Three CARS Late Model Stock Tour drivers entered Saturday night’s event at Carteret County Speedway within 17 points of one another in a hard-fought championship battle. As fate would have it, those title contenders were the only ones to leave the Swansboro, North Carolina facility unscathed from a chaotic cage match of a race.
The Solid Rock Carriers 125 only saw 90 of its 125 scheduled laps completed, cut short due to an 11 p.m. ET curfew at the track near Emerald Isle. The race itself was halted four times, due to multi-car incidents and a pair of stoppages for repairs to the track surface, before finally coming to a close 35 laps shy of the intended finish.
In those 90 laps, Layne Riggs dominated the show, putting together his second straight win with the series to close the gap on points leader Jared Fryar. While Riggs largely stayed ahead of the fray, he was well aware of everything taking place around him.
“It was a wild night,” Riggs told Speed51. “From the track coming apart to when that big wreck happened, they told me, ‘Every car on the track wrecked. Just stop.’
“We just prevailed. We had a good qualifying run, and we knew that was going to be key here with such a one-groove, bottom-feeder track. With the inside walls here, you can’t dive inside somebody to make the pass. We knew nobody was going to pass us unless they got into us.”
The closest threat to Riggs came in the form of Corey Heim, who briefly contended for the win and nearly took the lead from Riggs just past halfway. The two drivers made contact during their battle for the lead, with Riggs ultimately pulling away.
After contact between the two decided the most recent race with the series at Langley Speedway, Riggs wondered if some of the contact was payback from that event.
“Corey got a little impatient. I know he’s hungry. I don’t know if it was payback from Langley or he just wanted to win bad. A little bit of bad blood there, I feel, but hopefully nothing going into these next couple of races.”
Heim chalked the battle up to typical short-track racing, acknowledging the battle negatively impacted his car’s performance in the closing laps.
“Me and Layne definitely got into it a little bit. If you go to any short track like this, you’re going to see stuff like that. We didn’t wreck each other. When I hit him, my hood came up a little and it acted like a parachute. I went into the next corner and plowed like a dump truck.”
While Riggs closed the points gap unofficially from 13 points to seven between himself and leader Jared Fryar, Fryar salvaged the points lead with a third-place finish. It was an up-and-down night for the series’ winner at Franklin County Speedway, who was grateful to escape with a podium finish.
“It was pretty wild. I’m just thankful to finish third. We were back there in seventh at one point and was fading back. We just got hung up on the outside and couldn’t get a break.”
Fryar’s biggest break came at the detriment of several drivers in contention for the win, a multi-car incident on lap 62 on the frontstretch initiated by contact between Mini Tyrrell and Brandon Pierce. Both Tyrrell and Pierce had been in the top five throughout the night prior to the contact.
Tyrrell was disappointed and frustrated to see his strong run come to a premature end, expressing his frustration with Pierce for the incident.
“It was a hard hit. I’m not really sure what happened. I just got dumped into three and then turned into the wall on the straightaway. I think he’s clipped about four or five race cars tonight.
“I’m just heartbroken for my guys and my crew. We worked so hard for what we had, to be destroyed like that not even halfway through the race. It’s disappointing. Me and my father worked hard, from 7:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night to be able to do this, and it’s destroyed.”
Pierce was unavailable for comment at the conclusion of the race.
Fryar narrowly avoided the incident, dodging the carnage and escaping with just minor rear-end damage from those behind him.
“I was tucked up to Brandon’s bumper so tight,” said Fryar. “When we got back in the gas, I saw he didn’t go, so I lifted. About that time, I saw Mini spinning across him, and I just knew I couldn’t hit him. I knew they were going to be barreling in behind me. Luckily, they just got into my quarter-panel a little bit, no major damage.”
Avoiding a catastrophic night was important for Fryar’s championship hopes, keeping him atop the standings with two races remaining.
“That would have really hurt, because Layne did everything he could tonight. Hats off to those guys, they’ve been fast and had really good cars.”
Connor Mosack finished fourth, with Bobby McCarty rounding out the top five in the event. Stay tuned to Speed51.TV for more post-race coverage from Saturday’s race at Carteret County Speedway.
The CARS Late Model Stock Tour returns to action on October 3 at Florence Motor Speedway (SC), the series’ first event at the facility.
Unofficial Results – CARS Tour at Carteret County
- Layne Riggs
- Corey Heim
- Jared Fryar
- Connor Mosack
- Bobby McCarty
- Ronald Hill
- Brandon Pierce
- Jessica Cann
- Nolan Pope
- Stacy Puryear
- Brandon Clements
- Mini Tyrrell
- Chad McCumbee
- Justin Johnson
- Jonathan Findley
- Jonathan Shafer
- Trevor Ward
- Travis Truett
- Sammy Smith
- Matt Cox
- Camden Gullie
- Tyler Matthews
- Chris Burns
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo