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Rusty Daniels clinched the Eastern Carolina Late Model Mania championship on Sunday night after the Labor Day Classic at Carteret County Speedway.

Taking the average from each competitor’s best two results in Late Model Mania races at Southern National Motorsports Park and Carteret County Speedway, Daniels finished the four race series with the best average.  With his triumph in the series, Daniels nets a $1,000 bonus and a guaranteed starting spot in the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National on November 26th.

“We hope we don’t have to use it at all,” Daniels said about the guaranteed starting spot.  “We hope we’re at least in the top-10 anyway.  We’re going to go and do some more testing to see if we can get that car better.  See how things work out.”

The 44-year-old  has been a mainstay on the racing scene in eastern North Carolina with victories at Southern National Motorsports Park and East Carolina Motor Speedway throughout his career.  It was his experience and success at Southern National that paid off in the Late Model Mania.

Daniels picked up two top-five finishes in the Late Model Mania races held at the 4/10-mile track in Lucama, North Carolina, while fourth place finisher Ryan Haddock only had one top-five finish.  Neither series runner-up Eric Winslow or third place finisher Chris Burns notched a top-five at Southern National, even though both scored victories at Carteret County Speedway – with Winslow’s Late Model Mania win coming on Sunday night in the second of two races.

“We didn’t have the best car,” Winslow said.  “We’ve got to get our stuff together.  Right place, right time, enough laps to hold off Michael Tilley. We really swung for the fences, just glad we could get it done.”

Tyler Matthews, who won the track championship at Southern National Motorsports Park in 2016 and appears destined to win the Carteret County Speedway track championship this year, won in the first of two races.

Feature results:

  1. Tyler Matthews
  2. Michael Tilley
  3. Tyler Horne
  4. Chris Burns
  5. Rusty Daniels
  6. Clay Jones
  7. Eric Winslow
  8. Zachary Marks
  9. Ryan Haddock
  10. Stephen Ford


Marquis comes from St. Charles, Maryland and has a widespread background in journalism, having covered politics in Washington and Maryland as well as nearly every form of auto racing, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA Motocross and IHRA Drag Racing. Now living near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Marquis covers Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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