With $10,000 on the line for CARS Tour Super Late Models Saturday night at Orange County Speedway, the final score was settled between two drivers piloting Rowdy Manufacturing racecars. In the end, a late-race pit stop and a strong charge to the front helped Trevor Noles win the battle of the Rowdy's over Matt Craig.
Noles had a strong car racing out of the Wilson Motorsports stables while running amongst the leaders all night. However, a tire issues had the No. 22 Super Late Model slowing down right before a competition caution with 30 laps to go. That caution allowed him to put a fresh tire on the car, charge from the back and take the lead from Craig in the final 10 laps to score the big money win at Orange County.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” Noles said in victory lane. “I felt something pop and I thought our night was going to be over. We got to change the right rear, which was flat, and we were able to get back to the front.”
Prior to Saturday night, it had been four years since Noles won his last race, which was at Southern National at the end of the 2015 season. It was also the first win for 2017 All American 400 winner Donnie Wilson as a car owner.
“We are going to enjoy this one while we can,” Noles added. “We worked hard to be ready for today and we are running the same car that Matt (Craig) has. We go way back and I knew he wasn’t going to run me hard. I chose the top and rolled around him from there.”
Craig, who won the most recent CARS Tour Super Late Model race at Hickory, was pleased with second.
“You can’t race with a guy who has a fresh tire on the right rear when you have 120-130 laps on yours,” Craig said. “We did the best we could with the situation and it was a one-two finish for Rowdy.”
A long battle between Craig and Brandon Setzer ended with Setzer spinning and Craig brushing the wall in the late stages of the race.
“I don’t know what happened with Setzer,” Craig said. “I am not sure if he got loose getting into three, but he doored me pretty hard and I went up and brushed the wall. The car wasn’t the same after that.”
Setzer did continue after the contact, but really wasn’t a factor after flat spotting the tires. He eventually retired from the race in the final 20 circuits.
“I felt like that was my opportunity to get the lead,” Setzer said. “It’s so hard to pass and I got free going into turn three and spun my self out and put him in the wall. It was a bad situation, that’s not what I wanted to do and I wasn’t trying to wreck him. Those Rowdy cars are tough right now.”
Craig will run the Speed51 Super Select at Lucas Oil Raceway on September 7 before turning his attention back to the CARS Tour where he is the point leader heading into South Boston. With his victory Saturday night, Noles also earned himself an invitation for the Speed51 Super Select Super Late Model All-Star Race.
The season final for the CARS Tour is set for November 2 at South Boston Speedway.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
1 Trevor Noles
2 Matt Craig
3 Giovenni Bromante
4 Corey Heim
5 Stephen Nasse
6 Jared Fryar
7 Molan Pope
8 Matt Wallace
9 Molly Helmuth
10 Carson Kvapil
11 Jeff Batten
12 Kyle Plott
13 Toby Grynewicz
14 Kodie Conner
15 Tate Fogleman
16 Steve Wallace
17 Eric Nash
18 Brandon Setzer
19 Mike Speeney