The final night of DIRTVision Hornet racing at the eighth annual World Short Track Championship Saturday night continued the theme of wild action, first time winners, big thrills and emotional celebrations.
Dan Benson and Zachary Slone swept the weekend, both winning their Friday and Saturday Features – extending their World Short Track title count to three – while Dale Bennett picked up his first win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte after a 15-lap brawl.
With more than 60 cars returning for the weekend finale, the field was again split into three 15-lap Features.
Here’s how each Feature played out:
FEATURE #1: After finishing 11th on during the first night of DIRTVision Hornet action, Dale Bennett was given a chance for redemption Saturday night by drawing the pole for the 15-lap Feature.
He made the most of that chance on the start, launching ahead of the 20-car field. He held a comfortable lead over second-place Kylee Laws before a caution came out on Lap 2. When the race resumed, Willie Fowler had a video game like start, rocketing from seventh to the lead by Turn 2.
Fowler and Bennett made contact on the exit of the turn, allowing Laws to sneak under them both and make a three-wide pass for the lead. But before she could try and pull away, another caution slowed the race.
When the race resumed, Bennett would not let her get away. He lurked and lurked, lap after lap. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting to make the right move. Then, on Lap 7, he powered ahead of Laws to reclaim the lead. She tried to cross back underneath him, but Bennett was too strong up top.
While he held control of the race after that, Daniel Wright tried to make him worry toward the end. The #4 had charged his way up through the field from 12th, making his way to second on Lap 9. He closed within a couple tenths of Bennett with three laps to go, close enough to send the high pitch of his motor through Bennett’s eardrums.
But Bennett didn’t falter. Maintaining his line around the 4/10-mile track, the Taylors, SC driver cruised to his first World Short Track Championship triumph.
“It means a lot,” Bennett said about his win. “Tonight, the track was smooth. We were able to keep the tire on the rim tonight. I learned a lot from yesterday. It means a lot to me.”
Wright finished second and Friday night winner Wayne Taylor rounded out the podium. Kenneth Colf finished seventh, continuing his popular top-10 streak at World Short Track.
RESULTS (15 Laps): 1. B1-Dale Bennett; 2. 4-Daniel Wright; 3. 14-Wayne Taylor; 4. 25X-David McManus; 5. 3B-Brad McManus; 6. 2D-Daniel Tate; 7. 15-Kenneth Colf; 8. 25J-Josh Whitfield; 9. 66-Mike Crickmore; 10. T3JR-Riley Hill; 11. 47-Michael Gelhausen; 12. 38-Rodney Grant; 13. 19-Willie Fowler; 14. 513-Charles Jones; 15. 58-Ronnie Hall; 16. 1X-Hunter Wallace; 17. (DNS) 1B-Kayli Wallace; 18. (DNS) 1H-Justin Harris; 19. (DNS) 8-Charles Johnson; 20. (DQ) 2-Kylee Laws
FEATURE #2: When the green flag dropped for the second 15-lap DIRTVision Hornet Feature of the night, you would have thought Kevin Weaver had 50 more horsepower than the rest of the field. Timing his start perfect, the #21 car was like a stealth fighter against crop dusters, flying around the outside of the track to go from sixth to first by the exit of Turn 2.
Friday’s winner Zachary Slone, of Fort Mill, SC, was on the same flight path, going from 12th to second on the first lap. While Weaver had a heroes start, Slone had no interest in letting him wear the cap for long.
Hovering behind Weaver for the first few laps, Slone saw a chance to strike on Lap 3 and returned to where he left off on Friday.
While he led, second became hotly contested, going to Travis Lankford for a bit before being handed back to Weaver. Then, with five laps to go, Steve Herring moved his way into the runner-up spot after having started 19th.
Herring was on the hunt to not finished second two nights in a row and try to score his first World Short Track victory. However. Slone was too strong and pulled away with his third World Short Track win at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
“The track was a little different than last night,” Slone said. “We had to throw the kitchen sink at it to try and make it turn. We ended up making it work. I was happy to pull it off and win again.”
Herring ended up second for the second straight night, Lankford finished third, Weaver ended up fourth and Rusty E. Catoe rounded out the top five.
RESULTS (15 Laps): 1. 91Z-Zachary Slone; 2. 78-Steven Herring; 3. F1-Travis Lankford; 4. 21-Ricky Weaver; 5. 5R-Rusty E Catoe; 6. 21W-Marc White; 7. 18E-William Estep; 8. 0-Shawn Peche; 9. 41-Kevin Saam; 10. 17P-Rocco Procaccini; 11. D2-Danny Tate; 12. 00W-Michael Wallace; 13. 11S-Jonathan Sarratt; 14. 91-Shawn Payne; 15. 78F-Ethan Fowler; 16. 12X-Carl Cole; 17. (DNS) 22-Trent Blackwell; 18. (DNS) 17-Yem Sanlaeid; 19. (DNS) 41G-Parker Griffin; 20. (DNS) 212-Mitchell Coggins
FEATURE #3: Dan Benson was Mr. World Short Track Championship this week. He was the fastest car in practice Thursday night. He won Friday night’s Feature. And then capped off the weekend by also dominating Saturday nights Feature – his third straight World Short Track Championship win.
“It feels great,” Benson said about his impressive weekend. “I’ve been coming here for four or five years now. I went from finishing fifth, which was my first time here and I was hooked ever since, and when I came back, I did another fifth, a third, a third. Then, a first, a first, and a first. Coming here, studying it, knowing the track and knowing how it is going to end up at the end of the night, it is always super smooth and perfect. But it is slick, and it pushes. Being set up for that is a big key to keep your speed, especially through the corners here.”
Benson, of Lancaster, SC, started on the outside pole but took the lead on the first lap and never looked back.
Behind him, Seth Smith made a quick march forward, going from 16th to fourth in the first lap and then jumped to second on Lap 3. However, his hopes of moving up another spot stopped there. Benson maintained a second lead on him the whole race.
At the end of the 15-lap adventure, Benson crossed the line 1.1 seconds ahead of Smith in second. Tyler Hopkins finished third, Reggie Twing was fourth and Andrew Rich rounded out the top five.
RESULTS (15 Laps): 1. 21C-Dan Benson; 2. 243-Seth Smith; 3. 888-Tyler Hopkins; 4. 5-Reggie Twing; 5. A00-Andrew Rich; 6. 11V-Tyler Vaughan; 7. 27-Chris Jaret; 8. 359-Michael Lambert; 9. 11J-Jaycob Johnson; 10. 4T-Tyler Smith; 11. 5B-Chris Baker; 12. 18-Josh Paschal; 13. 27M-Keitha Martin; 14. A2-Carson Venable; 15. (DNS) 328-Christopher Gardner; 16. (DNS) 21A-Adam Warr; 17. (DNS) 13X-Ben Messer; 18. (DNS) M81-Mason Stancil; 19. (DNS) A53-Austin Haskin