Brett Hamm dominated Saturday night in the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series feature at Fayetteville Motor Speedway, leading 49 of 50 laps. Unfortunately, a flat tire prevented him from leading the lap that mattered most.
Hamm suffered the flat tire entering turn three on the final lap of the $5,000-to-win feature, opening the door for Kyle Hardy to storm past and take the checkered flag.
Hardy made incidental contact with Hamm while passing the slowing leader, who then bounced off the wall and eventually spun across the finish line in fifth place as the rest of the front-runners scattered to avoid him.
Hardy scored his first career win under the Carolina Clash banner with the last-lap pass, but the celebration came with reservation after the events preceding it.
“It was unfortunate having to win that way, with the flat tire,” Hardy told Speed51. “I’ve been on the other end of that stick, too. It is what it is. I feel bad for him.
“I was content with second, but it’s a 50-lap race. Lap 50 pays the money if you finish it. We were able to finish it and bring it home.”
Hamm salvaged a top-five finish while spinning across the finish line as a result of the flat tire. He acknowledged that the tire issue had reared its head a couple of laps earlier, and he came up just a few hundred feet short of limping the car home.
“We knew we had a tire situation there,” said Hamm. “We knew we were being pretty hard on them. I really thought the left-rear would go before the right-rear did. I felt a vibration with about two to go. I tried to limp it home and made it three-quarters of the way home.”
Hardy sensed Hamm was struggling as he closed on the South Carolina native over the closing laps.
“I knew something was going on. He was getting really tight and having a hard time making the corners. I knew if I could get there I might be able to capitalize.”
Hamm was able to take the positive out of his misfortune, noting that an earlier failure would have cost him valuable positions and points as he pursues the Carolina Clash championship. Hamm entered the race 60 points ahead of Dennis Franklin, who finished 16thafter completing just 20 laps.
“It’s bad luck the tire blew, but it could have blown a lap earlier and we’d be all the way at the back instead of fifth. We were able to salvage that and we’ll try again next time.
“When you see the checkered flag coming up and you can start counting $5,000, and then you’re a lame duck laying in the race track, it’s difficult to see the good. We’ll live to fight another day.”
Trent Ivey finished second as a result of the last-lap chaos, while Michael Brown rounded out the podium. Christian Thomas finished fourth with Hamm rounding out the top five.
Three races remain on the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series schedule for 2019, with their next race scheduled for Saturday, October 12 at Carolina Speedway (NC).
Race fans who missed Saturday’s Carolina Clash event at Fayetteville Motor Speedway can watch highlights from the event on the Speed51 Network now by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo