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Yarbrough wins rain-shortened finale at Myrtle Beach

Speed Sport TV/Trackpass

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Myrtle Beach Speedway’s last Late Model Stock Car race ended the same way the last Myrtle Beach 400 ended – under caution shy of its schedule conclusion.

Rain showers lingered over Myrtle Beach Speedway all throughout the afternoon and evening, halting qualifying before finally cutting short the historic speedway’s last race 29 laps shy of the finish.  When the sky opened up, one of the track’s greatest drivers, Sam Yarbrough, stood tall in victory lane.

“Just caps off what we’ve done our whole time out here,” Yarbrough said in victory lane.  “We try our best to come out here, do our job, and win races.  Gosh almighty, this car was great.  I can’t thank everybody enough that works on this thing.  To be the last winner, it’s everything right now.”

Yarbrough had hoped the race would finish under green but stated that the track was going away in the final laps prior to the race-ending caution with 29 laps remaining.

“You always want to see it finish out, but I was having a little trouble with traction, not too bad but other guys were having a lot worse trouble,” Yarbrough said.  “You saw that with all those wrecks on restarts and everything.  I think guys were just fighting for every kind of grip they could get.”

The victory on Saturday capped off a successful career for the winningest Late Model Stock Car driver in Myrtle Beach Speedway – and all of those victories stand out as Yarbrough’s greatest memories of the speedway.

“This right here [is my greatest memory],” Yarbrough stated while holding one of his daughters in one arm in victory lane.  “Standing in victory lane man, all the time, more than anybody.”

Will Burns, who won the final Myrtle Beach 400 last November in similar fashion when the race was cut short due to curfew with 24 laps to go in the former marquee race, finished second.

“I’m just a little sad,” Burns said after the race.  “It just kind of hit me when I got out of the car that this was my last lap at this place.  Congrats to Sam and those guys.  You know, we can say we got beat by the best at Myrtle Beach possible ever.  Just hate that, kind of sad that it ended with rain, but I’ve been on the other side of one of those deals too.  Just part of racing and we’ll move on to what’s next.  Really going to miss this place and loved racing here.”

Former Hickory Motor Speedway champions Austin McDaniel and Jacob Heafner finished third and fourth while Ryan Glenski rounded out the top-five.

Justin Milliken’s emotional sendoff

Two-time Myrtle Beach Speedway track champion Justin Milliken had no plans of finishing the race on a rollback after being swept up in an accident on the race’s 42nd lap.

After colliding with Jeremy Burns, Milliken got out of his car and walked to the start-finish line while waving to the fans.  With shades of Talladega Nights, he reached down to tap the start-finish line before bowing to the fans as he walked off the track and back to his trailer.

“My family’s been coming here for five generations and I wasn’t going to end in turn four,” Milliken, who was fighting back tears, said.  “I was going to complete that last lap.  It didn’t matter if they ran me over, somebody was going to drag me across the line.”

Milliken has had his fair share of good memories and heartbreak at Myrtle Beach Speedway.  While he won two championships and numerous races, he was never able to score a victory in the prestigious Myrtle Beach 400 – but the veteran driver said the track “means everything” to him.

“It was Milliken and Yarbrough for a long damn run,” Milliken continued.  “He and I outran every great that ever was here.  It’s been a special place.  I grew up here.  I learned how to be a man here.  I learned how to work hard and take care of my family.  I made life-long friends here and I’m proud of the career I’ve had here.”

Among those life-long friends is NASCAR Cup Series crew chief Matt McCall.  Another was Terry Evans, who was struck by a drunk driver leaving the track following a race in July 2017.  Evans passed away in August 2017 but his memory stuck with Myrtle Beach Speedway fans and competitors all the way until the last lap on Saturday.

What’s next?

Weather-permitting, the support divisions that were scheduled to run on Saturday will race on Sunday which includes the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge, Coastal Carolina Mini Cup Series, Chargers and Super Trucks.  Following Sunday’s race, demolition will begin as the speedway will be converted into a housing subdivision.

Steve Zacharias, who had been the general manager of Myrtle Beach Speedway since 2012, will move on to operate Florence Motor Speedway later this year and will host a fall race that will serve as a stand-in for the Myrtle Beach 400.  Many of the Myrtle Beach Speedway faithful will likely race with him there, and the track is expected to be NASCAR sanctioned.

With Myrtle Beach Speedway’s closure, Carteret County Speedway, located just a few miles away from Emerald Isle, North Carolina, will become the region’s lone beachside destination racetrack.  The 4/10-mile track on the Crystal Coast will host a big money Late Model Stock Car race in December.

The Last Race – Results

  1. Sam Yarbrough
  2. Will Burns
  3. Austin McDaniel
  4. Jacob Heafner
  5. Ryan Glenski
  6. Brian Vause
  7. Chris Throckmorton
  8. Bradley McCaskill
  9. Justin Johnson
  10. Austin Somero
  11. Justin Hicks
  12. Jeremy Burns
  13. Bobby June
  14. Gracie Trotter
  15. Isabella Robusto
  16. Braden Rogers
  17. Stuart Ricks
  18. Paul Green
  19. Sam Butler – OUT
  20. Travis Truett – OUT
  21. Robbie Mew – OUT
  22. Justin Milliken – OUT
  23. RA Brown – OUT
  24. Rajah Caruth – OUT
  25. Whitney Meggs – OUT
  26. Perry Patino – OUT
  27. Jamie Weatherford – OUT
  28. Chase Janes – OUT
  29. Jason Tutterow – OUT
  30. Sammy Scarpelli – OUT
  31. Brandon Clements – OUT
  32. Jimmy Wallace – OUT
  33. Mitch Walker – OUT
  34. Michael Faulk – OUT

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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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