There was a lot of excitement at the Brady Memorial Race at Carolina Motorsports Park with NASA Southeast this year. The weather was perfect for racing, competition school produced a lot of rookies for the weekend racing and Honda Challenge registered 12 competitors. There were two H1 Hondas in competition school for the weekend. First was Brett McWhorter, but he suffered a broken differential, which ended his weekend early. Second was Boston Maler, he finished with flying colors and came ready to race.
During qualifying, the track was a little damp so lap times were a little off pace, but that changed once the green flag dropped for the race. Setting pole for race on Saturday in H1 was the rookie Boston Maler — but wait, rookies start all the way in the back. So the real pole position and row one was taken by Andrew Hicks and Kevin Hennings, row two was Braeden Kelly and Shane Lovely, row three was Rob Oxford and Will Hunter and row four was Stephen Pearce. Pole and row one for H2 was Michael Kramer and Jesse Poage and row two was Wil McKenzie and the H1 Rookie Boston Maler.
By race time in the late afternoon, the track was hot and temperatures warranted the use of cool shirts for those who brought them. As they rolled around the last turn, the green flag dropped early so the front runners got a little jump on everyone else unless they had a radio. Shane Lovely got a great start and was about to pass for the lead, but the opening closed, he lifted and lost all momentum. Andrew Hicks held the overall lead and they quickly caught the back runners from the group ahead. Michael Kramer in H2 also got a great start, followed by Jesse Poage and Wil McKenzie. After the first lap, they all made their way around a few slower cars and a few German Touring Series cars limping into the pits and then it was clean track ahead. Michael Kramer, Jesse Poage and Wil McKenzie stay on the heels of H1 for a few laps before the two classes separate.
Michael Kramer H2 leader gradually slipped away from Jesse Poage and Wil McKenzie. Jesse Poage and Wil McKenzie were having a good race of their own until Jesse Poage developed overheating issues, fell off pace, then had to come in half way through the race.
A few laps into the race, Shane Lovely in his lightweight Civic pulled up on the two H1 leaders Andrew Hicks and Kevin Hennings but with not enough straightaway to finish the pass. Keven Hennings got a good run on Andrew Hicks coming out of the Carousel and slipped past to take the lead on lap three. A few turns later Shane Lovely sneaked past Andrew Hicks taking over P2 and set his focus on the leader Kevin Hennings. These three leaders had now set a comfortable gap on the rest of the H1 field who were having their own battles for position. Leading the second pack of H1 cars was Will Hunter followed by Rob Oxford, Braedon Kelly, Boston Maler and Stephen Pearce.
Andrew Hicks was separated from Kevin Hennings and Shane Lovely allowing the second pack to catch him. Will Hunter made a pass on Andrew Hicks and he was in the battle with the rest of the H1 field. By lap six, Stephen Pearce had worked his way from the back of the pack all the way to the front pack. Stephen Pearce got around Shane Lovely at “The Kink” and can now see the leader Kevin Hennings. Andrew Hicks continued to fight back with Will Hunter while Rob Oxford had his hands full with Braeden Kelly and Boston Maler all over his rear bumper. Boston Maler made a pass on Braeden Kelly on the white flag lap. When the checkered flag came out Kevin Hennings took the Win in H1 followed close by Stephen Pearce in P2 and Shane Lovely in P3. In H2 Michael Kramer took the win, followed closely by Wil McKenzie in P2 and Jesse Poage in P3.
Sunday’s grid for both races changed for H1 but H2 remained the same. H1 row one was Kevin Hennings and Stephen Pearce, row two was Shane Lovely and Will Hunter, row three was Rob Oxford and Andrew Hicks, row four was Boston Maler and Braeden Kelly. H2 row one was Michael Kramer and Jesse Poage and row two was Wil McKenzie.
When the green flag dropped Shane Lovely won the drag race to Turn 1, Man, that car was fast. Stephen Pearce and Kevin Hennings were right on his bumper looking for a way around. Shane Lovely made it clear if they wanted around, it would be the long way around. The rest of the class was a few seconds behind and the gap kept getting wider. In H2 Michael Kramer led the H2 field around the track for a few laps then Jesse Poage’s overheating issue returned and so he pulled in hoping to sort out the problem. Wil McKenzie moved up, saw Michael Kramer ahead and set his sight on catching the leader.
On lap four Stephen Pearce out braked Shane Lovely in turn 11, took the inside line but Shane held on as they went door to door all the way to the brake zone of Turn 14 where Stephen finally got around. Andrew Hicks got on the inside of Rob Oxford and they went door to door through a few turns but he was unable to complete the pass. On lap five, Braeden Kelly made a pass on Andrew Hicks and set his sights on Rob Oxford and Will Hunter. About half way in the race a Thunder Roadster spun in front of Stephen Pearce, Shane Lovely and Kevin Hennings, bringing out a waving yellow in Turn 12, which made them check up. As they started to pass the car that spun, he got going back on track and drag raced Stephen Pearce to the next corner and made him go door to door around Turn 14, allowing Shane Lovely to almost get back around Stephen Pearce on the front straight.
Michael Kramer developed car issues and came in with just a few laps to go, leaving Wil McKenzie the only H2 remaining on track. Braeden Kelly got side by side to Rob Oxford a few times but was unable to complete a pass. Will Hunter ran a solid race, making no mistakes, and he was able to keep the rest of the field behind him. Kevin Hennings showed Shane Lovely a wheel on the inside of Turn 11, but Shane Lovely held his line and pulled away by track out. On the next lap Kevin Hennings went flat through “The Kink” and made the pass on Shane Lovely going into Turn 11 and this time it stuck.
Shane Lovely never gave up and passed Keven Hennings back on the front straight then fumbled his shift into the wrong gear and gave it right back to Kevin Hennings. Stephen Pearce had a comfortable 5-, 6-second lead while Shane Lovely and Kevin Hennings have their battle for P2 and P3. Will Hunter held on to his lead, keeping a couple of car lengths in front of Rob Oxford who was busy keeping Braeden Kelly behind him with less than half a car length. Andrew Hicks and Boston Maler were right on the rear bumper of Braeden Kelly, so these five cars were all 3 seconds apart. When the checkered flag came out for H1, it was Stephen Pearce with the win, P2 was Shane Lovely and P3 was Kevin Hennings. In H2 Wil McKenzie took the win, P2 was Michael Kramer and P3 Jesse Poage.
Race number three for H1 had a new winner, Shane Lovely taking the win. P2 was Kevin Hennings and P3 was Will Hunter. H2 was Michael Kramer taking the Win and P2 was Wil McKenzie.