With cars and canines, Round 7 was a howling good time on Dog Days of Summer Night at the Cook Out Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fans brought their favorite pups for discounted admission on the only night of the season where four-legged friends were allowed to roam the concourse and the grandstands.
Ben Morabito (Bojangles Outlaws) and Alex McCollum (Boston Reid & Co Pro) let the dogs out all the way to victory lane, while Gerald White III (Beginner Bandits), Jack Smith (Bandits), Jackson Denton (The UNC Charlotte Young Lions), Carson Haislip (VP Racing Fuel Semi-Pro) and Dwayne Holder (Old Armor Beer Co. Masters) also captured checkered flags amongst a tremendous field of 141 total entries across seven divisions.
In a jam-packed 24-car Bojangles Outlaw Bandits feature, one driver proved he was the top dog as Ben Morabito marked his territory with a first place start on the pole and a checkered-flag finish in the division for drivers ages 12 and up.
At the start of the race, the green flag turned yellow almost immediately as Turn 1 got the best of several racers but Morabito and Killian McMann retained the top two spots.
On Lap 3, a multi-car pileup brought out another caution and the tow truck for two competitors, but again, Morabito and McMann escaped unscathed and pulled away from the rest of the litter over the next several laps..
“You just have to hold on and hope that you can get past on the inside,” Morabito said. “I was hoping that the people behind me would push me around and get me in front of everybody else.”
As the field caught up by Lap 13, McMann lost momentum and his place near the front. He was shuffled outside as another caution flag flew, opening the door for Mitchell Flater to take second place on the restart. Flater and Marty Roberts III traded second in the remaining laps but neither could pounce on Morabito as the FURocious racer from New York took the win on a yellow/checkered flag finish. Flater finished second and Hunter Morgan slipped into third.
Boston Reid & Co. Pro
The Boston Reid & Co Pro Division competitors showed why they are known as the leaders of the pack at the Cook Out Summer Shootout. Several drivers were in a dogfight for the grand finale of the evening before Alex McCollum pulled ahead to claim his second win of the season.
The New Jersey-native howled his way into first on Lap 1 off Turn 4 and maintained the lead with Jake Bollman close on his tail. Bollman took his opportunity on Turn 2 of Lap 10, unleashing a burst of speed on the inside to take the point.
Bollman stayed in front until the only caution of the race occurred on Lap 22 as Cameron Bolin and Nicholas Sowa collided off Turn 1 to bring the pack back together. As the green flag waved to resume competition, McCollum cut on the inside to regain the lead.
Jensen Jorgensen, who had run in third place from the start, made a fierce move in Turn 4 on Lap 23 to take the top spot heading into the final circuit.
McCollum pounced in Turn 4 to take the lead for the final time, dashing past Bollman and taking advantage as Jorgensen drifted outside to give up the inside lane.
“Those last laps, I tried running Jake and Jorgensen as clean as possible, it was just a chain reaction going into three (Turn). Everybody was so close, we were all going for the win there. We all race with respect and that’s why we are the Pros,” said McCollum.
NEXT UP: Cook Out Summer Shootout Round 8 is back live next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, July 17 for Night of Games presented by Automotive Service Excellence. Fans should put away their family feuds, use every lifeline and ‘come on down’ for compelling racing and thrilling prizes. The 100th guest through the gates will receive a grand prize!
TICKETS: Adult tickets are just $10; kids 12 and under get in FREE. For tickets, schedules and more details about all the happenings at Charlotte Motor Speedway, visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/tickets.