Bobby McCarty played his cards right and aced the 4/10th-mile paved oval of Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Caroina and claimed his third CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car victory in the 2018 season in dominating fashion.
McCarty set the pace early on and topped the charts in the first practice. He carried that momentum through qualifying and put his No. 22 Nelson Auto Sports late model stock on the pole for the 125-lap event.
However, it wasn’t a walk in the park for McCarty. Restarts were the only weak spot for his car, and that allowed drivers like Layne Riggs battled hard with him on restarts and for the win.
“The first couple of laps those boys really gave me a run for my money,” said McCarty. “My tires wouldn’t take heat in them, it’s like we were racing on ice cubes. Once we could get to the throttle clean and laid down, we really had a good car.
“We had a really good battle with Riggs for the lead on a lot of those restarts,” said McCarty. “We had a conversation in victory lane and I just told him thank you for racing me clean, but racing me hard as well. When the shoe is on the other foot, I’ll repay that.”
Riggs started the 125-lap event on the outside pole. He remained in the top-three for the entirety of the race and made sure McCarty knew that he was going to have to earn this win. Riggs ended in third.
“I definitely tried to run him down, but he had such a dominant car. I knew I didn’t have anything for him,” Riggs said. “We had a pretty good battle and raced each other clean, which made it fun. Overall, it was a good night. I’ll take a third place finish and move on to the next one.”
Cody Haskins made his way through the field after qualifying ninth to score a runner-up finish.
“We were a lot better on short runs, so we were banking on a lot of cautions,” said Haskins. “McCarty and the Nelson Auto Sports team has a heck of a car and hats off to them. I have to thank Riggs for running us clean as well. That was a heck of a battle up front.”
Entering the season, all of the talk was about five-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam as the championship favorite. Entering Saturday’s race, McCarty had a 12-point lead over Pulliam, and he extended that lead by leading every lap and winning while Pulliam finished in fourth.
“We’re just winning races,” said McCarty. “When I found out that Pulliam was a contender for the point championship and I was leading the points at the time, I knew that’s what I wanted. I want to race somebody that I can go toe-to-toe with, like Pulliam or Phillip Morris, and I want to beat them at their best.
“This year we’re going for it all. We want to win races and totally dominate from here on out,” said McCarty. “We’re out for blood.”
For an on-demand replay of Saturday’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies, click here.
-By Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @MadisonMabry23
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
CARS Late Model Stock Tour 125
Ace Speedway, Altamahaw, North Carolina
|13||27||Tommy Lemons, Jr.|