MANY, Louisiana (Oct. 14, 2023) — Regional powerhouse Wyatt Wilkerson, open-wheel veteran Derick Grigsby and rising Stock car pilot C.J. Howell all won features in their respective divisions, as Bubba Jones and his staff hosted Championship Night on Saturday at Sabine Speedway.
Wilkerson was awarded the victory in Crate Late Model action after apparent winner Robby Stewart failed post-race technical inspection; Grigsby prevailed in a talent-filled affair for Limited Modifieds; while Howell powered to victory in a hotly-contested Factory Stock tilt.
Tracy Korp (FWD) and Joshua Worn (Sportsters) were also feature winners on the final night of racing for 2023 at the popular Louisiana oval.
Wilkerson, of Sweet Lake, Louisiana, started fifth on a 20-car grid and ran near the front all race long. David Winslett crossed the stripe in third but was bumped up to second with Stewart's DQ, while Rob Litton filled out the podium.
Brent Stewart and Mark Underwood Jr. finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Foy Motors Crate Late Model A Main were Austin Storm, Brock Williams, Talan Willis, Stacy Veuleman and Jonathan Babin. Four cautions slowed the pace, all for minor incidents. Robby Stewart was quickest in Time Trials with a blistering lap of 14.765 seconds.
Willis, Robby Stewart and Litton won their respective qualifying Heats earlier in the evening, while Veuleman won the B Main. Wilkerson took home a cool $1,800 for his efforts on Saturday evening.
Grigsby, of Marshall, Texas, started third on a 20-car Limited grid, drove to the outside of Trevor Strother coming off Turn 4 to take control at lap three and narrowly edged Ralo Pilkington at the line to record his 10th win of the year. Michael King Jr. filled out the podium.
Ethan Bailes and 14-year-old phenom Talan Willis rounded out the top five.
“I don't know how he (Pilkington) was getting his car to stick on the bottom down here on this end like he was,” Grigsby told veteran announcer Zach Clark. “I know that's a good car, because that's my old race car. I think I may have burned the right rear tire off; I was getting slower and slower as we ran.
“I was just trying to hold him off at the end, that's all we could do. I've always enjoyed racing here; but it's a two and a half hour drive. With family and business, it's hard to get down here. But I really enjoy coming here. I appreciate all of our great sponsors for their support.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the BOM Bank USRA Limited Modified feature were Stephen Guidry, Michael Stafford, Darryl Seals, Jimmy Byrd and Justin Firmin. Six cautions slowed the pace (laps 0, 1, 2, 2, 4, 4), most for minor spins. Grigsby won by a mere .032 of a second.
Howell, of Dry Prong, Louisiana, started eighth on a 20-car grid, drove to the outside of Ross Cook coming off Turn 4 to take command at lap six and pulled steadily away to earn his 11th win of 2023. John Parker Jr. gave chase throughout yet settled for second, while Ross Cook filled out the podium.
T.J. Evans wheeled his way up from 16th to claim fourth, while Michael Harlow was fifth.
“I was down on myself after the Heat race,” Howell said in Victory Lane. “I struggle when it's a little slimy. Shane Hebert is excellent with track prep; he did a great job the last three times he did it. Most of these guys won't run the outside, but you've got to go somewhere to pass. It's just so competitive.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the Sideline Graphics USRA Factory Stock A Main were Shawn Graham, Dalton Dubois, Dakoda Wyatt, Blane Perkins and Doug Vick Jr. Three cautions slowed the pace, all for minor spins. Howell's margin of victory over Parker was a comfortable 1.823 seconds.
Saturday's Championship Night at Sabine Speedway drew a whopping 127 entries spread across five divisions. Led by the ever-popular Limited Modifieds with 40 and Factory Stocks with 30, talent occupied every nook and cranny of the pit area as another season drew to a close.
Officials cranked out 16 qualifying Heats in short order, then ran the B Mains and their exciting A Mains without any significant delays. Jones and his staff have refined their product/show a great deal in 2023.
You can replay all of the action from Saturday's Championship Night at Sabine Speedway with a subscription at RaceOnTexas.com. With over 400 events on the Live steaming schedule in 2023, it's home to some of the best content available.
When you sign up today, select one of two options (OnDemand or All Access), choose your favorite or hometown track, and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can't attend in person.
By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer