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McCarty, Oakley top speed chart

On a cloudy, cold and sometimes blustery afternoon, veteran driver Jeff Oakley and rookie Bobby McCarty found themselves at the top of the speed charts Saturday during South Boston Speedway’s annual Open Practice & Media Day event.

Oakley, from Prince George, posted a best lap of 15.672 seconds and 91.884 mph during the afternoon session to put himself on top of the chart.

McCarty, who is getting ready for his rookie season in the Late Model Stock Car Division ranks, topped the chart in the morning session with a speed of 90.926 mph. 

Last year’s South Boston Speedway Limited Sportsman Division champion finished the day with the third-fastest speed, posting a lap of 91.731 mph.

“I feel great to be that quick,” McCarty said.

“We started off quick and a couple of adjustments to the track bar did it. I’m really looking for a car that will drive well and is okay fast. Our car is consistent. We can consistently run mid 70’s (15.70 second) bracket. I feel we have a good race-trim car.”

Both drivers hope being at the top of the speed charts during the open practice will be a good omen for this coming Saturday when South Boston Speedway opens its season 2013 season with the Danville Toyota NASCAR Whelen Late Model Twin 100’s.

Twin 100-lap races for the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division competitors will headline this weekend’s season-opening event. The Limited Sportsman Division and Pure Stock Division drivers and teams will also be in action on opening day.

A familiar face among area racing fans was also among the fast cars during the open practice session.

Jeb Burton of Halifax, who is running the full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule this season with Turner Scott Motorsports, was second-fastest in the afternoon session with his best lap of the day being 91.872 mph.

Burton was also second-fastest during the morning session. 

“It’s probably the best it has ever been,” Burton said of his Late Model Stock Car, which now sports the No. 4 on its side.

“It was a positive day. At first we had hundred-lap tires on the car from last year. The car was okay, but it wasn’t handling great because of the tires. We put on some good tires and it came to life.

“I wasn’t leaving anything on the table out there,” he added.

“It could maybe get a hair better. It was really fun to drive. I can do what I want to with it. It’s going to be fun.” 

Burton said he his current plan is to compete in the Late Model Stock Car Division race on March 23 at South Boston Speedway.

South Boston’s Austin Thaxton also had a good day. Thaxton had the fourth-fastest lap of the day with his best lap of 91.174 mph.

I felt we had a good enough car when we unloaded to be near the top, and it showed up,” Thaxton said.

“We were just trying some things on the car and they seem to be working. I’m pretty happy with the car. Hopefully we can get it a little better.” 

Mike Maresca of Hannawa Falls, N.Y. topped the speed chart in the Limited Sportsman Division ranks in both the morning and afternoon sessions, posting his best lap of the day of 90.928 mph during the afternoon session.

Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs, last year’s Limited Sportsman Division runner-up, had the second-best lap in the division with a mark of 90.441 mph during the afternoon session.

“I’m petty happy where we left it,” Willis remarked.

“We made some big swings at the car and it showed up on the track. We know we’re going in the right direction. I think we have a little more room for improvement.”

Willis said he expects to have to do more work and make more adjustments by race time.

“Race day will be a different story,” he noted.

“The track will probably change some.”

Twenty-eight drivers among the three divisions participated in South Boston Speedway’s annual open practice event.

Track officials hosted a reception for area dignitaries including school and school system officials, members of the Halifax County School and members and officials of local governing bodies during the morning, with a handful of them taking rides around the track at speed in a two-seat racecar.




Late Model Stock Car Division

Bobby McCarty – 15.837 Sec. – 90.926 mph

Jeb Burton – 15.994 Sec. – 90.034 mph

Austin Thaxton – 15.996 Sec. – 90.023 mph

Thomas Scott – 16.094 Sec. – 89.474 mph

Bruce Anderson – 16.171 Sec. – 89.048 mph

Limited Sportsman Division

Mike Maresca – 16.132 Sec. – 89.264 mph

Danny Willis Jr. – 16.360 Sec. – 88.020 mph

Mike Jones – 16.436 Sec. – 87.613 mph

Charles Barnes – 16.507 Sec. – 87.236 mph

J.D. Eversole – 16.549 Sec. – 87.014 mph




Late Model Stock Car Division

Jeff Oakley – 15.672 Sec. – 91.884 mph

Jeb Burton – 15.674Sec. – 91.872 mph

Bobby McCarty – 15.698 Sec. – 91.732

Austin Thaxton - 15.794 Sec. – 91.174 mph

Thomas Scott – 15.817 Sec. – 91.041 mph

Limited Sportsman Division

Mike Maresca – 15.836 Sec. – 90.928 mph

Danny Willis Jr. – 15.922 Sec. – 90.441 mph

Tommy Peregoy – 15.950 Sec. – 90.282 mph

Mike Jones – 15.982 Sec. – 90.101 mph

Joey Throckmorton – 16.001 Sec. – 89.994 mph

Pure Stock Division

Nathan Crews – 18.147 Sec. – 79.352 mph

Bruce Mayo- 18.438 Sec. – 78.100 mph

Austin Milam – 18.560 Sec. – 77.586 mph

Harrison Walker – 19.188 Sec. – 75.047 mph

Jimmy Wade – 19.742 Sec. – 72.941 mph