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September 18, 2019 - I-95 Late Models, Carolina Sprint Tour headline Saturday's show at the dirt track
As the 2019 racing season begins to wind down, the action continues at a hot and heavy pace at Fayetteville Motor Speedway.

On Saturday, the track will continue its 51st season with action in seven divisions. A dual headliner is on tap in the form of a $2,500-to-win show for the I-95 Late Model Challenge Series, which will share top billing with the Carolina Sprint Tour -- the only appearance for sprint cars at the track this year. Both races are the penultimate events of their respective seasons.

Veteran racer Shaun Harrell of Gray’s Creek will be among the favorites in the I-95 competition. He’s hoping to score his first I-95 victory of the year -- three of his four career tour wins have come at Fayetteville -- and improve his odds of winning the championship.

Michael Batten of Rocky Mount leads the I-95 points with 151 points, nine ahead of Wilson’s Michael Rouse. Harrell and former Hope Mills resident Willie Milliken share third and are 11 markers behind the leader, and Matthew Bissette of Middlesex has 136 points.

“It’s going to be tough to catch (Batten) unless he has trouble,” Harrell said. “We’ll try to go in there and win these last two races on the schedule or do the best we can do and see how it all shakes out.”

Strangely, while the 39-year-old Harrell has been shut out of Victory Lane in I-95 shows this year, he’s made that trip twice on the FUEL series using the same equipment. His most recent triumph came last Saturday at Lancaster (S.C.) Motor Speedway’s fast half-mile.

“We’re using the same cars and the same motors, we just haven’t been in contention for the wins” in I-95 races, Harrell said. “The luck just hasn’t fallen our way.

“I like the series. I hope that they continue to do it and maybe add a few racetracks to it. I’d like to see them make it about 20 races and maybe find five or six tracks to go to. It makes it more fun to go different places.”

Brothers Jake and John Karklin are locked in a tight battle for the Carolina Sprint Tour crown with just four points separating the Waxhaw residents. 

The Carolina Sprint Tour features 1,550-pound winged machines powered by a sealed 305 cubic-inch engine that produces over 400 horsepower. It’s a series designed for budget racers; engines can be built for about $6,000. The series states that one such engine has been in used for 16 years and 10,000-plus laps with its original parts.

Also on Saturday’s card is racing for the Diet Mountain Dew Modifieds, Renegades, Stingerz and SportModz, plus the King of the Sportsman series will resume.

Pit gates at the speedway, located just off Doc Bennett Road near Fayetteville Regional Airport, will open at 4 p.m., followed at 5 by the grandstand gates. Hot laps begin at 6:30. Admission prices are $20 in the grandstands and $35 in the pits.