ROUGEMONT, NC (July 23, 2017) – Steve Wallace made the most of a late-race restart to muscle Bubba Pollard out of the way and fend off Matt Craig’s aggressive advances in the final two laps of Saturday night’s inaugural Mid-Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway, a $10,000-to-win event which drew a near-capacity crowd to the track outside of Durham, N.C., despite heat indexes above 100 degrees. Deac McCaskill dominated the late model stock portion of the event, a 100-lap dash to checkered which preceded the super late model feature.
LATE MODEL STOCK RECAP
Josh Berry blistered the Orange County Speedway for yet another Hedgecock Racing Pole Award and earned the right to lead the field to the green flag for the 100-lap late model stock car race.
No sooner than the race began, chaos ensued when Stefan Parsons and Tommy Lemons, Jr., got together in turn three on lap 8, bringing out the first caution of the night. Parsons and Lemons continued while Terry Dease was eliminated from the race due to crash damage.
Six laps later, a multi-car incident in turn three sparked by contact between Chris Denny and Ryan Repko eliminated Denny and Chris Davis while damaging the ride of Brandon Grosso.
After the last early-race restart, McCaskill motored around Berry and began to pull away from the field. During the mid-race run, Ronald Hill clawed his way to the front in the best run of his CARS Tour career and began to close in on McCaskill for the race lead.
McCaskill began to pull away from the field until lap 91 when Stefan Parsons and Ty Gibbs were involved in the scariest incident of the night. The pair made contact on the exit of turn two while racing inside the top ten and the aftermath sent Gibbs onto his roof, sliding the length of the backstretch in a shower of sparks and ultimately bursting into flames once the car came to a stop. Gibbs emerged from the accident unscathed.
With nine laps to go, McCaskill was forced to fend off Ronald Hill on a restart, a task he handled with precision. As he pulled away to his fourth career CARS Late Model Stock Tour win, Hill dealt handily with Berry, Jared Fryar and Layne Riggs as he led them across the line to complete the top five.
“We had such a great racecar, and it kept getting better,” a clearly exhausted McCaskill said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “It started to get a little tight in one and two, but I just had to back my corner up. We just had killer drive off tonight. I just can’t thank my guys for all their hard work yesterday when we got the car driving good, but it seemed like we worked on it more today to try to get the drive off the corner and it paid off. We’ve been working our butts off on this car, and we’ve been off and I haven’t been my normal self, but this race is special. I grew up racing here and learned from a lot of those guys. I think it’s been 2003 since I’ve won a late model stock race here.
“Ronald’s a tough guy and he’s hungry, he’s definitely hungry for a win” he continued when asked about his earlier days where he raced Hill and his father, among others, during weekly shows at the track. “We were up there talking about our age earlier, but this was a good run for him here with his hometown crowd, and he needed this living just a few miles from here. We really appreciate the CARS Tour and all these fans coming out, what a great turnout with all this hot weather.”
SUPER LATE MODEL RECAP
After winning his first career super late model race at Orange County a month ago, Cole Rouse picked up where he left off by winning the Mahle Pistons Pole Award in qualifying, placing him on the front row with Brandon Setzer for the start of the super late model race. In a new, unique format to super late model racing, the event was scheduled with four varying-length stages with breaks in between for adjustments and pit stops.
Rouse easily led the opening 35-lap segment from start to finish, but his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell was not so lucky. Racing with Brandon Setzer for third, Bell and Setzer made minor contact in turn three, sending Bell’s No. 4 into a spin which resulted in contact with the outside wall. Though able to continue, he was not a factor the rest of the night.
Rouse shot out to the lead once again in stage two until Stephen Nasse lost control of his car on the frontstretch and pounded the outside wall. On the ensuring restart, Rouse spun the tires and stacked up the field, giving Bubba Pollard the opportunity to lead for the first time on the night. Pollard held the top spot until the lap 100 break, earning an extra $500 for the mid-race stage win.
The vast majority of the field took tires during the lap 100 break to prepare them for the 50-lap dash to the finish. Those who took fewer tires started ahead of those who more, leaving Jeff Batten (none) and Tate Fogleman (two) on the front row. Chase Purdy and Brandon Setzer took three tires and restarted in row two ahead of a plethora of others who bolted on four sticker Hoosiers.
Fogleman quickly rocketed to the lead but it was short-lived when Bubba Pollard reeled in the No. 8 Ford and reassumed command of the race on lap 110. Pollard continued to set the pace handily over Steve Wallace who finished the penultimate stage in second prior to the final break on lap 135.
On the restart, Pollard nearly missed his turn-in point in the first corner, allowing Wallace and others to challenge for the lead, but he quickly gathered himself to begin pulling away for what appeared to be a $10,000 payday until a last-lap caution slowed the field prior to the checkered flag. Per CARS Tour rules, the entire field must take the white flag for the race to complete and a small handful of cars had not when Kodie Conner and Lucas Jones tangled in turn one to facilitate the final caution period of the night.
With two laps remaining, Pollard gave Steve Wallace the bottom lane into turn one and Wallace took full advantage of it. Pollard turned into the first turn early, making minor contact with Wallace, sending Pollard’s car up the hill and opening the door for Wallace, Matt Craig and others to shuffle around the Georgian as the field came to the white flag. Craig made a last-corner desperation attempt to steal the lead in turn three, door-slamming Wallace and sending both cars into a slide, but the No. 66 Ford of Wallace won the drag race to the checkered flag and the richest payday in CARS Tour history ahead of Craig, Rouse, Spencer Davis and Pollard.
“That was good, hard racing, man,” an exhausted and overheated Steve Wallace said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “Me and Bubba have raced really hard over the last few years, but it is what it is, it’s a big win, we’re racing for 10,000 bucks right here. It just feels good to win. These Jet Tools guys work so hard, and it’s just me at the race shop, and we dig as hard as we can. All these boys come in and work their tails off for me, and we couldn’t do it without Jeff Fultz and Fury Racecars, they built me one hell of a machine. I’ve raced my whole life and never been this hot. It was scorching out there, but we won the race, and we sure as hell are going to win the party, I’ll promise you that.
“I like Bubba, he’s a really good friend of mine, but I came here with all the friends I need and I’m going home with ’em too and I ain’t worried about it,” he continued when asked about recent scuttlebutt from Pollard on the way he has been raced across the country. “That’s just racing, man. All these fans paid a good amount of money to come see this race and I feel like we gave ’em one hell of a show tonight.”
The CARS Tour visits Hickory Motor Speedway for the inaugural Throwback 276 on August 5, an event featuring over two dozen throwback-themed paint schemes and at least a half-dozen NASCAR legends including Ned Jarrett, Waddell Wilson, Harry Gant, Robert Pressley, Robert Huffman and Jack Ingram. Fans are encouraged to don their own throwback attire for the race, a tribute to short track racing’s past by the stars of the future.
For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at www.carsracingtour.com. Fresh content and updates can also be found on the series Facebook page (@carstour), Twitter (@carstour), Instagram (@cars_tour), Snapchat (@carstour) and YouTube channel (/carstour). The series Roku app is also available for installation to see live and on-demand events by following the instructions available at www.carstour.tv.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
– How popular was the race at Orange County in its inaugural format? Series officials pushed the start of the event back 15 minutes to accommodate the exceptionally long line at the ticket gate. Fans continued to fill the facility even after the green flag, reiterating the quality show they have come to expect from the series at Orange County.
– With only three races remaining, the late model stock title fight drew even closer at Orange County. Unofficially, Layne Riggs, Anthony Alfredo and Josh Berry are separated by a mere 6 point margin heading into the Throwback 276. Alfredo won both duels at Hickory earlier this season despite a dominant performance by teammate Berry early.
– The upcoming Throwback 276 has already had a number of schemes revealed including liveries paying tribute to the early careers of Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Richard Petty, Alan Kulwicki and more. A number of other regionally and nationally-famous schemes will be unveiled in the weeks leading up to the event.
CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Orange County Speedway – July 22, 2017
POS NUM DRIVER LAPS REASON OUT
1. 08 Deac McCaskill 100
2. 74 Ronald Hill 100
3. 88b Josh Berry 100
4. 81 Jared Fryar 100
5. 99 Layne Riggs 100
6. 8 Anthony Alfredo 100
7. 14 Ryan Repko 100
8. 32 Brandon Grosso 100
9. 28 Chris Hudspeth 100
10. 2 Myatt Snider 100
11. 98 Stefan Parsons 91 Accident
12. 18 Ty Gibbs 91 Accident
13. 44 Justin Johnson 60 Mechanical
14. 61 Justin Hicks 53 Mechanical
15. 42 Tommy Lemons 53 Mechanical
16. 1 Craig Moore 16 Mechanical
17. 2d Chris Denny 14 Accident
18. 88 Chris Davis 14 Accident
19. 06 Terry Dease 8 Accident
CARS Super Late Model Tour
Orange County Speedway – July 22, 2017
POS NUM DRIVER LAPS REASON OUT
1. 66 Steve Wallace 151
2. 54 Matt Craig 151
3. 51 Cole Rouse 151
4. 55 Spencer Davis 151
5. 26 Bubba Pollard 151
6. 8 Tate Fogleman 151
7. 97 Chase Purdy 151
8. 6W Matt Wallace 151
9. 99 Raphael Lessard 151
10. 49 Jeff Batten 151
11. 34 Nolan Pope 151
12. 4 Christopher Bell 151
13. 37 Mike Speeney 151
14. 16 Lucas Jones 149 Accident
15. 45 Kodie Conner 149 Accident
16. 5 Trevor Noles 147 Mechanical
17. 6 Brandon Setzer 131 Mechanical
18. 51N Stephen Nasse 74 Accident
19. 118 Bradley McCaskill 61 Mechanical
20. 98 Jody Measmer 56 Mechanical
21. 28 Jared Irvan 10 Engine
Article Via CarsRacingTour.com
Photos by Jeremy Tyndall