Race Weekend Central

This Day in Dirt: Brent Crews Bests Sheldon Creed in Instant Classic Millbridge Opener

Dirt Racing’s Winning Moment: Defending Millbridge Speedway track champion Brent Crews prevailed in a heavyweight slugfest over Xfinity Series regular Sheldon Creed, winning the wingless micro sprint season opener at Millbridge in North Carolina Wednesday night (March 15).

Crews, who controlled the opening 18 laps of the race, saw his first serious challenge of the night come courtesy of local driver Tylen Trammel, but that was only a preview of the upcoming battle to come between Crews and Creed.

Dirt Racing’s Dramatic Moment: The last 10 laps of said micro feature. Watch the video above again. Wednesday night’s race may not be a race of the year candidate, but definitely a finish of the year candidate. The cavalcade of slide jobs thrown between Creed and Crews was clean and furious racing that was an example of how to run dirt. An absolute mid-week gem.

What Dirt Racing Fans’ll Be Group Chatting About This Morning

Any dirt fan worth their salt will be talking about the micro sprint feature at Millbridge Wednesday night or lying to say they stayed up to watch it. Though the new clay surface at Millbridge proved tricky, as the track did not develop its customary cushion, the first A-main of the new season set the bar extremely high for an already well-respected racetrack. For those with DirtVision, this track is required midweek viewing.

If I had one complaint about the night at Millbridge, it’s that whole “staying up” line. The A-main ending at roughly 10:45 in the evening is pushing it for a micro track on a weeknight. The decision to run both winged and non-wing micros on the same night is a class too far for this track.

This shouldn’t be something I have to celebrate, but thank you Millbridge Speedway for having a sensical rule in place that a spin sends a driver to the rear of the field, even if it’s lap 1. That rule is shockingly not a given in dirt racing.

Prior to Millbridge micros acting giant on track, the news story of the day was where the story of the weekend occurred, the Southern All-Stars late model tour. Wednesday saw the veteran series announce penalties for the violent dust-up between GR Smith and Ashton Winger at Southern Raceway Saturday that resulted in three arrests at the track.

Honestly, the series got it right with the penalties. Winger may have ended up in handcuffs on the night, but Smith was absolutely the on-track aggressor and was operating a racecar recklessly in defiance of series race officials Saturday night. The man has no business anywhere near a racecar exhibiting that type of behavior. 

See also
This Weekend in Dirt: Driver Ashton Winger Arrested After On, Off-Track Incidents at Southern Raceway

The fallout from the SAS announcement went beyond that tour. The XR Super Series announced that they too would sustain the suspensions that the SAS put in place, which is significant given that XR is co-sanctioning late model races with the Iron-Man Racing Series in the same region of the country. Here’s hoping more sanctions follow.

And even more telling, yesterday, before the SAS announced penalties, driver Payton Freeman, Smith’s teammate with the Gambler’s Transport Racing team, announced that he was leaving the organization and returning to his family-owned late model ride.

Real consequences for really bad actions. After watching NASCAR again try to discipline millionaire drivers and race teams Wednesday with points penalties and circus peanut fines, credit to dirt racing for actually showing a backbone.

See also
Hendrick Motorsports, Kaulig Racing, Denny Hamlin Hit with Penalties Following Phoenix

Listening to Millbridge announcer Steve Post run off the schedule of racing that was supposed to be on DirtVision this weekend, only to then be told that all three nights of World of Outlaws late model competition had already been canceled due to poor weather forecasts, sounded exactly like a kid that didn’t get an Xbox at Christmas.

And let’s be clear, there has been an absolute rash of races already canceled this weekend. In addition to WoO late model events at Boyd’s Speedway in Georgia and Smoky Mountain in Tennessee, the season-opening sprint car race at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio, the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series at Atomic in Ohio, the Shamrock Skirmish at Lavonia Speedway in Georgia and even the High Limit Sprint Car tour opener in California are already off the books for this weekend. 

Fingers crossed the weather stays dry in Pennsylvania this weekend.

Dirt Racing’s Heroes of the Day

Crews and Creed. Read above. Both proved their wheelman credentials for the way they dueled in the closing laps Wednesday night.

Dirt Racing’s Victim of the Night

Missouri’s Sam Johnson, who DirtVision reported has recently relocated to Mooresville, N.C. to pursue further racing exploits, missed the wingless micro A-main on Wednesday night … because he blew his engine running in the pole dash for said event. Doesn’t get much worse than that.

Numbers Game

1

Dirt track that ran an oval-track racing program in the U.S. Wednesday night (per MyRacePass and Race Monitor)

9.919

Lap time, in seconds, set by Cannon McIntosh during micro sprint qualifying Wednesday at Millbridge, a new track record.

35

Wingless micro sprints entered at Millbridge Wednesday, the largest car count of the four-class program.

Up Next: Frontstretch will be back Saturday morning with coverage of the World of Outlaws sprint cars’ first visit of 2023 to the Williams Grove Speedway as well as the Oil Capital Racing Series’ visit to Thunderbird Raceway in Oklahoma. Coverage can be found on DirtVision and Racin’ Dirt, respectively.

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