Steve Wallace outdueled Bubba Pollard on a green-white-checkered restart to win the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Super Late Model Tour Mid-Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway, earning $10,000 in the series’ first ever big-money event.
Pollard dominated most of the event, but a late-race caution set up a two-lap battle to the finish. On the restart, Wallace capitalized on the opportunity, passing Pollard for the lead and the win.
“As far as me and Bubba go, he’d do the same thing to win $10,000. Sometimes you’re on the winning end and sometimes you’re on the losing end. I didn’t try to go down there and spin him out or anything like that. It was just good, hard racing.”
The Mid-Atlantic Classic was the first of its kind on the CARS Super Late Model Tour, a $10,000-to-win event divided into four segments. Pollard won two of the first three segments and started at the point for the final 15-lap dash.
The Georgia native maintained his lead on the restart and appeared destined for victory. However, the caution flew one last time after Pollard had taken the white flag, as Lucas Jones and Kodie Conner collided in turn one.
“That’s part of racing. That’s short-track racing,” said Pollard after finishing fifth. “He beat me at the end. That’s part of racing.
“It sucks. It’s part of racing. That’s what the fans come to see. He outdrove me at the end.”
For Wallace, the caution played right into his hand.
“The guys at Fury Race Cars gave me a really good car,” said Wallace. “I was just chilling, riding a little bit. I was going pretty hard, but not 100 percent. I knew there could be a caution. It was just a tough race.”
Wallace was not home free after passing Pollard. Matt Craig put together a last-gasp charge in the final turn, making contact with Wallace in turn four. However, Wallace held on for the win with Craig finishing second.
“That was pretty exciting,” said Craig after his runner-up finish. “That was the most fun I’ve had in a race car in a long, long time. I’m worn out. At about 125 laps, I told my crew, ‘I’m done, I’ve got nothing left.’ But we got lined up and got set up in the seat and we made a charge at it.
“I could have done the 66 a lot dirtier, maybe gotten the win,” added Craig. “We’ll see him later on this year, we don’t want any enemies. We had maybe a top-ten car, I think. I just drove it for all I was worth. I just want to thank my guys, and thank the CARS Tour for putting this on. I hope the fans enjoyed it, because it was a lot of fun.”
The CARS Tour will return to action August 5 at Hickory Motor Speedway for the Throwback 276. There, the CARS Super Late Model Tour and Late Model Stock Tour will each run 138-lap features. Several teams have announced retro-inspired paint schemes for the event, which will celebrate the sport’s history.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ZTEvans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
CARS Tour Mid-Atlantic Classic Unofficial Results
Orange County Speedway (NC) – July 22, 2017