NC Standout Defends Home Turf Against National Stars

Some of the top Super Late Model racers from all corners of the map descended upon Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) for the CARS Tour season opener. In the end, Matt Craig defended home turf with a dominant victory in the 150-lap event.


Craig dominated the event, leading every lap despite a talented field on hand at the 4/10-mile oval.  The victory gave the Kannapolis, North Carolina native wins in back-to-back weeks at the track after taking the checkered flag in last Saturday’s PRA Tours opener.


While there were talented drivers in last week’s field, including Super Late Model champions such as Josh Brock and Kodie Conner, Craig hoped this week’s win would quell some of the critics he saw after the first triumph.


“I think this one feels better because we had [Bubba] Pollard, [Trevor] Noles, [Stephen] Nasse,” Craig told Speed51.  “Last week I had a few comments on Facebook, Twitter, no competition last week.  I don’t think you can say that this week.  Good competition, good cars, but my car was dialed in.”


Along with the aforementioned trio, Saturday’s field included defending Snowball Derby winner Travis Braden, 2019 Pro All Stars Series National Champion Mike Hopkins, and many more talented Super Late Model racers.


With such a diverse field representing many states and even another country in Canada, it was important for Craig to score the win in his home state.


“This is our home turf. I kind of have to defend the home turf when these guys come in.  I want to get a little bit better in their turf but it’s important to be good here, too.”


The win also gives Craig back-to-back wins to start the 2020 season.  While he has been dominant in the Carolinas over the past half-decade, he has not scored three consecutive victories.


That is something he hopes to change when the CARS Tour goes to Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) in two weeks.


“I’ve never started a season with two wins right off the truck.  That’s pretty cool.  We’ve got Hickory coming up.  That’s a good track for us.  Last time we were there, we won.  This is my 20thwin, but I’ve never won three in a row.  We’ll give it a try at Hickory.”


Trevor Noles finished second to Craig, with Stephen Nasse completing the podium.  Travis Braden came home fourth, with Carson Kvapil rounding out the top five.


Bubba Pollard was in contention for a podium finish in the closing laps, but a flat tire relegated him to a 14th-place finish.


Stay tuned to the Speed51 Network for post-race coverage of Saturday’s CARS Tour opener, featuring both the Late Model Stock and Super Late Model divisions in the series.


-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans

-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo


CARS Tour Super Late Model Season Opener Unofficial Results


Pos # Driver
1 54 Matt Craig
2 22 Trevor Noles
3 51 Stephen Nasse
4 77 Travis Braden
5 35 Carson Kvapil
6 45 Kodie Conner
7 15 Mike Hopkins
8 9 Hudson Halder
9 17 Mike Speeney
10 13 Austin MacDonald
11 49 Jeff Batten
12 51S Sammy Smith
13 15S Gabe Sommers
14 26 Bubba Pollard
15 17B Jeremy Barclay

NC Standout Defends Home Turf Against National Stars