Thomas Burbage Declared Winner in Caution Shortened Feature

By: Justin Kern

Robersonville, NC – Thomas Burbage left East Carolina Motor Speedway with a first place trophy in one hand, and some car parts in the other, as did quite a few others after a massive eight car pile up at the flag stand, coming to the white flag, forced race control to end the race early. With just 35-laps in a feature race with maximum points on the line in a full field of Late Models, things are going to get interesting.

The field was bunched up after a late race caution with fewer than five laps to go after Louis White went for a spin going through turns one and two. Not able to confirm if there was any contact with any other car that made, but after looking at the video, appears that Louis might have been up in the marbles and the go just went around on him.

Once the track was clear and the line up was complete the field was given the green and things got dicey from there. Burbage, who looked to have the better jump, stayed door to door with Queen, beating him at the line by mere inches on the nose. With two laps to go the two drivers would touch coming down the backstretch battle for the lead. Coming out of turn four the leaders were side by side, Fose and McCaskill were side by side for third, contact was made again by the leaders pinching Burbage’s car into the wall and Queen to get a little air born. McCaskill with nowhere to go was caught in the middle of everything with cars coming full bore down the front stretch. He would later be transported to a local hospital with reported burn related injuries.

With extensive clean up need on the front stretch and not being able to continue without rescue on scene, Race Director Dalford Briley called an end to the race on lap 33. Because Burbage edged Queen at the line he was declared the winner.

Brenden Queen, Michael Fose, Bradley McCaskill, and Rusty Daniels were credited with top five finishes.

“We had a good run on the outside and the car was handling really good on the outside,” Burbage told us after the race. “That why I decided to stay there and race him clean and to the checkered and possibly edge him out. I got door slammed on the previous lap in one and two and we came around one more lap and I went in just like I normally do on the high side and I got slammed in the center of the corner and I got drove all the way up to the wall, he just never let off.”

What happened next was something right out of a video game with cars scattering all over the front stretch. Burbage was a little lost for words on how to describe the situation and of course was very disappointed in the night.

I don’t know if something happened to him or he just wheel locked on the side of the car I just don’t know,” Burbage explained. “We got ran all the way up to the wall, I was in concrete and that concrete don’t give very much. Next thing I knew he was on top of the car and everyone behind us started piling in. All I could do was hit the brake and turn it to the left and run it to the grass.”

We did ask Thomas if he had any thoughts if this had something to do with the last time the two were on the track and he told us they talked things out earlier in the day. “We pretty much decided that last race was a racing deal and it was what it was. I tried to race him clean. I mean I popped him a couple times to let him know I am here and I’m racing with you, that was just completely uncalled for, but like I said I don’t know if something happened to his car. I really want to give a call out to Bradley McCaskill and hope he’s okay, he got burnt up pretty bad.”

After the race we did catch up with Brenden to get his side of the story especially with all that took place with these two last time they were on the track.

“You know it was great to get out there and race Thomas the whole night with all that went on last week,” Queen told us. “He got around us there on the top but we were able to get back by him there just the cautions did not fall our way. That last restart he was able to really battle me pretty hard on the top. That restart before I really felt like something wasn’t right on the front end and stopped turning. Coming to the white on the back stretch me and Burbage touched cause we were side by side and as soon as we touched I went to turn the car into the corner and it didn’t turn.”

Queen went on to tell us the car just washed up the racetrack and ran out of room. After that it felt like the wheels locked and Queen went over top of Burbage.

“I wasn’t able to see what was going on behind us but I know they were wrecking pretty bad,” Queen went on to say. “Thoughts and prayers to Bradley McCaskill. No matter whos fault it is to be apart of something where someone gets hurt it’s a horrible feeling. We were going for the win its just ironic that it was us two again.” Queen will get back to the race shop and assess the damage and see what needs to be done before next weekends race.

We did reach out to Louis White to get his take on the closing laps and the wreck that took place but he respectfully declined to comment and we will always respect those wishes.

We here at The Weekly Racer would also like to send our thoughts and prayers to Bradley and the entire McCaskill family!

P1 Thomas Burbage; 33

P2 Brenden Queen; 33

P3 Michael Fose; 33

P4 Bradley McCaskill; 33

P5 #16 Rusty Daniels; 33

P6 #12 Wesley Jonhson; 33

P7 #01 Jeff Shiflett; 33

P8 #7 Louis White; 33

P9 #28 Tyler Horne; 33

P10 #12s Dean Shiflett; 33

P11 #33 Ryan Haddock; 33

P12 #99 Zach Henshaw; 33

P13 #19 Cameron Bowen; 31

P14 #63 Tyler Matthews; 29

P15 #88 Thomas Marks; 29

P16 #29 Melvin Langley; 25

P17 #29w Paul Williamson; 19

P18 #77 Connor Hall; 7

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