He may have led all 150 laps, but Deac McCaskill’s CARS Tour 150 was not even close to being simple. McCaskill had to fend off charges from two of the best drivers Late Model Stock Car racing has to offer to take the win in the season-opener at Lucama, North Carolina’s Southern National Motorsports Park.
For much of the race it was Josh Berry riding right on the back bumper of McCaskill’s No. 08 machine. As they weaved their way in and out of lapped traffic during a long, 95-lap green flag run to start the race, Berry stayed glued to McCaskill.
Then, as the cautions started to come, Berry looked as if he was seriously going to test McCaskill.
But as the laps wound down it was Tommy Lemons who would be McCaskill’s only competition for the win. Lemons got by Berry with just five laps to go, but ran out of time to chase down McCaskill for the win.
McCaskill beat Lemons to the checkered flag by 0.670-second to capture the victory. Berry, Myatt Snider and Matt Bowling completed the top five.
“It was really tough,” McCaskill told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I couldn’t pull away from Josh and he couldn’t gain on me. Then Tommy was coming on, and I was hoping we wouldn’t have a caution because Tommy is a hard guy to race with.”
Lemons, who charged from the 18th starting position, perhaps did need a caution to come out, because he said afterwards that he ran out of laps to catch McCaskill.
“Once the car took off it was a rocket ship,” Lemons said. “But it was just too little too late.”
The race was halted with 101 laps complete when Michael Fose went up and onto the hood of Craig Stallard’s car in turn two. The result was a 14-minute red flag period as the track crew tried to clean up the mess.
Lemons said the lengthy red flag hurt him, even though it helped him out with track position.
“The red flag hurt us and it helped us,” he said. “We kept getting track position with the cautions, but we didn’t need to sit there like we did and let the tires cool off.”
The long stoppage was a drastic change of pace from earlier in the race which saw an extremely long green flag run from the start of the race until the first caution came out with here 95 laps on the board.
McCaskill and Berry battled for the lead as they fought traffic, which McCaskill said was quite stressful.
“That was crazy,” McCaskill said. “Josh is a great guy and I knew he was going to race me clean. If it came down to a little bumping that would have been fine. That wouldn’t have bothered me because with all of them lapped cars it was definitely really crazy for the first half of the event.”
The next CARS Tour event is on April 16 at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, North Carolina.
For an on-demand replay of today’s Trackside Now coverage presented by Centroid Machines, click here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Southern National Motorsports Park, Lucama, North Carolina
|2||27||Tommy Lemons Jr.|