The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 13, 2013

Beckley Motorsports Park stays safe

Black Gold 50 the main event this weekend

Safety is a major concern at Beckley Motorsports Park.

The 3/8th-mile, high-banked dirt facility at Prosperity takes every precaution to protect drivers, fans and workers.

“I don’t remember anyone getting hurt here, knock on wood,” track manager Joe Jackson said. “I don’t know if we’ve been lucky or if it’s because we really take safety as a No. 1 priority.”

Safety is on a lot of people’s minds since there have been a flurry of deaths at dirt tracks the past month.

NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died Wednesday night at a facility in New Jersey.

Leffler, who had two career victories in the Nationwide series, was driving a winged sprint car at Bridgeport Speedway when he crashed into a wall.

Three other racers died last month in crashes in Indiana and Nevada, and two people died in a pit row crash in California in March.

Jackson, whose day job is as a state trooper, obviously knows bad accidents, and he does all he can to prevent them at BMP.

“We try our best, but things will happen,” he said. “Last night shows how dangerous the sport really is.

“We’ve got guard rails that keep the cars, for the most part, within the confines of the race track.

“Before the season starts, we do a pre-inspection of all vehicles. We make sure everyone’s helmets and safety belts are up to date.

“We also look at roll cages and make sure the welding is good quality. The guys around here police themselves on safety and they do a good job of it.”

The Bradley-Prosperity Fire Department is always at every race, and Jan-Care provides an ambulance.

“If they’re not on the property, we’re not racing,” Jackson said.

With the week’s storms out of the way, it looks like beautiful nights for the track’s biggest weekend of the year, a two-day Super Late Models show that will bring in top racers from throughout the east coast.

In addition to the regular races, the track will have a 30-lap qualifier tonight that pays $2,000 to win.

Saturday night is the 50-lap Black Gold 50, co-sponsored by Little General Stores.

“We’ll pay $10,000 to win, and the total purse will be over $30,000,” Jackson said. “We’ve got drivers coming in from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and North Carolina — they’re the top of the food chain as far as Super Lates go.”

Gates will open at 4 p.m., with racing to start at 7 p.m. both days.

Last week’s racing was rained out.

n Points leaders at Beckley Motorsports Park:

Street Stocks — 1. Matt Schoolcraft 234, 2. Bradley Richardson 218, 3. Robert Richardson 206, 4. Hank Stover 192, 5. Robert Modley II 184.

Late Models — 1. Rick Williams 198, 2. Wayne Hughes 186, 3. Jeff Cox 166, 4. Brock Morris 148, 5. Adam Lilly 132.

AMRA Modifieds — 1. Tate Hughes 226, 2. Mike Duncan 206, 3. Michael Moore 196, 4. Keith Bills 186, 5. Dylan Shafer 176.

Crates — 1. Eddie Hambrick 194, 2. Tyler Cox 176, 3. Aaron Barley 160, 4. Shane Greco 158, 5. Joe Cox 146

Outlaw Streets — 1. Robert Walker 228, 2. Lenny Stafford 210, 3. Hope Lusher 160, 4. Rodney Cole 150, 5. Ryan Williams 138.

Hornets — 1. Brandon Adkins 226, 2. D.J. Critchley 222, 3. Devin Corns 210, 4. Patrick Raynes 192, 5. Jesse Raynes 184.

— E-mail: dstillwell@register-herald.com

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