Mason Diaz and Michael Fose collected victories in Southern National Motorsports Park’s Late Model Stock Car division on Saturday night.
“I’ve been running here for years now,” Diaz told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’ve run ten or so races in Late Models here, and the Pro Late Model last year. It was a great feeling to get a win in a big car.”
Jonathan Findley started on the pole for the first 40-lap feature of the evening, rebounding from an incident two weeks ago with Louis White. The 2015 Southern National track champion held the lead until lap 29, when Diaz passed Findley for the lead.
The win is a special one for Diaz, as it is his first Late Model victory at the Lucama, North Carolina facility. As a developing driver, Diaz has raced in several divisions at Southern National, owned by Mason’s father Michael Diaz. While he holds victories in support classes at the 0.400-mile oval, this victory carries more weight and meaning.
“I’ve won here in Legends and Bandoleros,” Diaz continued. “It wasn’t even close to winning a Late Model Stock race here. I’ve been watching guys like Deac [McCaskill] and Lee [Pulliam] come out here and win. Now I can say I’m somewhat in the same position they are.”
Following an eight-car invert, Michael Fose charged to the front in the second feature of the evening. Fose started sixth in the field before taking the lead on lap 15. Despite a lap 21 caution, Fose held off Jonathan Findley for the victory.
“Once we got a good little gap, I figured we’d just ride a little bit just in case we got a late caution,” said Fose. “Luckily, we were able to seal the deal and get the win. The car was amazing. I’d like to thank Bradley McCaskill, Josh Van Winkle, Robert Arch, the McCaskill family, John West Engines and everyboy that made it happen.”
Diaz followed his win in the first race with a third-place finish in the nightcap. Diaz felt he had a strong chance at a sweep if not for a first-lap incident.
“I probably could have saved more in the first heat. In the start of the race, the very first corner, the leader [Gerald Benton] got sideways. We all accordioned up, and the nose of my car got messed up. It made it tight through the center. We still went to the front, and we probably would have had something for them if it weren’t for the front end damage. It was a great overall day. I can’t thank Mike Darne Racing enough for the fast car they give me.”
The Late Model Stock competitors will return to action at Southern National on April 22, once again competing in a 40-lap twinbill. That race will also mark the first event of Southern National’s Fast 5 Pro Late Model Series, with the Pro Late Models running a 100 lap feature.
-By Zach Evan, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com