Short Track Scene

Bobby Isaac Memorial 150 expected to draw elite entry list

Kyle Tretow | CARS Tour

Labor Day weekend always offers an expanse of prestigious short track events across the country and Hickory Motor Speedway is no exception.

In fact, the self-described Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars will host its biggest event of the season on Saturday night in the Bobby Isaac Memorial 150. The North Carolina short track typically offers some of the best weekly competition in the region but the Isaac 150 has upped the ante by inviting some of the biggest names in Late Model Stock racing.

In addition to Hickory championship leaders Charlie Watson and Ryan Millington, the main event is also expected to feature three-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Lee Pulliam and JR Motorsports teammates Josh Berry and Anthony Alfredo. Even four-time NASCAR champion Philip Morris has filed an entry since Motor Mile Speedway had to cancel due to rain.

Despite the arrival of several big names, local racer Justin Carroll might have established himself the favorite to win based on his first-half resume. The 21-year-old has four victories this season, all at Hickory.

The first three came in weekly competition while the latest came on August 5 in the CARS Tour Throwback 276. That was the biggest victory of his career, something he hopes to trump on Saturday night against some of the discipline’s heaviest hitters.

“Winning the Bobby Issac 150 would be a dream come true,” Carroll said. “Ever since I started racing Late Models I’ve looked up to Lee (Pulliam) and to have a shot against him at my home track is a pretty cool opportunity.

“Lee, Philip and Josh are the best out there right now.”

READ MORE: Late Model Stock veterans excited for first Martinsville night race

Berry and Alfredo are racing at Hickory on Saturday night while they wait to resume the final race of the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car championship. Layne Riggs leads Berry by a single point while Alfredo is nine back.

With the Late Model Stock ‘majors’ at Martinsville, Myrtle Beach and Southern National coming up, the Isaac 150 was a great way to prepare Alfredo for both the championship race and the big events on the schedule.

“Being able to win a historical race like the Bobby Isaac 150 would be awesome,” Alfredo said. “Especially at such a famous race track like Hickory. It’s great when we get competitors from other tracks to all race in one event. There should be a good car count and knowing that champions are coming from other locations will make it even more significant for the fans and competitors. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can contend for another win.”

Alfredo swept a pair of CARS Tour twins at Hickory on May 6.

One name noticeably absent from the entry list will be defending winner RD Smith. He’s gearing up for ‘big race season,’ but says the Issac Memorial 150 is quickly becoming a major in its own right.

“That’s a big race to win,” Smith said. “All the memorial races are special because they carry a bit of history and the memory of people that have meant so much to our sport. I read up on Bobby Issac last year before the race to learn more about him and he was truly one of the pioneers of racing. It was an honor to win that race and one of the favorite wins of my career.

“I hate that I’m going to miss it but it looks like it’s going to be a great race.”

The grandstands open at 5 p.m. ET with racing set to begin at 7:30. The card is also highlighted by Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Classic Sportsmen and USAC Midgets. The list of known entries for the Late Model Stocks has been provided below.

  1. Lee Pulliam
  2. Charlie Watson
  3. Ryan Millington
  4. Kevin Leicht
  5. Matt Leicht
  6. Annabeth Barnes-Crum
  7. Cole Glasson
  8. Juan Gonzalez
  9. Ty Gibbs
  10. Justin Carroll
  11. Landon Huffman
  12. Anthony Alfredo
  13. Dylon Wilson
  14. Josh Berry
  15. William Lester
  16. Will Burns
  17. Jake Ruggles
  18. Tomas Gasperak
  19. Sam Mayer