“If he wants to play a game like this, next week he’ll be in the wall if I get the opportunity.”
With that one quote from Kevin Eby, the 2015 season for the Street Stock division at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina is officially underway.
Eby was roughed up for the lead by Charlie Neill on lap 13 of the season-opening 30-lap feature Saturday night. Neill pulled a bump-and-run move on Eby in turn three, which was the second of Saturday’s run-ins between the two drivers. Neill got into Eby in practice as well, but when it happened in the race, it appeared to ruin Eby’s shot at the victory.
Neill pulled away from Eby after the contact and drove to victory lane. While Neill celebrated, Eby was furious. He never approached Neill in victory lane, but gave Speed51.com the “he will be in the wall” line before further elaborating on his run-ins with Neill Saturday.
“The only way he could pass me is plain dump me off into the turn,” said Eby. “He hit me in practice. He came up and slammed the whole side of my car. So I kind of gave him a little gesture to show I’m not pleased with him. I guess that’s how he had to pass me.”
After Neill posed for victory lane photographs and after Eby voiced his frustrations, the win was taken away from Neill in the tech shed due to a tread width violation.
Still, Neill knew immediately after the race that Eby vowed revenge.
“Even though he’s mad, I do apologize for scuffing him because I did,” Neill said before the disqualification. “I was faster than him, but he’ll pay me back. It comes around, but then it goes back around. I ran in too hard. I was clearly faster than he was. He is a bottom feeder and I like the bottom too. It’s the first race of the season with a new car. He’ll pay me back. I know he will.”
Once handed the trophy later in the evening, Eby’s attitude about the way things shook out on the track had changed.
“I know I said things I probably shouldn’t have said earlier, but it was the heat of the moment and you say things you shouldn’t say,” said Eby. “I’m glad that I won and it proves who had the better car tonight.”
Behind Eby, Mark Whitten was bumped up to second following Neill’s disqualification. Marshall Sutton, Don Machutta and Larry Mosher rounded out the top five.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield
– Photo credits: Speed51.com