SALISBURY, N.C. – It took a while to get there, but calamity struck big during the 30-lap non-winged micro feature that headlined Tuesday’s portion of the TRD Micro Showdown at Millbridge Speedway.
An H3 Photography Flip Count which held stagnant through 174 laps of preliminary competition – including 38 two-lap qualifying runs, six eight-lap heats, three 10-lap qualifiers and a pair of 10-lap B-mains –ended up quadrupling by the time half of the night’s $2,000-to-win main was complete.
Two major incidents served as the culprits.
The first occurred on lap 11, when a furious battle for position in the middle of the field led to then-14th-place Nash Ely getting tipped off the berm and sent into a double barrel roll in the first turn.
Ely’s all-white Big Al Motorsports No. 97b was the only one from his team to make it into the feature, beating out stablemates Joe B. Miller and Scotty Milan in the second B-main, but his night ended spectacularly after joining Coby Adams’ practice flip on the official end-over tally for the week.
The chaos wasn’t over at that point, however.
Coming to complete lap 14, the Vance & Hines No. 75 of 12-year-old Brent Crews got a shot from behind that sent his car out of shape, and as Crews tried to correct the car turned dead right and went straight into the outside wall on the frontstretch.
The wall contact sent Crews’ car flipping violently, and as it moved down the track slightly it came straight into the path of James Morris – who was trying to avoid the careening Crews entry.
Unfortunately, Morris wasn’t lucky enough to do so and clipped one of Crews’ tires, which launched his No. 20 into a violent triple barrel roll before Morris’ machine came to rest in the infield at the entry to turn one.
Though it took several minutes for cleanup and safety crews to complete their work, both Crews and Morris both exited their cars under power and were seen walking in the pit area at the end of the night.
Morris took some time to explain his view of what happened as his mangled car was brought back to his pit on a forklift.
“I’m not quite sure exactly what all happened. I saw a car start to flip in the fence, so I tried to get low in the straightaway and I guess I just didn’t get low enough,” noted Morris. “I’m not sure where we made contact as far as my car, but it’s pretty tore up right now after all that.”
Morris added that, as a driver, there’s a lot that goes through one’s mind when a flip like his begins.
“For me, it was more of an ‘oh crap, not again,’ sort of feeling,” Morris explained. “But it’s definitely nerve wracking, you know? I mean, micro racing … some people do it for a living, but I don’t. I’ve got to wake up and go to work on Monday morning. So it definitely gets scary, but the track was awesome tonight. I loved it and I love this place. Bad luck just happens in racing sometimes. If everybody had good luck and everybody was doing well in this sport, everybody would win and whatnot. So it is what it is.”
Crews respectfully declined a full interview after his crash, but noted that he was “OK aside from a headache” and that his car was “pretty totaled.”
Neither driver was sure on Tuesday night about their participation for Wednesday’s portion of the program, but Morris noted that he hopes to fix his car and compete in the winged program if the damage is repairable.
“We’ll try to see if we can fix it for tomorrow,” he said. “I haven’t really gotten a chance to take a look at the frame, but I’d really love to do the winged race tomorrow too if we can put her back together.”
Wednesday’s TRD Micro Showdown program will be headlined by a $5,000-to-win winged micro sprint feature, with Intermediate and Open outlaw karts joining in the fun.
Pit gates open at 3 p.m., with the drivers meeting set for 5:15 p.m. and hot laps starting at 6 p.m.