KINGSPORT, Tenn. — There’s a saying that good things will eventually come to those who patiently wait.
Ronnie McCarty’s patience was wearing thin and he was growing tired of waiting.
He’d shown everybody at Kingsport Speedway he was chauffeuring a fast ride over the past couple of seasons by finishing in the top-five on several occasions. It’s just varying circumstances had kept the 27-year-old racer from the Model City out of victory lane.
McCarty flexed his muscle early Friday night by jumping out into the lead at drop of the green for the Wallace Kia Late Model Stock feature, and for just the second time this season the event went caution-free to the checkered flag. When all was said and done, McCarty had completed a flag-to-flag run to capture his first-ever NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victory.
“Amazing, it’s truly amazing to finally shake this monkey or whatever it was off my back and capture our first-ever NASCAR Whelen All-American Series win,” said McCarty with a smile on his face after climbing from his race car in victory lane. “Winning your first-ever NASCAR sanctioned race is a very special deal. It’s something you dream about and once it happens, you’ll never forget the awesome feeling. I’ll always look at the trophy and remember this very special night.
“It’s tough to put into words just how much getting this win means to not only myself, but to my parents (Ron and Gina McCarty) and everybody on the race team that’s a part of us winning our first race. We’ve been oh, so very close to winning here at Kingsport Speedway in the past. We’ve had several solid top-five finishes but had just never been able to seal the deal and park in victory lane.”
Kres VanDyke set fast-time at 15.168 seconds, but following the roll of the dice the top four from qualifying were inverted for start of the race putting McCarty on the pole and Chad Finchum starting on the outside of the front row.
McCarty moved into the lead over Finchum and VanDyke at the start, with VanDyke getting around Finchum for second on lap 3 racing off turn two. Behind the front-running trio, Ryan Stiltner, Zack Walton and Zeke Shell were running nose-to-tail until Shell moved around Walton on lap 13 racing off the fourth turn to take over the fifth spot.
With the race running clean-and-green, at the halfway point McCarty held a four car-length advantage over VanDyke, while Finchum was running in the third position and right at a full-straightaway behind.
With 10 laps remaining, McCarty had a rearview mirror full of the hard-charging VanDyke. Only two laps from the finish, between turns one and two VanDyke looked underneath McCarty. Contact was made and both cars momentarily got out of shape before McCarty and VanDyke recovered.
The win for McCarty also marked the first time this season a Chevy built-engine had won a race over a Ford crate-engine at “The Concrete Jungle.” Finishing behind McCarty were VanDyke, Finchum, Stiltner and Walton.
Ronnie McCarty; Kres VanDyke; Chad Finchum; Ryan Stiltner; Zack Walton; Zeke Shell; Lee Tissot; Wayne Hale; Tyler Goodwin; Justin Fontaine; Joey Trent; Bruce Blessing; Rick Pannell; Luke Fox; Allen Hawkins; Austin Peters; Keith Stiltner; Sam Steffey