RECAP: Sold-Out Flat Rock School Bus Figure 8!

RECAP: Sold-Out Flat Rock School Bus Figure 8!

The conclusion of the 2023 season of racing at Flat Rock Speedway saw the running of the Dunwell Dry Goods School Bus Figure 8 race in front of a sold-out crowd!

This became the earliest sell-out in track history, with a wide-ranging crowd coming to Flat Rock to see one of the biggest races of the year.

Between last-lap passes, bus flips, boat chaos, and first wins, this evening of racing became one for the history books at Flat Rock, and one that should have everyone excited for what’s coming up next in 2024 in Metro Detroit.

Safety-Kleen Street Stocks

The ARCA Safety-Kleen Factory Stocks returned to action at Flat Rock Speedway, as Evan Batkins and Josh Bunting would start side-by-side at the start of the 25-lap feature event to kick out the sold-out night of action.

Brad Turner would quickly pass Bunting for third, placing Turner in second place behind Batkins.

A slew of cautions would marr the first portion of the 25 lap feature, with a high frequency of incidents to kick off the start of the feature. The feature wouldn’t take legs until around lap 7, when Brad Turner would begin to establish a lead after passing Batkins.

While trying to drive from the field, Turner would spin out of turn four, losing ten spots in the process.

Turner would scratch and claw through the field, helped by some more incidents and cautions that would soon come in the second half of the feature.

In the final laps, Josh Bunting and Evan Batkins would have a dramatic battle for the lead, neither driver giving an inch, but racing fair enough to give room.

On the restart, Turner would pass four cars in just five laps, and eventually take the lead while coming to the white flag with a smooth move on the outside of Josh Bunting.

This move would get the crowd on its feet, those in attendance enjoying the great short track racing that Flat Rock provided to kick off the night.

Josh Bunting would come home second with Evan Batkins and Dale Buttrey close behind. Trevor Buttrey would close out the top five.

James Rae, Matt Bunting, and Steve Smith would come home next, followed by Logan Bunting and Dennis Metdepenningen (in Rayce’s familiar #4 car) finishing out the top ten.

The Safety-Kleen Factory Stocks division will finish up their season next weekend on September 16th, with the season championships taking place as a part of the Glass City 200 Presented by DTS Drive Train Specialists and Courtyards by Marriott. Tickets are available now! Click here to learn more.

DTS Drive Train Specialists Street Stocks

Kenyon Knight would take his first DTS Drive Train Specialists Street Stocks feature win at Flat Rock,

Knight would take an early jump over Johnny Rangel in the #45 - another driver looking for his first feature win to close out the 2023 racing season.

Knight and Rangel would drive nose-to-tail for the first laps of the feature, neither driver giving an inch while Rob Moore Jr, Jeremy Vanderhoof, and more jockeyed for position behind the leaders.

The catalyst would come near lap 11, as Knight and Rangel would apprehend Bobby Stewart and Dale Cronenwett, side-by-side and close to being lapped by the leaders.

Rangel and Knight would both tangle with the lapped traffic, and in the ensuing movement, both Rob Moore Jr and Jeremy Vanderhoof would spin to the inside of the track, causing a caution.

In the restart, Knight would again jump out to the lead over Rangel, Landon Schuster and Douglas Litogot, who would jockey for second and third.

Rangel would keep the 2023 season champion honest, Not giving an inch for the entire race. However, Knight would stay truthful and steady at the wheel.

Knight would take an emotional first career win, with a big celebration in Monroe Asphalt Winners Circle to boot.

Jonny Rangel would come home in the runner-up position, followed by Landon Schuster and Douglas Litogot. Rob Moore Jr would come home to finish out the top five, and Greg Studt, Austin McKee, and Collin Barron would come home in sixth, seventh, and eighth. Kyle Metdepenningen (in Jeff’s familiar #78) and Jeremy Cronenwett would fill out the rest of the top ten.

R&M Recycling Figure 8

At the start of the 2023 season, many will remember Dennis Whisman Jr stepping out of the #2 car after winning a feature and embracing his newborn son, Dennis III.

At the conclusion of the 2023 racing season, it would be Dennis Sr stepping out of that same #2 car. This time, he would be hugging his son Dennis Jr.

Dennis Whisman Sr would take his first feature win of the season in the R&M Recycling Figure 8 division while driving his son’s #2 car, winning a shocker in a big 20-lap feature race.

The elder Whisman would start in the front over Billy Earley, Greg Stude, and Jakob Lee. The breakout battle would form with Whisman leading just over Earley and Studt, both drivers nearly under the rear bumper of the #2 car.

Dealing with lapped traffic near the end of the race, the three drivers would accordion to a stack, all three cars within three car lengths. This moment would allow for Studt to get past Earley, placing the 2022 champion of Bill Earley into the runner-up position on track.

Studt would begin to claw back, but not quick enough - Whisman Sr would take another big win at Flat Rock, parking his son’s number 2 in victory lane.

Flag Pole Race

In the flag pole race, Dave Lambert would take another win in one of the most unique races of the year. With a wide amount of cars partaking in this event, the chaos came at a faster rate than normal.

Lambert would take a wide-ranging lead, but would end up with one of the “flag-pole” tires stuck to the bottom of his car after a spin. He would drag this tractor tire around half of the track, before inadvertently setting it right next to the other tire on the front stretch.

Despite this wild moment, Lambert would still come home with the win, just over Kevin Stepinski in the #53, and Logan Bunting in the #6.

Boat Figure 8

The boat figure 8 proved to be one of the most action packed editions of this event in recent memory.

Greg Hunter took his first ever feature win at Flat Rock in incredible fashion. He started third in a feature that included six captains, which very quickly thinned to five, and then to three by the third minute of the race.

At the end, Dave Lambert, Greg Hunter and Nathan Padgett would be the final three boat captains in the running.

Hunter would hold a decent lead over the #02 Figure 8 and the #44 factory stock, but Lambert would close up and attempt to pass the #85 stock car of Hunter. The two drivers would have contact and as a result, Lambert’s boat would fling into the wall, and Hunter’s right rear tire would deflate.

Lambert would retire from the race due to a lost ship just seconds later, leaving the race to come down between the two factory stock drivers, only one with four working tires.

Padgett would quickly catch up to Hunter, and attempt a pass through the Flat Rock intersection.

With one quick flick by Greg Hunter, he strike the boat next to his, toppling over Padgett’s boat and taking the win as the last boat captain remaining.

The crowd erupted, giving a great deal of cheers to the #85 team and the rest of the members of a very entertaining boat race at Flat Rock Speedway.

Dunwell Dry Goods School Bus Figure 8

Kyle Worley took the checkered flag in the Dunwell Dry Goods School Bus Figure 8 race.

Worley started on the front row next to Jack Franzil in the Dunwell Dry Goods #56 bus, taking the early lead in his blue Budget Tire bus. Dennis Whisman Jr would attempt to pass around the outside of Worley, but both drivers would get together through the intersection. This would hand the lead back to Franzil, while Worley and Whisman would come to a stop near the second turn.

Two busses would flip over the course of the race, including Jack Franzil and Dennis Whisman Jr. Other busses would drop out due to mechanical issues, including Jeremy Vanderhoof who delighted the crowd with an impromptu front-stretch interview after flipping Jack Franzil’s bus.

By the end of the race, three busses would be left remaining - the Big #1 Auto Sales #11 of AJ Padgett, the Dunwell Dry Goods #56 of Jack Franzil, and the Budget Tire #15 of Kyle Worley. Padgett established a healthy lead, but his engine would experience damage as smoke flumed from the bus.

Worley would pass Franzil and then, coming to the white flag, would pass by Padgett on the outside.

Worley picked up an electric win in the Dunwell Dry Goods school bus figure 8, thanking the fans for another great year in Monroe Asphalt Winners Circle.

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We WILL be back next year at Flat Rock Speedway.

Stay Tuned!

Morgan R.

Nice write up Liam, but it sounds like you are still trying to cover over the big screw up of not having a Championship rain out date.  I have been attending Flat Rock for over 70 years and seen great racing, but I am still disappointed with the NO Rain Out date.  I attended Birch Run Raceway last night and what a Great Show!  I saw many of the FORMER and Current teams and drivers from Flat Rock and Toledo.  Many would have been at OUR RAIN OUT DATE!