As the cool, sunny weather rolled into the Volusia Speedway Park area on Sunday night, four divisions of adrenaline-fueled racing commenced for the finale to the Labor Day Classic.
After four Feature races, Garret Stewart, Alan Peacock, Kole Platt, and Ron Adams claimed victory at the “World’s Fastest Half Mile”.
604 Late Models
Sunday’s 604 Late Model Feature did not disappoint, with shocking twists and an old face returning to Volusia Speedway Park Victory Lane in over a year.
The majority of the Feature was controlled by Valdosta, GA’s Cole Exum and Jupiter, FL’s Clay Harris, with both drivers fighting to lead the 25-lap Feature.
All of a sudden, with two laps to go, Exum and Harris suffered mechanical failures, ending their nights and chances to win.
The lead was then inherited by Fruitland Park, FL’s Garret Stewart. He had to endure multiple restarts and a couple of close calls, but the #67 hung on and won his first Volusia Speedway Park race in a 604 Late Model.
After years of dominating the track championship in a DIRTcar UMP Modified, Stewart considers the win on Sunday night more special than his first UMP Modified win.
“I think it’s more special than that.” Stewart said. “This has been the toughest journey I’ve ever had. To go from winning 5-10 races a year to being winless here. There’s been times I have ran outside of the top 10. It has been a culture shock for me, and these (604 Late Model drivers) are really really good. We’ve just been digging as hard as I know. It’s tested me, but to have my family and crew in victory lane.”
Starke, FL’s Jason Garver finished second to Stewart, but continuously kept the pressure on. For Garver, this was the start of an impressive night, where he raced all four Feature races, and finished inside the top five in all four races.
Though he did not come home with a Feature win, Garver was happy to have fast cars and a clean night for racing.
“It was a lot of work.” Garver said. “I don’t know why we do it, but I enjoy racing and my crew loves to race. But man, if you figure out four races you should at least win one. That sucks, but any time you don’t tear anything up, and have good, competitive cars, you can’t ask for much more than that. I wanna thank all of my crew and people that come and help or support us.”
Ft. White, FL’s Nevin Gainey completed the podium, after winning his Heat race earlier in the night. Current division points leader Dustin Carter finished fourth, making a statement result in the championship fight, leading by 30 points over Joe Kump. Completing the night’s top five included Ormond Beach, FL’s Tim Swartz, who moved up 13 positions to become the Feature’s Hard Charger.
602 Late Models
The youth movement has arrived in the 602 Late Models, and they are ready for more.
On Sunday night, rookie Kole Platt led the 602 Late Models Feature from start to finish, earning his first career Volusia Speedway Park win at the Labor Day Classic.
The Callahan, FL driver earned early success in dirt karting, but has had to take some time to get comfortable in his #44P 602 Late Model. That time has paid off for Platt.
“This is awesome, really.” Platt said. “It’s a big difference, some say it is the same, but it’s not. These are harder to drive, but it feels good when everytime before we’ve come up short. To finally get it done feels so good. I wanna thank my dad and mom, gigi and papa, and everybody that’s put a hand into this car. This is cool.”
Jason Garver finished second in the Feature, but had to hold off the fast field behind him to grab the position. Finishing third was Cole Exum, who was catching the leaders before it was too late.
Rounding up the top five included Nevin Gainey, and current division points leader Austin Leamon, who leads Adam Bennett by 31 points heading into the season finale on September 16.
Pick Your Part Street Stocks
Domination. That is all that can be said about Alan Peacock’s performance on Sunday, who led every lap of the 20-lap race to win a caution-free Feature in his #17 Pick Your Part Street Stock.
When the green flag dropped, Peacock, who started on front row, jumped straight to the lead, and never looked back with a clean track ahead of him. It marks Peacock’s second win in a row in the Pick Your Part Street Stocks this season.
Finishing second was current points leader Chris Mathis, who leads Peacock by 25 points heading into the season finale. Watch these two fight valiantly for the championship in two weeks.
Completing the Feature podium was 2022 champion Bruce Griffin. Though it has not been the championship defense he wanted, Griffin has continued to put the pressure on at the front of the field when he has a clean car.
The top five finishers also include Clewiston, FL’s Tommy Hill, and Jason Garver inside the top five for his third of four top-five finishes on Sunday.
The race for the championship has become more helpful for Daytona Beach, FL’s Ron Adams, who won his second Thunder Stocks Feature in a row.
Adams did not have it easy during the Feature, with Jason Garver and Scotty Kay Jr sharing the lead throughout the 20-lap Feature. Once Adams took the lead late in the race, he was able to hang on to win his second race in 2023.
The win also boosts Adams’ points lead in the division, holding a 38 point gap over second place running Tanner Thomas.
Garver finished second, completing his run of three podium finishes out of the four Feature races ran. Kay Jr barely lost out on the win, but a third-place finish is satisfaction for the Okeechobee, FL native.
Running inside the top five were Tommy Hill, and Orlando, FL’s Justin Reynolds.
The next race on Volusia Speedway Park’s schedule is the Season Finale, on Saturday, September 16. The weekend will include the 604 Late Models, 602 Late Models, DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, 3/4 Modifieds, Thunder Stocks, and the Pick Your Part Street Stocks. Pit Gates and Grandstand Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. EST, with Hot Laps beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST.
If you can’t make it to the track, watch the action live on DIRTVision – available either online or through the DIRTVision app.
For the latest on Volusia Speedway Park, follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and at VolusiaSpeedwayPark.com.