Highly Competitive 2024 Season Shaping Up for South Boston’s VSP HEAT Hornets

A new champion will be crowned this season in South Boston Speedway’s Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division which will have a nucleus of returning drivers and some newcomers that together are expected to create one of the most competitive seasons in the division’s history.

Kendall Milam of Keeling, Virginia, the 2023 season champion, is moving up to compete in the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division, opening the door for a new champion to emerge in what will be the 11th season of competition for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division at South Boston Speedway.
His brother, Landon Milam will be among the drivers that are expected to contend for the division championship in 2024.

Landon Milam finished third in the title chase last season, finishing 11 points behind his older brother. He logged six Top-5 finishes last season that included one second-place finish and four third place finishes.

“The plan right now is to run for the championship,” Landon Milam remarked. “With Kendall moving up, it gives us a lot more time to focus on one Hornet car instead of two. We’ve got to also focus on the Pure Stock for him to race in his rookie season and compete for Rookie of the Year.

“I’m confident going into the season,” he added. “Hopefully I can get three or four wins and cap off a championship this year.”

Milam noted that most of the off-season work on his car was devoted to body work. He noted that his car was running well at the end of last season, and it was decided not to tamper with it a great deal.
“When people see the car, they’re going to think it’s a brand new one,” Milam said, “but it’s the same old beat-up car.”

Jason DeCarlo of Chase City, Virginia, the 2022 division champion, plans to chase the division championship this season. Even with scaling back his schedule a little bit last season DeCarlo had a solid 2023 season, finishing fifth in the final point standings with the help of two wins and two second-place finishes among his seven Top-5 finishes. He also won three poles last season.

“I’m ready to go practice, and I’m ready to go racing,” DeCarlo remarked. “We had a good season last year and won the championship in 2022. We didn’t run for the championship last year, but I’ve talked to everybody involved and we decided we were going for it this year.”

DeCarlo plans to return with the Mazda 3 that has produced success for him over the past two seasons. He is also in the process of building a new car, a Honda Prelude, that he may break out later in the season.

“We’re still trying to build a new Honda Prelude, and we have the other car, the Mazda 3 that I had been running, ready to go. We’re not going to bring the Honda out until we are 100 percent sure it is better and faster than the Mazda. If the weather holds up, we look to come to the track and test sometime around the first of March.”

Another top contender last season that is returning to compete for the division championship is Cameron Goble of Ringgold, Virginia. Goble was among the top contenders last season but was plagued with mechanical issues with his car.

Nevertheless, Goble finished eighth in the final point standings and had a division-high three wins and a division-high five poles.

“I’m excited to get going,” Goble said. “I hope to have a better season this year. We know what we’re doing this time. We’re going to have fun. We were plagued with issues all of last season. We’ve spent a lot of time on the car during the off-season going through everything. We’ve had to tear the cars completely down. We’re ready to go.”

Another driver looking forward to a better season in 2024 is 16-year-old Jordaine Penick of Farmville, Virginia. Penick, a sophomore at Randolph-Henry High School at Charlotte Court House, Virginia, finished sixth in the point standings last season with a fifth-place finish and two sixth-place finishes being tops among her nine Top-10 finishes in 11 starts. The third-year racer plans to have a new car this season.

“I felt like last year was a success for me,” Penick pointed out. “I think I can be a lot better than I was last year. This year I hope to get a win with my new car. People say practice makes perfect so the more practice I can get the better I’ll be.”

Penick’s teammate is family member Max Sangillo, a 15-year-old Farmville, Virginia resident who is entering his second season of competing in the division. He finished 12th in points last season with a trio of Top-10 finishes in 10 starts. A different car this season will hopefully help Sangillo climb the points ladder this season.

“I’m a lot more confident going into this season,” Sangillo noted. “Last year was my first year in racing and I was driving a slow car, so this year is going to be a lot more exciting.”

The Penick family’s racing umbrella also includes Chris Penick of Rustburg, Virginia. Chris Penick raced a partial schedule last season and logged four Top-10 finishes in seven starts with a best finish of seventh.
This season Penick is looking to chase the division championship, and he is excited to get the season underway.

“We’ve been waiting all of the off-season for it,” Penick said. “We’ve done our research during the off-season. We’re definitely going to bring a better “A Game” this year as compared to how we were last year. Last year was my rookie year, my learning year, so this year we’re going out there looking to contend for the points championship.”

Some new competitors are expected to be in the field this season as well. Among them are Chris Barrett of Danville, Virginia who will be driving Cameron Goble’s back-up car while chasing the division title, Larry Dickerson of Roxboro, North Carolina who has indicated he will compete this season, and Tommy Dix, who will be driving a car formerly driven by Chris Penick.

South Boston Speedway will kick off its 2024 season on Saturday afternoon, March 23, with the first of four special events that have been scheduled for the season – the URW Community Federal Credit Union Race Day event. That event will be headlined by the Pace-O-Matic King of the Modifieds event, a 125-lap race paying a minimum of $20,000 to win featuring the stars of the SMART Modified Tour powered by Pace-O-Matic and the top northern Modified drivers in sleek 600-horsepower open-wheel modifieds.

Fans will also see a 100-lap race for the Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division, and the track’s Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division will be featured in a 20-lap race.

The March 23 event schedule has practice running from 8:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Qualifying begins at 11:45 a.m., a SMART Tour driver autograph session is set for 1:15 p.m., a last chance qualifying race for the modifieds is set for 2:10 p.m. and the first race of the day is set to get the green flag at 3 p.m.

Advance tickets for the March 23 season-opening URW Community Federal Credit Union Race Day event featuring the King of the Modifieds race are priced at $17 each. Tickets 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 $20 each. Seniors ages 65 and older, military, healthcare workers, and students (with ID) can purchase tickets for $17 each at the gate on race day.

The latest news and updates from South Boston Speedway can be found on the speedway’s website and social media channels. Information may also be obtained by phoning the speedway during regular business hours.