Cory Dunn is going to be a road warrior this year, but that’s just fine with him.
There was a time when he was a driver without a track, so a 2 1/2 -hour drive to South Boston Speedway from his Salem home isn’t that big of a deal.
Dunn will be competing in South Boston Speedway’s new Mod 4 Division this year, but it won’t be new to him. He’s one of a group of 10 or so Mod 4 drivers who were left searching for track time when Motor Mile Speedway in Radford announced it wasn’t opening in 2018.
The group pleaded its case to South Boston Speedway to add them and now they will be in the schedule of races for the Danville Toyota Twin 100s on April 7. It will be the track’s season opener, postponed from last Saturday night.
“It was a bummer when we heard Motor Mile was closing. Heck we didn’t have anywhere to race,” said Dunn. “I was excited when I found out South Boston was going to run this class. I know the history of South Boston Speedway and what it means to the sport. It’s a great opportunity for us. I think it’s going to be a great season.”
Dunn got a late start behind the wheel considering today’s standards. Although he comes from a racing family and he started helping late model driver Bryan Reedy when he was 15, he was 20 and winding down classes at Roanoke College before he sat behind the wheel of a race car.
“Dennis and Pop Holdren gave me an opportunity two years ago to try out to drive their car and fortunately I did well enough to make it,” said Dunn, referring to a long-time Roanoke-area racing family. Dennis will also be competing in the Mod 4 class this season at South Boston. “I was finishing at Roanoke College when I actually started racing.”
In his rookie season Dunn was co-rookie of the year and finished fourth in the Mod 4 points driving the Holdrens’ car. Before the start of the 2017 season he purchased a car of his own, and even though he finished fourth in points again, it was a season of improvement as he scored his first pole in the final race of the season.
“It was a very tough division. I finally got to the point where I could run with the leaders, and once that happened, I learned a lot,” Dunn said of the division that features light-weight, rear-wheel drive cars that run a high-revving four-cylinder engine.
Dunn, who is a sales coordinator at Carter Machinery in Salem, rolled onto the racing surface at South Boston Speedway the first time Wednesday for a day of practice. He left feeling positive.
“There was a learning curve. This is a totally different scenario at a totally different track, but we got it dialed in as the day went on,” said Dunn, who is sponsored by Woodson Honda, Fire Equipment Company of Salem, Associated Packaging of Roanoke, Bill Richard All-State Agent, PMI Lubricants, The Jerry Wimmer Trio, Hannabas and Rowe Collision Center and Grand Storage of Vinton.
“I was surprised … pleasantly surprised … at how fast it is. You’ve got to be up on the wheel the entire race.”
Dunn and the entire field will be up on the wheel April 7 when the Mod 4 Division debuts with a 30-lap race, part of the Danville Toyota Twin 100s racing program. It will also feature twin 100-lap Late Model Stock races, a 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division race, a 30-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Budweiser Hornets race.
The Martinsville Speedway offer will remain in place for the rescheduled event. Anyone presenting a ticket stub from either the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race or the STP 500 NASCAR Monster Energy Series race at Martinsville Speedway will be admitted free.
Tickets are $10 for adults and children 12 and under are free. Fan gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the first race taking the green flag at 7 p.m.
South Boston Speedway PR