Steel Block Bandits
QUADE CHARGES INTO SECOND HALF WITH FIRST SERIES WIN AT HAGERSTOWN
Hagerstown, Md. (7/29/23) - After a 10 minute welcomed shower around 5:30, Saturday turned out to be a chamber of commerce day in the small northern community that surrounds Hagerstown Speedway. The Steel Block Bandits Dirt Late Model Challenge was in town for their first series event in the state of Maryland and the ninth event of their 2023 Bad Company Tour. Toters and rigs were lined up three deep hours before the pit gates swung open signifying that fans were in for a treat at the Capital of Dirt Track Racing. When all was said and done and sign in’s completed, 53 cars were staged and ready which was a new series record after 31 races in its history.
Qualifying started the evening as two groups of cars would take time in HGR's Truck & Trailer Sales, Inc. qualifying. Knoxville, Tennessee’s Brad Lowe set down a new track record for steel blocks in group A with a lap of 18.649. Derick Quade was quickest in group B but Lowe snags his first series pole and the $200 from Bryan Sullivan in Memory of Ricky Sullivan Jr.
Heats were next and for the first time, six heats would help set the first 18 cars that would transfer to the Free State 50, as three from each heat went to the big dance. Bandits took all but one heat race win as Lowe, Dan Breuer, Robbie Emory, Quade and Jeff Parsons won their respective heats with Kyle Lear winning the other. In the two last chance qualifying races, only two cars from each would move on and they saw Clinton Hersh and Trent Brenneman split those two wins. With Samuel Bryant and Derrick Rankin Racing #72 getting series provisionals, two more cars were added courtesy of Blue Grass Farms, Booper and Lori Bare, as Scott Palmer and Wes Bonebrake filled out the 26 car starting grid.
It would be an all Bandit front row as Lowe and Quade would bring a stellar class of cars to the grid. As the green waved, Quade dashed away from Lowe setting a blistering early race pace. Several cautions plaqued tge event early on including a multi car incident that swept up Tyler Bare Racing and Emory's Racing. Bare was running 7th at the time and was forced pit side for repairs, Emory stayed out but under yellow, the 9E suffers a flat tire forcing him to lose his 10th position at the time. Pole sitting Lowe, also was involved and left the event with left front damage.
Quade was the leader at the fuel stop but eyes were on KHK Motorsports - Devin Hart 33K and Justin Weaver as they were charging through the field. When the race resumed, it was evident that it was go time, as drivers went three and four wide at times through the corners of the historic facility as the field finally logged a long green flag run. Quade’s dominance started to fade with 5 to go as Hart began to draw a need on the southern Maryland native. Quade hangs on to win the Free State 50, Hart was second Parsons was third, followed by Weaver and Shaun Shoemaker rounding out the top five. It was the Mechanicsville, Maryland drivers first Bandit win and it comes in his home state in front of a thundering ovation from his fans.
“We finally did it, this is unbelievable! We haven’t been to this place in three years but we knew about what it always does and she slicked off and got top dominant. The lapped cars did a good job tonight, they let us race and didn’t hold anyone up so I could really pick my line before I got to them and commit. Quade was jubilant about the competition; “We love traveling, learning and mostly, we love the competition and it was here tonight! To win here ( Hagerstown) and to win against such stacked competition and clean racers is what makes this so sweet, that’s why I love this series.” Quade’s win marks the ninth different winner in nine Bandit races this year and he’s the 17th different winner in 31 series events.
Devin Hart on his second place finish; “ I knew Tyler, Derrick and Robbie were going to be tough tonight because they go to so many different places, but hey, we’re happy with second, Quade and I have raced a lot and I watched him run a perfect 50 laps and that’s what it took. Hats off to my team and sponsors who worked their tails off tonight, we’ll take second in our first series race against this level of competition and hope to improve the next time.” Hart is the Hagerstown points leader as well.
After several tries of coming up short, Parsons records his first podium finish of third; “ Feels good to be up here, congrats
to Derick, we were good on long runs and but after I could get going, they were already checked out. I finally figured out how to qualify and Sammy has got this thing tuned up good, we just got to running side by side with the 15 alot and it slowed my progress. Parsons loved the track; “One lap we were three wide the next we were four, this place is slick and fast and you can race everywhere, you just don’t find this kinda racing down south, this was alot of fun.”
- Dan Breuer was also the big winner in Saturday. With his 7th place finish he should move up nicely in the points after Bare and Emory stumble at H-Town.
- Lowe’s pole makes him the first Arizona Sport Shirts rookie to not only win a pole but also to break a track record.
- Justin Weaver broke a rear end in practice, replaced it, started 22nd and finished 4th. Shoemaker started 10th and comes home 5th. Palmer started 25th and comes in the 8th spot.
*Tough night for both Bare and Emory as they were involved in the wreck before the fuel stop. Bare had severe front end damage for the second straight race, Emory suffered damage and a flat tire.
- Kudos to the track prep team at Hagerstown on a flawless surface that allowed for some jaw dropping action and had fans already asking when the Bandits were coming back.
Free State 50
- Derick Quade
- Devin Hart
- Jeff Parsons
- Justin Weaver
- Shaun Shoemaker
- Kyle Lee
- Dan Breuer
- Scott Palmer
- Levi Crowl
- Christian Hersh
- Taylor Farling
- Tyler Bare
- Jacob Piper
- Robbie Emory
- Derrick Rankin
- David Williams
- Matt Glanden
- Kyle Lear
- Michael Alderman
- Wes Bonebrake
- Brad Lowe
- Andy Fries
- Larry Ramsey
- Brad Omps
- Samuel Bryant
- Trent Brenneman
Next up : Aug. 12th, Volunteer Speedway Bulls Gap, Tennessee. Round 10, $5000 to win
Article Credit: Photo by WRT Speedwerx