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Meet the drivers: Late Models

For the inaugural OneDirt World Short Track Championship held Oct. 20-22, 66 Late Models took to the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a chance to race against the best drivers from across the United States and Canada.

Luke Fleming

Name: Luke Fleming
Class: Late Models
Hometown: Mount Airy, NC
Age: 29
Home Track: Friendship Speedway

Luke Fleming from Mount Airy, North Carolina will make the short-trek south to the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the OneDirt World Short Track Championships. Fleming, a former-regular at the Bowman-Grey Stadium in Winston-Salem recently made the switch from pavement Late Model and Modifieds to Dirt Late Models. The 29-year-old now calls Friendship Speedway his home track. With fewer than a dozen dirt races under his belt, Fleming is looking forward to the big stage of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “Just being able to race at the track I’ve been going to watch for several years now will be a highlight,” said Luke Fleming, driver of the No.13 Late Model.

Fleming grew up around dirt with his Dad, but when he was old enough to start racing they started to go pavement racing. “I work a normal job, so the schedule in the dirt world is much more friendly. I am able to show up the day of the race and not miss any practice unlike in the pavement world where most times you need to be there days in advance,” added Fleming on why he made the switch to dirt racing.”

Fleming is aiming to make the feature event and if he can get a top-10 finish he would consider that a successful event for him.

 

Furman Parton

Name: Furman Parton
Class:
Late Model
Hometown: Union Mills, NC
Age: 47
Home Track: Cherokee Speedway – Friendship Speedway

Furman Parton, a regular at the Cherokee Speedway is a veteran of dirt Late Model racing. With 14-years experience under his belt, Parton is able to say he is a winner at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Parton has a couple feature wins at the lightning-fast, fourth-tenths-mile oval, including this past May in the Late Model division with his crate motor late model.

The 47-year-old got his start in racing by racing motocross. After eight years, he made the switch to Legends Cars where he raced with his Dad, and his brother. Parton continued on his racing career while his father and brother took to the sidelines for support. Parton made the switch to Super Late Models however after the rigorous travel schedule Parton decided to scale back and run at the local dirt tracks. In a recent phone interview, Parton mentioned he enjoys racing locally because it allows more time with his wife, Amy Joe and his three daughters, Ali, Shay and Keeley.

 

Ryan Atkins

Name: Ryan Atkins
Class: Late Models
Hometown: Mount Airy, NC
Age: 29
Home Track: Friendship Speedway – Travels on the SECA Circuit

“Winning” that’s the mindset that Ryan Atkins has going into the ONEDIRT.comOneDirt World Short Track Championship. “I love Charlotte, everything about it. This is a great event, good money but I’d probably race for a hot dog if it was at Charlotte,” said Ryan Atkins driver of the No. 926 Late Model. The Mount Airy, North Carolina-native runs a family-operated race team has a little extra incentive returning to the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Earlier this year in May, Atkins’ cousin suddenly passed-away. He was someone that was always around and helping out mentioned Atkins during a phone interview. Since the second-half of the 2016 season Atkins renumbered his car from 9 to 926 to pay remembrance to his late-cousin. The number symbolizes his cousin’s birthdate. Look for Atkins to stake his claim for the $4,000 pay-day during the Late Model main event.

 

Rich Kuiken Jr

Name: Rich Kuiken Jr.
Class: Late Models
Hometown: Staffordville, NJ
Resides: Concord, NC
Age: 25
Home Track: Cherokee Speedway – Friendship Speedway – Carolina Speedway

Rich Kuiken, Jr. cut his teeth in racing in New Jersey where he started racing quarter-midgets at the age of 6. It was college that brought Kuiken Jr. to North Carolina, where he studied and earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering. The 25-year-old works in a Charlotte area wind tunnel. Currently residing in Concord, North Carolina, Kuiken Jr. lives a short distance from the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “The prestige of the track, the amount of fans that attend the races at the Dirt Track is what I am looking forward to most,” said Rich Kuiken Jr. “I’m still fairly new in the Late Model division so my goal really is to qualify then we can re-evaluate from there.” The Stafford, NJ-native comes from a long-line of racing history. Ray Kuiken, who raced under the name Ray Cook, was a NASCAR Modified Champion at Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ in 1955.

Kuiken, Jr. made the switch from asphalt-racing to dirt racing after the expenses and competition started to pull up. Kuiken Jr. mentioned that the competition on the dirt side of racing is great and it can be very economical compared to other series. Look for Kuiken Jr. to make his fourth start at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the OneDirt World Short Track Championships.

All Late Model Drivers:

Corey Almond
Walker Arthur
Ryan Atkins
Eddie Baggs
Ross Bailes
Tyler Bare
Billy Beachler
Chastin Blackwell
Donald Bradsher
Dustin Brim
Kyle Bronson
Dillon Brown
Michael Brown
Kolby Cannon
Trey Compton
Jeff Cooke
Zack Dohm
Ben Faircloth
Chris Ferguson
Christopher Fleming
Luke Fleming
Brandon Ford
Mike Franklin
Corey Gordon
Chub Gunter
Timmie Harrelson
Benji Hicks
Justin Hudspeth
Trent Ivey
Colby Jenerette
Jeffery Johnson
Benji Knight
Cla Knight
Jason Knowles
Rich Kuiken
Matt Lawson
Kyle Lee
Jacob Lehn
Matt Long
Brian Lynn
Timbo Mangrem
Michael Maresca
Caleb Morgan, Jr.
Brandon Overton
Jose Parga
Furman Parton
Furman Parton
Kent Peckham
Kenny Peeples, Jr.
James Plemmurs
Bob Robertson
Jeff Robinson
John Ruggiero, Jr.
Adam Smith
David Smith
Blake Spencer
Chris Steele
Travis Steele
Daniel Stolte
Jeremy Strunk
Layton Sullivan
Christian Thomas
Phillip Thompson
Brandon Umberger
Rickey Weeks
Mark Whitener
Pearson Williams