Johnny Pursley Captures Checkers In 17th Annual Skyler Trull Memorial Race


By Mark Huey, Carolina Clash Press


Purlsey gains triumph after post-race weight infraction voids Ferguson victory.


Gastonia, North Carolina (3/11/17) - Johnny Pursley finally got to lift the Skyler Trull Memorial Trophy high above his car this past Saturday night at Carolina Speedway. After coming across the start finish line as the race leader after lap 1, Pursley knew exactly how fast his car was and what its potential was.

"I really feel like we had one of the fastest cars here tonight. It was a good piece to drive and really thought we could have held the lead over most of the race until that (lap 18) caution."

Pursley led the first 15 laps of the race until pole sitter Chris Ferguson was able to rally passed Pursley at the start-finish line as a caution was being called. Scoring put Ferguson in front of Pursley at the point of caution and was credited with the race lead. Over the next two restarts, Ross Bailes powered around Pursley and began challenging Ferguson for the lead, putting Pursley in third. Over the next few restart attempts, Bailes pulled alongside of Ferguson but could never complete the pass. Then, as the race neared its final ten laps Ross Bailes slowed entering the third turn and a plume of steam erupted from the right front, an indication of a radiator puncture or water pump breaking. Bailes retired from the event to finish 12th after attrition sidelined 9 of the starting lineup of 22 during the first two-thirds of the event.

Ferguson would go on to pick up the win for his fourth Skyler Trull victory. However, while waiting to clear the scale area during post-race inspection, an announcement was made via the Carolina Speedway PA announcer that Ferguson was coming up "light at the scales." After several attempts to confirm the weight, it was declared his car did not meet post-race minimum weight (which is 2310 pounds given a "pound per green flag lap" burn-off rule as cars must weigh 2350 pounds during the event).

Pursley roared into victory lane for the win.

"There are so many people that worked hard to get this car ready. It was a good car all night. I have always wanted to win one of these races and we finally got it." Pursley was presented the trophy by Mr. Larry Trull who chairs the annual event in memory of his daughter Skyler.

Series newcomer Michael Brown of Pageland, SC (aka "Downtown") rallied from a 17th place starting spot to finish 5th in the grid. He earned the title of the events "Hard Charger of the Race." He is among several drivers who are eligible for the CarQuest Auto Parts Rookie of the Year. Michael Rouse, Brian Carswell and Tony Quarles are each eligible for the challenge thus far after race one.

Zack Mitchell stayed consistent over most of the event having been fifth to third and eventually finishing in second for his best series finish in recent months. Dennis Franklin started tenth and raced his way up to a third place finish. GR Smith made his return to Carolina Clash racing with a fourth place finish.

Rounding out the top ten were Donald Bradsher, Ricky Weeks, Jeff Smith, Scott Shirey and Ben Watkins.

Ricky Weeks and Ben Watkins were winners of the two heat races earlier in the event. Chris Ferguson was the fastest qualifier for the race and picked up a $500 bonus from the Trull Foundation for the triumph.

There were five former Carolina Clash champions represented in the top ten finishing results.

Willie "Wild Child" Milliken of Roanoke Rapids, NC is considering a run at the Carolina Clash Super Late Model title. Milliken turned many heads last season at Fayetteville Motor Speedway with a World of Outlaws triumph, which was eventually taken from him. Milliken won a Carolina Clash event there a few weeks later, after leading 39 of 40 laps at the Ed Gibbons Memorial Race, only to have Dennis Franklin slip beneath him for the pass for the win. Also, Michael Rouse of Wilson, NC was on hand for the event and could be a regular with the tour in his #23 entry.

The next series event is the inaugural Palmetto State Championship Clash at the Lancaster Super Speedway in Lancaster, SC on March 18, 2017.

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The Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series is sponsored by Heintz Performance, American Racer, Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Clarendon Auto Parts (CarQuest) Performance Tees, Franklin Signs and Graphics, Big As Custom Graphics, TRT Trailer Sales, and Thomas Clarke Performance.

Thanks to the race teams and the loyal drivers, racetracks and their fans who make this all possible!

Carolina Speedway "Skyler Trull Memorial" 3/11/17 Race Results

1. 09 Johnny Pursley
2. 57 Zack Mitchell
3. 2 Dennis Franklin
4. 22 GR Smith
5. 24 Michael Brown
6. 93 Donald Bradsher
7. 1 Ricky Weeks
8. 00 Jeff Smith
9. 10 Scott Shirey
10. 16 Ben Watkins
11. 03 David Yandle
12. 87 Ross Bailes
13. 421 Anthony Sanders
14. 23 Michael Rouse
15. 1 Willie Milliken

16. 49 Jonathan Davenport
17. 07 Brian Ledbetter
18. 42 Doug Sanders
19. 45 Shaun Medlin
20. 17 Brian Carswell

21. Q7 Tony Quarles

DQ - Chris Ferguson