Matt Craig earned his second Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Super Late Model Tour victory of 2017, leading 98 of 100 laps in the series’ stop at Tri-County Motor Speedway Saturday evening.
“It’s really exciting,” Craig told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We had a good car all weekend. We just did what we knew we could do.”
Craig owned the fastest car all day at the 0.400-mile oval in Hudson, North Carolina, and showed it at every opportunity. The Kannapolis, North Carolina native paced both practice sessions during the afternoon. When time trials were rained out, his placement in final practice earned him the pole, a spot he rarely relinquished during the race.
“We were fastest in both practices,” Craig said. “Qualifying got rained out, so we started on the pole, led every lap. It was a good night.”
Craig was only briefly challenged on lap 18, when Jake Crum completed a pass for the lead. However, Craig reclaimed the lead on lap 20, never relinquishing it.
“I was riding there for the first good bit,” Craig said. “I was just running the pace I wanted to run. There were a couple of guys I think wanted to go faster, but I didn’t let them by me.”
The 100-lap race was not slowed once by caution flags, as the Super Late Model competitors completed a clean race. Craig says he was able to run his own pace throughout the 100-lap feature, without fear of not having anything left at the end if a late restart cropped up.
“I stayed at my same pace and everybody else around me just slowed down,” said Craig. “There toward the end I slowed down a little bit more, in case there was a caution.”
Craig now holds wins in two CARS Tour and three Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model events in 2017. As the wins add up, confidence grows for Craig and his team.
“Each win boosts your confidence and helps you feel really good,” Craig said. “When you win, it makes everybody happy and makes everyone work harder. All these wins, we try to learn more and build towards those bigger races.”
One of those bigger races comes in two weeks on the CARS Super Late Model Tour, at a track where Craig has experienced success on several occasions. The CARS Tour will host its inaugural $10,000-to-win Mid Atlantic Classic for the Super Late Models at Orange County Speedway on July 22.
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Saturday's CARS Tour event by clicking here.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent - Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
CARS Tour Super Late Model Unofficial Results
Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC) - July 8, 2017