Cole Rouse shook the monkey off his back by scoring his first career Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Super Late Model Tour victory Saturday evening, holding off Casey Roderick and Matt Craig for the win at Orange County Speedway (NC).
“It was all these guys who did it for me,” Rouse told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I feel like they gave me great cars all year.
“We’ve had some parts issues and stuff like that. I’m really happy for these guys and I think we’ll get a lot more”
The first 18 laps were run under a green and yellow flag, as the field put heat in the track after the afternoon shower. When the green flag dropped, Craig briefly led before falling behind Rouse.
“It was a really aggressive and fast pace at the beginning,” Craig explained. “That was a long race. I don’t know if it was the weather getting hotter or the humidity. That makes it all tougher on the drivers. It was a very hard race. It was a very quick pace. I wanted to run a little slower, but I had to keep my track position.”
Craig retook the lead on a lap 48 restart, holding the lead for 70 more laps. Rouse took the top spot for good on lap 119, pulling away to secure the victory.
Rouse praised the work of his Kyle Busch Motorsports team, which has consistently provided fast cars but had not earned a win with Rouse until tonight.
“Those guys are all professionals,” Rouse said. “A lot of the races that they came to, we’ve had some issues during the race. They made it to this race, and I am really happy for them.”
Casey Roderick finished second to Rouse with an impressive drive of his own. Roderick brought a Pro Late Model to the Super Late Model event, but charged through the field late to score the runner-up finish.
“It was exciting. There was a lot of action out there,” said Roderick. “The first time being here, I felt like we had a good car. We struggled in practice to get grip off the corner, even with the [Pro Late Model] car.
“We changed a lot of stuff, probably more than we’ve ever changed at the race track,” Roderick continued. “We got a good handle on it. It was really good throughout the whole race. There at the end, I just had to start running so hard. I eventually got the right-front hot and it started to get hot with me through the center of the corner.”
Saturday marked the third time in five CARS Super Late Model Tour events at Orange County Speedway the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports machine has scored the win. In each of the previous two seasons, Christopher Bell has scored a win at the 0.375-mile oval driving for KBM.
The next CARS Tour event will take place in Hudson, North Carolina at Tri-County Motor Speedway. There, the series will run 100 laps in the Super Late Model and Late Model Stock divisions.
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s CARS Tour event by clicking here.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
CARS Tour Super Late Model Unofficial Results
Orange County Speedway (NC) – June 24, 2017