KENLY, N.C. — Saturday night’s season opening race at Southern National Motorsports Park did not disappoint. The race was headlined by a thrilling victory by 25-year-old Bradley McCaskill and a dominant victory by 21-year-old Andrew Grady.
McCaskill had to start in the back of the first of two races after his qualifying time was disallowed. He worked his way up through the field and made his race-winning move on the final turn of the final lap of the race, executing a bump-and-run on 35-year-old Ronald Renfrow. After clearing Renfrow, McCaskill cruised to the victory while Renfrow was relegated to a fourth place finish.
“We started in the back, had to come through the field ad used up a lot of equipment getting there,” McCaskill said. “The last lap was just hard racing. Not the way I want to do it. I had no intentions of knocking him out, Ronald’s a great guy. I feel terrible about that, but that’s racing.”
Renfrow, who recently had surgery after donating a kidney to his close personal friend Brent Pope, was miffed with McCaskill after the race.
“It’s racing, it’s a bad deal,” Renfrow said. “I just wish he carried me off in the corner and let me push and wash up, then turn under me, and I had him deliberately turn me. I don’t drive that way, and I wouldn’t drive nobody else that way. But all in all, our guys worked hard, we showed we can run with anybody here. We can be a contender week in and week out.”
Because of his recent surgery, Renfrow was unable to compete in the second race. He stepped out of the car and handed the wheel over to 25-year-old Matt Waltz.
“I had surgery about five months ago, and it’s all I had to run the first race, so we ain’t getting back in there the second race,” Renfrow said. “A good friend of mine was on dialysis, had diabetes, needed a kidney, and I went and got tested for the whole deal. We weren’t a match, so I entered a pair donation thing and donated a kidney. He went from being on dialysis and laying in a bed 14 hours a day to doing anything he wants to today.”
41-year-old Rusty Daniels finished in second while 39-year-old Bobby Gower finished third, Renfrow finished in fourth and 16-year-old Jonathan Findley rounded out the top five.
Andrew Grady moved to the lead early in the second late model feature and never looked back as he scored a dominant victory over McCaskill.
“Tonight was real special,” Grady said. “There was a lot of heat here tonight, with Bradley coming back. I figured he was going to be real, real strong, and he was. In my opinion, I just one of the absolute best that ever sat in the Limited Late Models, that’s Bradley McCaskill. I can say I beat him straight-up, head-to-head, no bull, no nothing. Glad to come away with it, and hopefully he comes back and we can try it again.”
McCaskill took his second place finish in stride after scoring the best average finish on the evening and scoring a victory earlier in the evening.
“A lot cleaner second race, I guess,” McCaskill remarked. “We used way too much tire up in the first race getting up to the front. We kind of leveled off there in the second. Gradys are going to be the ones to beat, and I finished in the Grady sandwich on the front straightaway.”
27-year-old Brandon Hobbs finished in third while Jonathan Findley finished fourth and Rusty Daniels finished fifth.
Michael O’Brien, 23, passed Jeremy Bohne, 28, on the 19th lap of the 35 lap Charger feature to score the victory. Bohne went on to finish second while Paul Williamson, 18, finished third.
21-year-old Alex Pacheco from Saugus, California led wire-to-wire in the Legends feature.
41-year-old Travis Miller scored the win in an exciting U-CAR feature.
11-year-old Josh Kossek scored the victory in the 15 lap Bandolero feature.