Spring Nationals’ maiden trip to Buckshot Speedway

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

It was a historic night at Buckshot Speedway on March 31 as The Bullseye hosted the Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series for the first time in track history. In the fifth race of the series’ schedule, Milton, Florida’s Joseph Joiner started second and led all forty circuits in route to the win as 32 super late models came out for the race.

“A lot of fans came out tonight, and a bunch of good race cars showed up tonight with some national-level teams even … We were able to buzz through there and keep our nose clean and get the win,” Joiner said. “That speaks volumes of the race track to draw this kind of crowd to show up on a Friday night. We are blessed to be the ones that won the race here.”

The Spring Nationals’ night began with two groups of qualifying that saw Haiden Cowan go fastest in the first group, and Joiner go fastest in the second group. The top five from each group locked themselves into the main event later in the night, and the other 22 cars were sent to the B-Main races to set the rest of the field.

In the B-Mains, Mike Marler and Stephen Brantley each won their respective races from the pole, and the top five finishers from the races moved in the main event.

After provisionals, 21 super late models started the main event, and Joiner wasted little time jumping on Cowan and taking the lead. Ashton Winger, who started outside row three, slipped back early on but made some impressive moves on the outside to jump up to second with less than 15 laps to go. Winger blew a tire a few laps later, and Tyler Clem, who was also running in the top five, had an engine expire to open the door for some new faces front.

On the restart with 14 laps to go, Joiner retained the lead and managed lap traffic to cruise to his first win in the Spring Nationals Series and the $7,553 payout.

“I was able to maintain our lead and not get bogged down at the bottom,” Joiner said. “Whenever you can maneuver that wide, and these race cars are wide, and at the speed we are running, it is hard to get side-by-side with somebody. When the race track can allow that, it shows the track is really good.”

Joiner had been to Buckshot twice before his super-model win and won both times.

“This place has been really good to us, and I enjoy racing here,” Joiner said. “It is a fun track, and it is unique and its own place.”

Buckshot also had its own classes running on March 31, including the 602 late models where 18-year-old Preston Walden captured the checkered flag. The Gardendale native led flag to flag in a wild 602 main event. Brandon Crosby and Brent Cartwright got together on a late-race restart and Crosby got the worst of it while Cartwright continued on. Walden managed the last green-white-checkered restart to take the win.

In the factory stock, Clanton native Derrick Price edged out Greg Wilkins for the win for his first of the season at his home track. Price won both factory stock races over the weekend, both over Wilkins.

604 late model race winner, and Joiner’s teammate, Jesse Enterkin took home the 604 main event. Also from Milton, Florida, it was Enterkin’s first time at Buckshot, but he has come up with his teammates before.

“It is an awesome track,” Enterkin said. “They are trying really hard, and they are getting it up to par to be able to host these big races, so I think they are doing a great job. The track is good every time we come, and we love coming here to race.”

Odenville native Zachary Matthews got his first win at The Bullseye in the open-wheeled modifieds. Matthews was the only modified to come out to the practice the day before, and it paid off with the win.

“It helped a lot (getting practice in),” Matthews said.

In the buzz classes, J.J. McAvoy from Wellborn won the six-cylinder race in his third trip to Buckshot. McAvoy finished runner-up in his previous two starts at the track. Logan McVey won his second career race at Buckshot in the four-cylinder race, having won his first career start at the track as well.

Buckshot also hosted a second night of racing on April 1 that featured the 604 and 602 late models, open-wheeled modifieds, factory stock and buzz four-cylinder classes.

“I loved (the Spring Nationals Series) here, it is a dream and what you dream to have,” Buckshot owner Billy Wilkins said. “What a race tonight. It is amazing, and I am just blessed to be a part of it.”