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2007 MMRA Grand National Race - East
Shenandoah Speedway - Shenandoah, Virginia

The 2007 East Grand National race wrapped up a great season in fine style.  Our racers enjoyed beautiful weather, a fabulous facility, and good close racing throughout the weekend, as we had the entire complex to ourselves.  After hours of practice on Friday, all eyes were on the timer to see who would earn the precious bonus point for setting fast time in each division.  In three out of four divisions, the points leader didn't set fast time, so the point standings got even closer as race day loomed.  Here are the pole times by division:

Future Stars - Joey Greening - 19.546 seconds
Open Division - Robert Kuczmarski - 18.672
Junior PRO - Kenneth Mayfield - 17.458
PRO Division - Kevin Bush - 16.542

First up on raceday was a fan appreciation event where all cars were positioned on the frontstretch for fans to come down to meet the drivers.  The tracks announcer roamed through the crowd conducting ad-hoc interviews and the fans got to pick their favorites for the upcoming feature events.

The first event of the evening was the Junior PRO division.  This second year division of MMRA has a bright future as new kids are joining, and more are eyeing the chance to get behind the wheel of the Baby Grand racecars.  The 5 competitors in this race showed they are well qualified to handle the cars, and they put on a good show.  Polesitter and early leader Kenneth Mayfield was doing all he could do to win the championship, but his car developed a miss and he was passed by Mary Daniels who seemed to be a fan favorite based on the cheers.  Mary went on to win both the race and the championship at the track where her sister won her first PRO Division Touring series race a year earlier.  After the race, Kenneth had a smile remarking "I still got the guitar!" referring to his trophy from the Music City Motorplex win earlier in the season.

Next up was the Future Stars Division where a super tight points battle and the DBV Caution Free bonus seemed to be at odds.  Could the kids race hard for 50 laps, while still not bringing out a single caution flag?  The answer was a resounding YES!  It was the best race of the night as 5 cars battled all race long for the win.  At the end of 50 green flag laps, the top three were still nose to tail, with Kyle Baugh winning the race, and Brett Robinson winning the championship.  Kyle could be proud of his race win, and Brett was already looking forward to the future, as Baby Grands Inc. offers the Future Stars champion each year a one year lease of a Baby Grand racecar for only $1.  Look for Brett in the Junior PRO division next year.  Best of all, every car was directed to the frontstretch where each driver received his $50 DBV Caution Free bonus in front of the fans.  It was a great moment for every driver that they all earned with their patient and skillful racing.

The best Open Division field in years came down to the green flag for their 50 laps and they put on a great show for the fans.  All season long, Stephen Hershey and Robert Kuczmarski have battled for the championship, and they continued to run up front at Shenandoah.  Just behind these two was former Arena racer Jason Styron and Ohio minicup racer Joe McCloud.  It was great to see racers from several minicup groups come together and run competitively.  Best of all, in victory lane Hershey and Kuczmarski showed you can race hard and remain good friends, as both complimented the other and talked about how much they enjoyed racing together.  In the end, Hershey won the race, but Kuczmarski won the championship after 4 years of dedicated effort.

Finally, the PRO Division took to the track for their 50 laps and the excitement picked up a notch.  Local racer Kevin Bush dominated all season at Shenandoah Speedway and set fast time, but an inversion of six positions had him starting mid-pack.  He wasted no time in working toward the front of the field, with points leader Jacob France close behind.  After a caution for a minor spin by Adam Hirsh, the field was coming around to take the green flag when Bush's car quit running.  He was pushed to the pits desperately trying to get his car to refire while the field came around to resume the race.  After a lap, his car came to life and he roared back onto the track and made a terrific charge through the field.  The timing system showed he was the only car on the track turning 16 second laps as he carved through traffic.  Midway through the race, he and France got together in turn one sending both to the rear of the field for the restart.  While all this was playing out, Ronnie Binkley was making the most of his pole starting position as he led every lap on his way to victory.  Ronnie was jubilant in victory lane declaring "We finally won one of these!" referring to a major MMRA PRO Division race.  That finish, combined with a last place finish for fellow competitor Eldon Isenberg, allowed Ronnie to take the first ever Masters Cup title as well.  Across pit road, Kevin Bush could be proud of a great drive, while wondering what could have been if the car hadn't quit for that lap.  Also, the France team was excited to finally reach the top of MMRA racing with their PRO Division championship.

It was a fantastic end to an exciting year of MMRA racing.  Thanks to Connie and Jeff from Shenandoah Speedway for their hospitality and for welcoming us to their beautiful track.  Next up for our racers will be the national Awards Banquet on November 3.  Look for more information to be posted about the banquet soon.

Click here for the finishing orders and purse schedule