Much of the talk surrounding Saturday’s CARS Tour Super Late Model race at Hickory Motor Speedway has involved Brandon Setzer and Raphael Lessard. However, neither of those drivers actually won that race. In case you forgot, Chris Dilbeck won that CARS Tour race.
Dilbeck is a part-time racer who drives the black No. 9 Super Late Model, in case you forgot that part too.
Allow us to take the time to give you a quick refresher about what happened at the end of Saturday’s race.
With nine laps to go, Jake Crum and Tate Fogleman made contact and Fogleman went for a spin. That caution erased Dilbeck’s lead of more than a full second over Lessard.
On the next restart, Lessard made even more contact with Dilbeck, this time causing Dilbeck to fall back to fourth. Lessard held the lead over Setzer who used a bump-and-run to take the lead on the last lap in turn two. Lessard caught Setzer and the two made contact into turn three, causing Setzer to spin, which brought out the caution once again.
Lessard was sent to the rear of the field for his involvement in the spin by Setzer, so the final restart saw Chandler Smith scored the leader with Dilbeck in second.
Dilbeck took the lead away from Smith on the white flag lap to score the victory. But while Dilbeck was pulling into victory lane to celebrate his win in a thrilling race, a fight ensued in the pit area behind him. From that point forward, the focus of the race has shifted to what occurred in the Kyle Busch Motorsports pit stall instead of what happened on the race track.
“I’m a little disappointed in the lack of support for racing in the last few days,” Dilbeck said on Thursday morning. “I feel like I might as well be watching Jersey Shore than actually being involved in short track racing.”
Dilbeck, who works full time for PFC Brakes, said his disappointment isn’t about him. He said it’s about the lack of attention being given to his partners that help him race just a handful of times a year.
“It was huge for us. That’s really where some of the frustration comes from. Not for me personally. I’m not the type to jump up and down and say, ‘Look at me. Give me attention.’ I just hate it for PFC Brakes and Integra Shocks and Swift Springs and all of the people that put this effort into our racing. I texted Bob (Dillner) and said we picked the wrong race to win. I’m just frustrated for the people that support my racing and make it possible for us to even be able to do something like this. For them to get a little attention and get what they deserve, I think, is a good thing.”
However, Dilbeck said he does understand why the post-race scuffle between Setzer and Lessard’s crew has received as much attention as it has.
“I understand people enjoy the drama and people like the drama, but the way short track racing is nowadays compared to other motorsports, it’s still true hardcore racing. Which is the reason, I’m sure, that the situation with Setzer and Lessard has gotten the attention it has gotten. It’s because of the raw emotion and raw racing we do in short track racing. But at that same time, there was still a great race that happened Saturday night.”
That is indeed true. Regardless of what side of the Setzer/KBM ruckus you find yourself, if you were at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday, you saw a great race for a variety of reasons. It had drama, it had conflict, it had an underpowered underdog taking the win. It had just about everything one could ask for in an automobile race.
“I feel like a lot of that has been overlooked because of the little shoving match after the race.”
As for Dilbeck, who did receive some contact from Lessard’s No. 51, he said he’s on Setzer’s side.
“(Lessard) completely cost us our chance at the win. If the rule wasn’t the way it was with the CARS Tour as far as finishing under green no matter what and not racing back to the flag on the white flag lap, we would not have won the race.
“I’m on Brandon’s side. Brandon is a good race car driver. He races me clean. He and I have never touched. I told him after the race that if I hadn’t won the race I’d have been down there having a conversation with Raphael too because he didn’t treat us right on the race track either.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo credit: Speed51.com