After a month off from competition, the CARS Tour Super Late Models and Late Model Stocks return this Saturday at Orange County Speedway to begin the second half of the 10-race schedule.
The Super Late Models have one of the best points races in the entire nation heading into the weekend with points leader Raphael Lessard leading by just eight markers over Brandon Setzer, with both Cole Timm and Quin Houff just 10 points out of the lead in a tie for third place. All these drivers except Setzer have a win, but that is something that he’s spent the month of July working to change.
“It’s been a long break for us, but it’s been good. We’ve been struggling a little bit, it gave us some time to do a little extra testing and get our car back where it needs to be. We haven’t raced this past month, we went back to the drawing board, and tried some new things. I’m really happy,” Setzer told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Setzer, a member of the 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development class, has been a model of consistency with three top-five and four top-10 finishes in the first five races, with the only blemish being a tough outing at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC). After not thinking much of a championship early in the year, he knows now that in order to get an edge a driver must win, even it means taking a few risks.
“I didn’t really think about it that early in the season,” Setzer admitted. “I hoped to have a win by now. But we’ve been consistent for the most part which has kept us in there, to win the championship it is going to take wins. If we win the points will take care of themselves. It’s too far out to be points racing so we’re going to go out and try to get some wins.”
Returning to Orange County in Rougemont, NC is a welcome sign for Setzer as he considers the track a favorite of his and it is the home race for the team’s sponsor Romeo Guest Construction.
“We got a good piece for this weekend. I’m really happy to get back to Orange County. We’ve had a bunch of success there and it has been a good track for us.”
On the Late Model Stock side, points leader Deac McCaskill has also been busy during July, but not with his own car. Family has been the top priority, including his daughter Ashlyn who achieved a big milestone in Southern National Speedway’s UCar division just this past weekend.
“Just been spending a lot of time racing with her. We had a family vacation, went to the beach, then went back to racing this weekend, where she actually won her first race. So that was a pretty special weekend for us,” said McCaskill.
While he has enjoyed the past month, McCaskill is eager to get back to it, and he is confident that the No. 08 team can pick up where they left off.
“I’m anxious to get back going, it feels like we’ve been off for a long time. I don’t feel like it’s going to hurt us or help us one way or the other,” he said. “We haven’t done a whole lot to the car. Last time we were at Orange County we did pretty well, so we’ll unload with the same setup and see how it goes. I know it’s going to be hot this weekend, we’ll make a few adjustments for that.”
Despite second-place points runner Josh Berry taking the weekend to run the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Iowa Speedway for JR Motorsports, McCaskill still has Tommy Lemons Jr. breathing down his neck, just 10 points behind in third. McCaskill believes that in the end it may very well come down to wins over consistency in deciding the Late Model Stock championship.
“What we’re shooting for is to win races, just let the points take care of themselves. Unfortunately Josh (Berry) isn’t going to be there this weekend, but hopefully we’ll be able to put a little cushion between me and him. I think right now Tommy (Lemons Jr.) has been pretty strong these last few races, so he’s the one to be concerned about right now, he’s got a lot of momentum coming into Orange County.”
Be sure to follow Speed51.com this Saturday as our team will be on hand at Orange County Speedway for live Trackside Now coverage of the Summertime Showdown 250.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com