Matt Craig has established himself as one of the top Super Late Model drivers in the Southeast, winning championships in each of the past five seasons. He’ll tackle a new challenge this weekend, teaming up with Marcus Richmond and R & S Race Cars to make his Late Model Stock Car debut in the South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway (SC).
The Richmond-Craig partnership began earlier this fall at the All American 400, as Richmond acted as crew chief for Craig’s Super Late Model outfit. In that event, Craig rallied from a broken shock to score a top-10 finish.
“We were really looking for some help at the Snowball Derby, crew chief wise. We’ve been running the CARS Tour, and Marcus has run his Late Model Stock at the CARS Tour also, so we talked to him.
“He came to the All American 400 with us and crew chiefed for us. After that, he was like, ‘Do you want to run my Late Model Stock Car?’ We worked out a deal, and we’re able to go racing this weekend.”
Craig has never competed in a Late Model Stock Car, with his most recent experience in a perimeter chassis coming in the former Pro Cup Series in 2014.
“I did run the Pro Cup car that last year they ran them, in 2014, I think. That’s the only experience I have in the perimeter chassis. It’ll be different, but an hour or so of practice and I’ll probably adapt and be right there with the normal Late Model Stock guys.”
Still, the strength of the R & S Race Cars team gives Craig plenty of reason to believe he can compete this weekend at Florence. The R & S house car Craig will pilot won several Late Model Stock Car events throughout the season, while Jared Fryar piloted another R & S machine to the CARS Late Model Stock Tour title in 2020.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence. His cars have been winning races, and the championship last year in the Late Model Stock Car. I’ve just got to get myself where I’m good in the car. Hopefully, I’ll be able to figure it out this weekend.”
Craig also hopes that the partnership with Richmond could carry into the 2021 season and beyond. While he knows Richmond’s first priority right now is R & S Race Cars, he’d love to lean on his expertise in crown jewel Super Late Model events in the future.
“I think so. He’s a super-smart guy and has a lot of knowledge from working in the Truck Series. He’ll be busy with his Late Model Stock team, but for the bigger events, for sure.”
Race fans unable to attend the South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway can watch live on Speed51.TV by clicking here.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo