Keaton wins points title at Friendship Speedway
Published 9:20 am Thursday, December 3, 2020
Grayson Keaton recently capped a terrific season of racing, the 20-year-old from Mocksville capturing the Mini Stock dirt points championship at Friendship Motor Speedway in Elkin.
Among his highlights in 2020 were a win and two third places at a track in Virginia and fifth place in the King of the Carolinas in Gastonia.
“It’s a really big race for our division,” he said of the King event.
In Elkin, Keaton turned in nine top-five finishes, 11 top 10s and never placed below seventh.
“It was not a bad year at all,” he said. “I was more consistent with the finishes, and that’s what got us the championship. By not pushing the issue for the win – like I normally would do – this year I tried to get better at my points strategy, thinking second or third wouldn’t be a bad idea. It worked out at the end of the year.”
The battle for the points title was a serious duel between Keaton and one rival in particular.
“It came down to four points, so it came down to one spot,” he said. “It was very tight. There were 10 of us that ran every race this year, but me and another person had really distanced ourselves from everybody else. So it really came down to us two, but there were 10 or 12 other cars that showed up weekly.”
Keaton has been a regular at Bowman Gray the past few years, but its entire season was a casualty of the coronavirus. So Keaton headed up to Elkin and took no prisoners.
“It was definitely a lot of time put into it,” he said. “With Bowman Gray, we’re used to working on the car on Sundays. With the dirt stuff, you spend all day on Sunday washing the car. At the first of the year, I didn’t mind it. But now, I don’t really care to see another speck of dirt on a car for a little while. Next year hopefully we’ll be back at Bowman Gray running on asphalt.”
Hang on. Grayson’s success was just the start for the Keaton family. His younger brother, Connor, did big things in the Young Gun division (17-under). After racing just a few times in 2019 at Bowman Gray, this was Connor’s first full season in the race car.
He finished second in Pure Stock points. In seven starts in the Young Gun class, he earned two wins and placed fourth or better every time.
“He ran with us some, and whenever he did he ran pretty consistent,” Grayson said of his 15-year-old brother. “One night he finished third with us after starting 25th. Whenever he wasn’t running Young Guns, he would run with us and that’s what made him better throughout the year. He was getting used to better talent and that made him better in the Young Gun class.”
Grayson added that “I know it’s a hard time for all the small businesses, and we would like to thank all the sponsors for their support this year.”