SOUTH BOSTON, Va. (April 19, 2023) -- Eddie Slagle’s rookie season in the Sentara Healthcare Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston hasn’t gotten off to the start he had hoped for.
However, the 18-year-old Powhatan, Virginia resident is hoping to rebound from his tough early-season start with a solid finish in the 100-lap race for the Sentara Healthcare Late Model Stock Car Division that will headline the six-race Viny’s Italian Restaurant Race Night event on Saturday night, April 22, at South Boston Speedway.
The Powhatan High School student has a best finish of 12th in his first four starts of the season at South Boston Speedway.
“It’s been a rough start,” Slagle remarked. "I definitely could have done better. The first event (a twin-race event on March 18) took a little bit of toll on me because I got sick. The second event (the twin-race event on April 1) I ran the whole race in the first race and finished 13th. I started the second race that day and got wrecked on the first lap. It’s been tough.”
Slagle is optimistic about his chances in Saturday night’s event, but notes he is facing a big learning curve in moving up from having competed in the Limited Late Model Division at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Virginia.
“Only running 35 laps in the Limited class, it’s a lot harder to learn how to manage tires, keep the car cooler and everything else during the race,” he explained. “Right now, I’d rather have a twin race in case something happens to the car. If the car is real loose the first race, I have a chance to tighten the car up for the second race or whatever the situation may be. There is also the seat time. The more races I get to run and the more seat time I get, the better. I feel like I get more seat time with twin races than I will in a 100-lap race.”
This season marks Slagle’s seventh season of racing and his fifth full season racing a full-bodied stock car. He began racing Bandoleros at the former Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia and moved up to the track’s Grand Stock division.
He competed in the Limited Late Model Division at Dominion Raceway for three seasons and logged 11 career wins in the division during that span. Last season he finished second in the final division point standings and won seven races in his 22 starts.
This season Slagle is making South Boston Speedway his home track for his rookie season of competition in the Late Model Stock Car Division.
“The main reason we are here is because the competition is tough,” Slagle explained during a break in a recent test session at the .4-mile oval. “This is a good track to learn to race a Late Model on. You race against some of the best in the Late Model world here. Historically speaking, every driver that has done well here does well everywhere else they go.”
Slagle pointed out South Boston Speedway is a tough track to master.
“It’s a huge learning curve for me, especially with the Late Model car,” Slagle said. “A lot of people say this track is hard to drive, and it is. The track is a whole lot harder to drive than somewhere like Dominion Raceway. I’ve learned this track changes a lot during a race. Also, there is not just one fast line for you to run. There is more than one line to run here. It’s hard to find which line is the fastest on a particular afternoon or night.”
While the young racer is facing a steep learning curve, he exudes a positive attitude.
“I have a good mindset,” Slagle pointed out. “Hopefully by the end of the season I will have a few top-five finishes and will be running towards the front. My guys at TORP Chassis and everybody on our team are working their tails off to make this car as fast as possible. Our goal is to get as much seat time as possible, finish races, be running near the front by the end of the season, and get a few top-five finishes.”
Six races are set for the Saturday, April 22 Viny’s Italian Restaurant Race Night event at South Boston Speedway. The 100-lap Sentara Healthcare Late Model Stock Car Division race will be the feature race of the night. In addition, there will be a 50-lap race for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 25-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division and a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division. Fans will also see a 25-lap race for the East Coast Flathead Ford Racing Association and a 20-lap race for the Mills Family Practice Champ Karts.
Saturday’s event schedule has registration and pit gates opening at 12:30 p.m. Frontstretch spectator gates will open at 3:20 p.m. and practice will begin at 3:30 p.m. Backstretch spectator and tailgate section gates will open at 5:30 P.M., and qualifying starts at 6 p.m. The first race of the night will get the green flag at 7 p.m.
Advance adult general admission tickets for the Saturday April 22 Viny’s Italian Restaurant Race Night event are priced at $12 each and may be purchased online on South Boston Speedway’s website, www.southbostonspeedway.com, or by calling the speedway office at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.
Tickets at the gate on race day will be $15 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $12 each at the gate on race day.
Fans and competitors can find the latest news and updates from South Boston Speedway on the speedway’s website and through the track’s social media channels. Information may also be obtained by phoning the speedway during regular business hours.