LUCAMA, N.C. – Justin Johnson got his redemption at Southern National Motorsports Park in the first of two Late Model Stock Car races on Saturday while Bradley McCaskill scored his biggest Southern National victory in the second twin.
Johnson came to Southern National with something to prove after finishing second in the Thanksgiving Classic last fall. Teamed up with Robert Tyler, Johnson was quick out of the gate, setting the fast lap and starting on the pole.
Johnson held off multiple challenges on restarts from Bradley McCaskill and pulled away from Deac McCaskill in the closing laps to score the win, his first since returning to the Late Model Stock Car scene a couple years ago and his first ever at Southern National.
“Wins, they don’t come easy,” Johnson said in victory lane. “To beat Deac [McCaskill] here, in my opinion, as long as I’ve been racing, this is his race track. We had a super car. That first win after hanging it up there, it was a lot harder to come back and achieve than I ever expected. I’m really happy to be back at Southern National Motorsports Park. Love the facility. Hats off to Mike [Diaz] for all he does. Super win for us and glad to be here.”
An invert put Terry Dease on the pole for the second race. Dease would lead the first five laps before Bradley McCaskill roared past. McCaskill took the lead on lap six and drove away for his first win of the year. Bradley McCaskill held off his older cousin, Deac, to score the victory while Justin Johnson finished third.
“I want to thank the Lord man,” the younger McCaskill said. “We say prayers for safety. We had a lot of issues with the car but I’ve got an awesome support group. Very happy here today. I was just hoping nothing was going to break in those final laps. We’ve been fighting electrical issues and, like I said, Robert [Arch] told me to keep driving it straight. I did what he said and here we are.”
Reigning Howell Racing Products Charger division champion Jonathan Kornegay picked up his first win of the season in his first start of the year. Kornegay started on the pole and held back challenges from Brian Obiedzenski and Jeremy Bohne to score the win. Behind him, Bohne edged Obiedzenski in a photo-finish for the second position.
“They said they were battling back there,” Kornegay said. “Glad I could just stay out front and not have to really mess with it. The car got pretty tight on the long runs but on them restarts, them tires could cool down just enough and, when we took back off, she was on a rail. She’d rotate the corner and she was on a mission.”
Chris Hales picked up his first Southern National Motorsports Park victory with a win in the Any Car division over James Stroud and Mike Parrish. After the race, Hales was jubilant about his triumph, and about scoring the win on his wife’s birthday.
“This is awesome,” Hales exclaimed. “People have been asking me what it’s going to feel like when I win my first race. It feels damn good, I can tell you that. What can I say? You’ve got to win one to know what it feels like, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
Eric Courtney also became a first-time Southern National winner, scoring the victory in the Legends division over Emily Day.
“First win here, didn’t expect it to take this long, to be honest,” Courtney said. “It’s a long journey and it definitely shows hard work. No matter how hard you work, one day you’ll get here in first place. It was a great night overall. I would love for it to happen again and, hopefully, for the rest of the year. Hopefully, we can carry the momentum into the next couple races.”
Ronnie Jones won in the Mini Stock feature over James Stroud and Joseph Pittman while Ethan Johnson inherited the Bandolero victory after the top-two finishers, Parker Frazier and Cameron Murray, were disqualified following post-race technical inspection.