In his first visit to the track as an adult, Nelson Mason pulls off the win on night one at the Dirt Track at Charlotte
Nelson Mason will have a difficult time forgetting how his first visit to the World Short Track Championships felt on opening night as the Niagara Falls, ON driver won the All-Star Invitational.
After competing at the track as a child in a Go-Kart, Mason and his father made the eight-hour trek down to the Concord, NC oval to try his luck in a DIRTcar Sportsman. He made every mile count, as he took home his first career victory Thursday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in the 15-lap, DIRTcar VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Feature.
Starting on the pole, Mason found himself accompanied by Derrick McGrew to his outside on the front row to start. He took full advantage of his starting position, shooting out in front. Kevin Ridley, who earlier had posted the night’s Quick Time, aggressively made a move simultaneously, jumping up to second place from fourth on Lap 1. The two frontrunners immediately started their heated battle towards the finish line, with Ridley close behind.
The jockeying continued for the next 13 laps, with Mason running the inside groove and Ridley running high on the outside.
“Holding (Ridley) back was a bit more of a challenge than maybe we are used to,” Mason said. “But I think I played my cards right. I knew he was probably running high somewhere, so he was probably getting runs on me. I was just trying to hold up his runs a bit and get out of (Turn) 2 and (Turn) 4 strong to make sure that he couldn’t take a look, and it worked.”
Ridley was able to close the gap significantly on the last lap going into Turn 3 and Turn 4, relentlessly battling until the checkered flag fell. But the #35 was too strong for Ridley and the rest of the field, as he crossed the finish line first to send himself to Victory Lane.
“It’s huge (to get the win here),” Mason said. “I genuinely have been looking forward to (The Dirt Track at Charlotte) the whole year, and honestly the last two years. I wanted to come here knowing we had everything right and in the best position possible. Since I switched to dirt racing last year, this was the goal. Now we have one win and want to close it out with the big one on Saturday, but I’m super stoked.”
Kevin Ridley finished in the runner-up position, while two-time World Short Track Feature winner David Rogers rounded out the podium in third.
Michael Wright finished in fourth place and Derrick McGrew finished in fifth place.
The DIRTcar Sportsman will return to action on Friday, Oct. 27, for their eight lap Heat Races that will help set the field for Saturday’s Feature (Oct. 28) to close out the event.
All-Star Feature (15 Laps): 1. 35-Nelson Mason; 2. 20X-Kevin Ridley; 3. 44-David Rogers; 4. 0-Michael Wright; 5. 49M-Derrick McGrew; 6. 22C-Cedric Gauvreau; 7. 318-Dave Richer; 8. 92-Andrew Buff; 9. 35T-Cameron Tuttle; 10. 23-David Dickey; 11. 10-Chelsie Kriegisch; 12. 51-Kreg Crooker; 13. 32C-Carter Crooker; 14. 03-Joshua Jock; 15. 52-Jessica Power; 16. 44S-Gordon Smith; 17. 49-Chris Jakubiak; 18. 5C-Ayden Cipriano; 19. 72-Ray Hall Jr; 20. 813-Jason Quenneville