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For many drivers in Avondale this weekend, it's either Carolina on their minds or Vegas, baby!

Eastbound International Speedway will be especially busy this weekend as Legends and Bandolero drivers compete for spots in big INEX National events in the United States later this year, and NASCAR Division 1 cars take part in what will amount to four races today and Sunday. — Submitted/ Scott Parsons
Eastbound International Speedway will be especially busy this weekend as Legends and Bandolero drivers compete for spots in big INEX National events in the United States later this year, and NASCAR Division 1 cars take part in what will amount to four races today and Sunday. — Submitted/ Scott Parsons

Legends, Bandoleros chasing down berths in INEX Nationals at Eastbound Raceway, where Division I NASCAR racers will be especially busy today and tomorrow

If you like racing, you’ll get your fill at Eastbound International Speedway this weekend.

The Avondale track will be a treasure trove of action as all divisions will be accounted for today and Sunday. That includes the INEX divisions, where drivers are seeking to qualify for spots in world championships set for later this year.
A pair of drivers are seeking to extend their early-season dominance at Eastbound as they compete in those Hanlon Realty INEX National Qualifiers.
Michael Neary, a rookie in the Hanlon Realty US Legends division, and Owen Groves, the defending track champion in the MNR Performance Bandolero division, bested the fields in their respective divisions during season-openers on the Victoria Day weekend.
Neary has been dominant around the speedway in his No. 23 MNR Racing Legends car since then, winning every qualifying and points race so far this season.
But he can be expected be tested as the field attempts to close the gap. Fellow rookie Justin Ronayne and Chad Lawrence are getting progressively better and could change the winner of the checkered flag on either day.
Neary is 10 points ahead of Ronayne heading into the weekend. Groves has powered his black and lime green No. 9 Bandolero car to victory over the first few weekends of racing, but his lead has dwindled a bit as Nicholas Codner, in his No. 54 grey machine, has closed the gap and trails Groves by just eight points.
They’re all chasing down qualifying spots in the Nationals, which for the Legends will be in October at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and in August for the Bandolero series at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
There will be expanded racing in these classes this weekend as the Legends will run a 40-lap final, with the Bandeloros covering 25 laps, according to race director Mike James.
The busiest people at the track this weekend — outside of concessions workers — will be the Division I NASCAR drivers.
They’ll run a pair of 75-lap main events, starting with the Orangestore 75 race tonight. The field will be determined by qualifying heats starting at 5 p.m. They’ll be followed by the final, consisting of 35- and 40-lap segments.
The same scenario will be in place Sunday, when racing commences with qualifying heats at 1 p.m., followed by racing at 2 p.m. Ross Thorne, who powered his No 16 machine to victory on opening weekend, has 108 points in the division, giving him a slim two-point lead over defending champion Wayne Walsh. Shane Coffin is third with 82 points.
With 75 points, Shane Collins has a huge lead in the Atlantic Dodge Dealers Hobby Stock Series, leading by 27 points over Andrew Morgan and Cody Johnson, tied for second. Cody Lake is two points back in fourth with 46.
Still, Morgan may have been much closer to first place in the standings had he not barrel-rolled his car on the last corner of the previous race, forcing him from competition. But he has a new car as he returns to challenge Collins this week.
The weekend will be capped off Sunday with the Hanlon Realty INEX National Qualifiers.
The Whelen All-American Series will also be on the Sunday card, making it four races for the weekend in the NASCAR Division 1 Championship competition.
Gates open today at 4 p.m. and noon on Sunday.
Fans arriving early both days will have the bonus of taking in the Shamrock City Performer Stage featuring Carl Peters and Chris Ryan.

samuel.mcneish@thetelegram.com

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