Burns and Henrikson were side by side on a lap 27 restart before Henrikson took the lead for good while Burns stayed on his rear bumper the final 13 laps. “Believe me, I knew he was there,” said Henrickson. Former NASCAR star Jeremey Mayfield joined the podium in third.

The GNSS Championship race number two provided race fans with the biggest crash of the night while Burns continued his torrid driving, this time chasing Kevin Kromer.

No sooner had the green dropped for race two than on lap two a huge crash in turn four took out points leader Henrikson, NASCAR great Jeremy Mayfield and Craig Osborne. Mayfield’s no.75 crashed into the infield wall spinning the car onto the front stretch pavement while Henrikson’s car, spewing sparks, came to a stop near the start/finish and the 54 of Osborne was up against the outside wall in turn four. All three walked away but all three were done for the night.

That opened the door for Kromer in the 77 and Burns to duel it out and duel they did. On lap 27, Burns seemed to tap Kromer’s back left bumper sending the pair into a spin right at the start/finish. Burns hit the brakes hard and the two ended up sideways on the track, side by side just a foot apart but with no further contact thanks to some fabulous driving by both.

The incident sent Burns to the back of the field for the final 13 laps. Burns moved back into second place, cutting Kromer’s lead to less than a second as the laps ran out. Kromer would later say about the incident “It was just some hard racing, nothing intentional”.

The crowd at Carteret County Speedway gave Burns a huge ovation for a great night of racing as the local driver gave the series boys all they could handle.

The race drama Saturday also affected the Chargers who were fighting for triple points over two races to decide the season Championship. Michael O’Brien came into the night the season points leader with Gator Williams just a dozen points back.

O’Brien posted the top qualifying time before bolting to the lead in the first race. O’Briens 61 car seemed to be the class of the field but on lap 8 mechanical issues dropped the 61 from first to last. O’Brien turned a few more slow laps before heading to the pits. James Stroud took over in the 4-car and outraced Williams and Matthew Gurganus at the checkered flag.

O’Brien was able to start the second and final race but it was obvious he was just running laps to try and nail down a season points title. O’Brien did the math and pulled into the pits after securing a season championship by a mere six points!

The rest of the second Chargers race was much like the first with Stroud and Williams doing battle. Stroud took the lead for good with six laps to go and went on to win for the second time Saturday night. A double win for Stroud but a season title for O’Brien who could have done with a lot less drama.

The Street Stocks were also on the October 8th race card but their 25 lap show turned into a demo derby on lap 6 with a three car crash ending the night for James Horner, John Sharp and Dennis Woehrle.

The crash pretty much sealed the deal for Tyler Smith in the 51. Smith pushed to the lead on lap 5 and was commanding all night even through a pair of restarts as he cruised to victory lane. “We had a hot rod tonight” Smith would later say. Mike Cooper and James Wells were second and third respectively.

Last but not least the Mini Stocks took to the track with Andrew Deal posting his first ever Mini Sock victory! It was all the more sweet, noted Deal because just two weeks ago his car literally went up in flames.

“My family, wife and kids are my pit crew and they did a fantastic job putting the car back together,” said Deal.

Racing continues at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway October 22nd with the Halloween Bash, racing at 6pm. Check carteretspeedway.com for more.

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