Matt Craig’s domination of Super Late Model racing in the Carolinas is already off to a strong start in 2020.
The Kannapolis, North Carolina driver didn’t just win the PRA Tours Super Late Model Series season opener at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) Saturday night. He led 120 of the race’s 125 laps and lapped all but three of his fellow racers to score an overwhelming victory.
Craig started fourth in the event at the Lucama, North Carolina 4/10-mile oval, but quickly moved to the front of the field and led the rest of the way. With just one caution slowing the pace for the event, Craig was able to lap all the way up to fifth-place Josh Brock by the conclusion of the race.
While the field spread out over the course of the event, Craig said he was pushing hard throughout the race to prepare for a return to Southern National.
“The car was really good,” Craig told Speed51. “We ran pretty hard the whole race. It was practice next weekend for the CARS Tour race. There will be a lot of good competition here, and there was a lot of good competition tonight.”
When the checkered flag fell, Craig won by more than nine seconds over defending series champion Kodie Conner in an impressive display.
“We just stretched it out. We just had a good car and it stayed good.”
Conner began his title defense with a strong showing, coming away with a runner-up finish in his first on-track activity of 2020.
“I’m happy to be back,” said Conner. “I’m so ecstatic about this weekend. All offseason I hadn’t been in a car, I hadn’t tested, nothing. To come out of here with a second-place finish, I’m happy, my crew is happy.”
While the race was a relatively calm one, Conner had a scary moment near the halfway mark of the event.
“The crazy thing is, during the race I had a throttle spring break. I like a nice, stiff throttle so I can use it how I want it. About mid-race, it broke and whipped it sideways off of four. That was a little bit wild and it heated up that right-rear, but all in all a great weekend and we brought it home in one piece.”
Nolan Pope finished third in the race, with Carson Kvapil and Josh Brock rounding out the top five.
The PRA Tours Super Late Model Series will return to action on Saturday, March 28 for a 100-lap feature at Caraway Speedway (NC).
Race fans who missed Saturday’s season opener can view live updates from the race on Speed51’s Race Day Now coverage by clicking here.
Speed51 will also have highlights and a recap from the race on the Speed51 Network. For more information about joining the Speed51 Network, click here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo
PRA Tours Season Opener Unofficial Results