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Published By Bruce AKRA     April 3, 2017    
Ashland, VA, United States - Get Directions
Spring Gobbler Race at Capital City Speedway in Ashland, VA





Story by Bruce C. Walls

Images by Bruce C. Walls and

Susan Taylor-Walls



            ASHLAND, VA- Saturday March 18th started out as a seasonal sunny day in Ashland, VA, but that evening Mother Nature turned ugly for 294-racers from 7 states entered in Capital City Speedway’s 6th Annual Spring Gobbler. Twenty-seven classes were scheduled to compete. Ten classes raced before the first of several rainstorms hit the area forcing officials to cancel racing. Classes that couldn’t compete were recognized based on their individual qualifying times.


After several rounds of practice, racers were ready to qualify on the 1/5th mile clay oval where track operations were turned over to Mike Hurley of Fredricksburg, VA during the offseason. Once qualifying was complete clear skies began turning gray forcing race officials to speed up their program in an attempt to give all classes a chance to compete.


Karting veteran Stephen Adams, of Four Oaks, N.C., turned a hat trick with a race win and two poles. Milford, DE native Mike Stratton earned Animal Heavy HT3 375lbs’s pole with Adams starting deeper in the field. Stratton showed the 15-racer field for several laps and then drifted back into mid pack. As Stratton slid back Adams P&P Speed Shop powered Phantom Recon chassis took over the lead. Local favorite, Cory Roberts was running a distant second with just a few laps remaining when a late race caution waved. With just a few laps left Roberts was now on Adams tailpipe when racing resumed. Adams and Roberts battled down to the finish where Adams owned a 0.698 seconds advantage.


“The caution really didn’t worry me. My stuff was really, really good from the get go. We tried something there and it just so happened to work. We showed good speed all day.” Adams said. “I just have to thank everybody that makes it possible for me, Pork Chop my brother, Bryan Bradford Racing, Phantom Racing Chassis and Jonathan Cash’s P&P Speed Shop.”


Following Adams in the top five of 15 entries were Cody Oliver, John Yancey and Max Motley.


Adams was fastest of 15 PRO Animal Heavy 375 racers turning a fast time of 12.699 seconds. Ryan O’Connor was just 0.045 seconds slower with a 12.744 seconds fast time lap. Ezzell, Cody Oliver and Yancey completed the top five.


In one of the day’s closest contests, Discovery Title Services PRO Clone Heavy HT3 375, Adams turned a 12.389 seconds lap that was just 0.006 seconds faster then Austin Wyatt’s12.395 seconds lap. Just 0.034 seconds later Jonathan Cash came in third. Dagan Bowdoin and Matthew Robinson were fourth and fifth fastest of 22 qualifiers.



Two racers were double winners that Saturday. Amelia, VA racer Landon Pembleton dominated Junior Champ Heavy 360 with a commanding 4.721 seconds lead over second place Ryan Matthews. Filling in the top five behind Matthews were Victoria Ezzell, Robert Mattera and Jessica Mattera.


“The kart feels good. It’s a new kart we just got it last year,” said 12-year-old Pembelton. “I’d like to thank Henry Murray, my dad and Andy Murray


Earlier that Saturday Pembleton produced a 13.843 second pole-winning lap that earned him his second win, this one in Hooligan Velocity Motorsports Junior Sportsman 2 Champ 315. Kendall Catlett was 0.047 seconds slower at 13.890 seconds. King George, VA based 12-year-old racer Aiden Poole was third with a time of 14.00 seconds, Carter Langley was fourth and Bradyn Kuhn clocked the fifth fastest qualifying time.


Langley, a 12-year-old Clayton, N.C. based P&P Speed Shop powered Premier kart pilot produced a pair of wins starting with Junior 2 Heavy Sprint where he comfortably beat Colin James to the stripe by 3.634 seconds.


“I had to get to first. From there on it was good. The P&P Speed Shop motor was good and it was fast,” Langley described. “Jonathan Cash for the motor, Austin Banker from Premier Karts for working on the karts at the track, my dad for doing the tires and my mom.”


Crossing behind James in the top five were Pembleton, Hunter Self and William McConnel.


Langley won BDL Motorsports PRO Junior 2 Heavy Sprint 290 by earning the pole with a 13.044 seconds top-qualifying lap. Self spun a 13.073 seconds lap that was 0.029 seconds slower. Rounding out the top five were James, Snow Hill, MD based Logan Shockley and McConnel.


First off the grid that night were four Clone EL Medium 350 racers led by pole winner Michael Flagg of Fredericksburg, VA. After shaking off several early challenges Flagg piloted his #88 Phantom Recon into a comfortable lead with the field evenly spread out behind him. In the final laps Robert Owens closed the gap between them and threatened to take the lead from Flagg on the final lap. Flagg held on and was first across the stripe with Owens behind him by just 0-155 seconds. Kyle Ezzell and Cullen Roberts completed the field.


“I started out front on the pole and just led every lap,” said the 29-year-old Flagg. “I knew somebody was catching me at the end and I knew I had to protect my position. I pulled to the bottom and held it to the bottom on the last lap, protected the position and got the win. The kart was a little free and started getting looser and looser as the race went on. The motor pulled good, Higgy’s got awesome power. I want to thank David Henderson BDL Motors, my niece Arianna, Brian Knowles and just everybody else who helps me out.”


Following in his famous father’s tire tracks Brody Bajer, son of legendary Phantom kart pilot Scott Bajer, showed Wheeler’s Custom Paint Junior Stars Sprint racers across the stripe. His closest pursuer was Triston McKee who trailed Bajer by 18.615 seconds. Further back were Colton Payne and Chase Willis.


“The kart handled good and the Tod Miller motor was good,” said the 6-year-old Mechanicsville, VA native. “I want to thank my dad,” he added.


With Shockley chasing him across the stripe Blake Wynn led the way in Animal Control Solutions Junior 1 Heavy Sprint 265. Overcoming trouble early in the run, Wynn won with a 0.528 seconds advantage. Following Shockley in the top five were Austin Lathroum, Jarrett Edwards and Carson Lucas.


“I was a little worried when they got close to me at the end,” Wynn said. “The kart handled really good and the Boom Boom motor was flying, you should pick one up. “I want to thank my dad, my family, Toby and Marty Maddox.”


Emporia, VA based P&P Speed Shop powered Premier Kart pilot Austin Banker shot across Hopewell Animal Hospital Clone Heavy EL 375’s stripe with Monk Newsome chasing him 0.310 seconds later. Close behind Newsome in the top five of 11 were Adams in third, Ezzell fourth and Flag fifth.


“The Premier kart is always great. It’s just if I can hit the tires right. So the kart’s never the problem we’ve got good karts. Robin’s (Bradshaw) done a lot of good things in karting and this is definitely one of them,” Banker credited. “I started third in that one and fortunately I had enough to run them down at the end there. The P&P Speed Shop motor was good too. So it’s all a combination of those things. I’d like to thank Robin Bradshaw, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all of my pit crew for their help Wormy, my mom and dad, Wheezy, Jennifer and everybody that helps.”


Jimmy Ogles Racing Engines powered Phantom kart pilot Kyle Riggs ruled Limited Modified 375lbs Flat Head/410 Animal with a 0.499 seconds edge over Mack Bailey. Six and a half seconds later Matt Elllingsworth completed the field.


Seven-year-old Middlesex County, VA native Cameron Aponte captured Wheeler’s Custom Paint Junior Star Champ 275. Zachary Uhlenhake chased Aponte’s Chris Williams Motors powered Rage kart across the stripe 1.965 seconds later. April Hanson, Miller Nixon and Bryen Shifflett finished third, fourth and fifth.


“The Rage kart ran good,” Aponte said. “At first I was pretty scared because I thought I was going to loose. But then when I got back on the track I started doing really good and I saw that I started to win. I want to thank my dad and mom, Chris Williams for the motor and Capital City Speedway for putting on this race.”


Dark clouds thickened and as a light rain began sprinkling as one of the day’s largest fields left the grid. Twenty-nine Cole Achey Performance Senior Champ Animal racers would be the last class to race before heavy rains started falling. They took a couple of warm-up laps before getting the green flag.   When they did Austin Wyatt rocketed into a slight lead. Before he could get settled down into a smooth stride caution waved for back markers struggling to hold on.


They quickly relined back up single file with Wyatt still at the helm. Green returned, but it would only be a few laps before caution returned.  Wyatt continued leading when racing resumed. With Tanner Aman in hot pursuit Wyatt crossed the finish line with a 0.725 seconds edge. Further back in the top five Austin Roush, Stephen Adams, and Todd Crenshaw.


Wyatt also earned Xceptional Pest Services PRO Clone Heavy 375 Warm- Up’s official win with a 12.396 seconds lap that was 0.076 seconds faster than Beville’s best lap of 12.472 seconds. Adams, Dagan, Bowdoin and Pikesville, NC competitor Charger Kart Pilot Ty Bass completed the top five.


Rains steadily picked up. Racers and their crews quickly packed their equipment and scrambled back to their pits. Officials waited hoping the storm would pass. But then it became obvious that even if the rains stopped more were on the way and would be there by the time they could dry the track. So, reluctantly, race officials decided their best option was to call the race. The remaining 17 classes’ payout would be back on racers qualifying times.


Ten-year-old Charlie Beals was Global Gasket and Seals Junior 1 fast time winner with a 14.163 seconds effort that was 0.169 seconds faster then Blake Wynn’s time of 14.332 seconds in an eight kart field. This was Beals’s third “Turkey” events win in a row piloting a P&P Speed Shop powered Phantom champ kart. Behind Beals and Wynn were Hayes, Edwards and Lathroum for the top five.


Monk Newsome spun Virginia Landscaping PRO Clone Heavy “EL” 375lbs fastest qualifying lap with a time of 13.224 seconds that was 0.13 second faster than Banker’s time of 13.237. Banker, Adams, Flagg and Kyle Ezell would have rounded out the top five.


Josh Peck was Quality Auto Body and Collision Senior Champ Clone EL 375lbs’s pole winner. Peck produced a 13.670 seconds lap that was 0.239 seconds faster than Flagg’s 13.909 seconds rounding.   Tanner Aman, Austin Roach and Jacob Harberts made rows two and three.


Johnson Brothers, Inc. Clone Heavy HT3 375lbs pole winner was Stony Creek, VA based Adam Beville who cranked out a track blistering 12.655 seconds lap time. Starting behind Beville were Banker, Cash, Todd Crenshaw and Matthew Robinson.


Hunter Heck handled Restricted Junior Heavy 320lbs’ pole lap turning a 12.988 seconds lap that topped Denton, MD driver Trent Reed’s 13.135 seconds time by 0.147 seconds. Jesse Rogers, Lake Price and Peyton Abbott filled the remaining top five starters.


Capital City Speedway introduced and sponsored a new Predator 375lbs class. The class required racers to use Burris 33 tires. Six-racers took the challenge in what CCS hopes will be a growing field. Steven Emerson topped qualifying with a 13.900 seconds trip. JD Eversole missed the pole by 0.055 seconds. Tyler Larogue, Brian Shifflett and Mike Hurley would have started third through fifth.


Austin Roush scored Senior Champ Flat Head’s pole time turning a 13.573 seconds lap. Steve Canton was scheduled to start on the outside of row one. Canton clocked a 13.689 seconds run that was 0.116 seconds off pace. Ready to start in the top five were Cody Carlton, Chris Fahed and Jacob Harberts.


Greenwood, DE based Cole Neibert broke the 13 second barrier with a 12.918 seconds trip that earned him Maritime Mayham Fishing Charters Stock Flat Head 375lbs pole. Eversole went just a tick over 13 seconds with a 13.067 seconds lap that was good enough for the outside pole and eventually an official second place finish. Todd Langley turned a 13.196 seconds lap, Matt Dail made a 13.244 seconds lap and JW Loveless came in at 13.339 seconds for what have been the fifth place starting position.


In RWYB/UAS Bobby White was on the bubble breaking the 12 seconds margin with the day’s fastest lap a track blistering 11.985 seconds. Next fastest was Trent Vanvorst who rounded the track in 12.0.569 seconds. Mike Ellerbusch and Ben Scott rounded out the field.


Josh Peck produced Avis Electric PRO Champ Animal 425’s fastest lap in 12.077 seconds. Also in the top five of 29 starters were Fahed, Roberts, Cole Neibert and Cody Carlton.


Billy Tweeden dominated D&M Mobile Crushing Clone Super Heavy HT3 425/Driver 200 with a 12.916 seconds fast time lap. Jonathan Mullett produced the second fastest qualifying lap with a time of 013.285 seconds. Brian Bruce was third fastest followed in the top five by Gunnar Trenary.


Also ready to race were 11 X-Factor Preps PRO Restricted Junior Heavy 320 racers. Chesterfield County’s Sean Bavaro was their fastest qualifier with a 12.789 seconds effort. Second fastest was Zach Fields who timed a 12. 860 seconds lap. Third through fifth were Jesse Rogers, Hunter Heck and Lake Price.


Mike Hurley of Fredericksburg Va. Took over ownership during the off season and surrounded himself with Eddie Moore and VDKA President Paul Fischer for guidance and leadership to continue the legacy of Cal Johnson the founder of Capital City Speedway. If this event is any indication of how dedicated Hurley’s team is, karting has a bright future in Ashland Virginia.


Along with Capital City Speedways regular Saturday night points program that started March 11th the track will be hosting two Virginia Dirt Karting Association (VDKA) races July 8th and September 16. They will also hold a season ending Turkey Trot on November 18th. For more information visit the track website at:


Spring Gobbler Photo Captions


Photo Credit:


Bruce Walls/Action Sports Photos


DSC_0433-Senior Champ Clone 425 #29-Amanda Fry


DSC_0521- Senor Champ Clone 425-#31-Austin Rouch #227-Steven Fahed


DSC_0624-UAS racer #25-Trent Vanrvorst


DSC_0660-#17 Trent Reed leads #85-Hunter Heck in PRO Junior Restricted-Junior


DSC_0753 Star Champ-#34-Milller Nixon and #46 Cameron Aponte battle side-by-side


DSC_0765-Junior Star Champ 275-#47-Landen Fletcher and #34-Miller Nixon


DSC_0788-Champ karters get tangled up in turn two


DSC_ 0816- Junior Sportsman 1 Champ #5 Charlie Beals winner #3-Gerorgtown, DE based Racyn Hayes


DSC_0838-Restricted Junior 2 #13-Payton Abbott and #17 Trent Reed


DSC_0928-Clone Super Heavy #73-Gunnar Trenary and #21 Billy Tween (winner)


DSC_0977-Junior driver’s dad straps his helmet on at the grid


DSC_1078-Junior Star Champs #26-Bryen Shifflett leads #33-Mason Nixon


DSC_1245-Senoir Champ EL Clone 425-#6-Tanner Aman and #40-Josh Peck (winner)


DSC_1379-Junior racers gets into pylon


DSC_1576-Animal Heavy 375-#0-Scott Donoho


DSC_1611-PRO Clone HTR3 Warm-Up #07- Austin Banker


DSC_1650-Senior Champ Heavy 425-#28-Mason Hanson

IMG -7891 #80 TJ Reed gets last minute advice from his crew on the grid
































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