Zach Miller Leads Carteret County Winners

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Zach Miller takes the checkered flag Sunday at Carteret County Speedway. (Josh Parrish Photo)

PELETIER, N.C. – Zach Miller picked up his first victory in his first start at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway on Sunday in Legends competition

In other action, Stacy Puryear broke through to pick up the victory in the limited late model class.

Miller, 20, from South Charleston, Ohio, started on the pole and led wire-to-wire in the 30 lap INEX Legends feature which boasted one of the most competitive fields in Carteret County Speedway history.  Miller held off Dillon Spain to pick up the victory.

“I just focused on my marks,” Miller said in victory lane.  “That last restart put those fast guys up there with me so I tried not to make any mistakes and was hooked up for the feature.”

The 18-car field saw drivers from all over North America compete as racers prepare for the INEX Legends Asphalt Nationals, which will be held at Carteret County Speedway from Oct. 17-19.

“This race was to help us get practice for the Nationals this fall,” Miller continued.  “The track’s really awesome.  The facilities are fantastic.  I’ve never seen a local track like this in my life.  We’re definitely going to come back for Nationals.”

Spain had to start at the rear of the field and raced his way up through the field, but he ultimately settled for a runner-up finish.

“I had to work the outside there for a decent bit,” Spain remarked.  “I think I burned my stuff up.  We decided to come race here at about 10 o’clock last night so, for the amount of time we had to get the car prepared, I was pretty happy with it.  Hopefully, we can come back next time and start where we’re supposed to.”

Miller’s teammate, Caleb Heady, finished third, while two-time division champion Brenton Irving finished fourth and Nick Ledson finished fifth.

Chris Burns had the dominant car in the 60-lap limited late model feature, but Puryear had saved his best for later in the race.  Puryear charged past Burns with 37 laps to go.

Burns closed back in on Puryear and made the pass for the lead in turn three with six laps to go in the race, but Caleb Day spun in turn one just as Burns completed the pass which brought out the caution which resulted in Puryear maintaining the lead by virtue of being the leader at the last completed lap.

“What a great race today between me and Chris,” Puryear said.  “I was just trying to ride and save my tires for the first 35 laps.  T.J. [Barron] was running real good.  We just together with [Clements] here and it knocked the toe off just a little bit but, he was strong there at the end.  Just so thankful to get this win.”

The caution set up a chaotic restart which ultimately allowed Brandon Clements, who took the outside line on the final restart, to slip by Burns for a second-place finish.

“It was good hard racing,” Clements remarked.  “We definitely didn’t have a second-place car.  Just had to get up on the wheel and make something happen.  I was surprised nobody went high.  Good job Stacy.  That was fun, good racing.  I’m sure the fans that were here enjoyed it.”

Chris Burns finished in third while T.J. Barron and Mike Bledsoe rounded out the top-five.

Robert Arch muscled his way past Neil Mason in the closing laps of the U-CAR feature.

Mason had dominated much of the event before Robert Arch was able to run him down with two laps to go. Coming to the white flag, Arch got into Mason as Mason tried to hold him off.  Arch then went on to pick up his second consecutive U-CAR victory at Carteret County Speedway while Mason came away with a runner-up finish.

After the race, the two drivers had a vocal disagreement on the frontstretch.

“He’s off thumping his mouth about something,” Arch said.  “He’s on the pole because I didn’t show up for qualifying yesterday because I come from three hours away to race down here.  Was passing him on lap five from the back, and then he turned down on me.  Then I had to run him down from straightaway and he did it again.  The second time, we’re racing for the win.  He didn’t wreck.  Don’t really know.

“I really hope the fans enjoyed that.  We’ll see y’all at the next one just so [Mason] can’t win.”

Mason led 23 of the race’s 25 laps, but the contact from Arch relegated him to a second place finished and left him displeased after the race.

“Robert’s a good dude but that was not cool,” Mason said.  “Him and I will talk about it later.  This stuff ain’t cheap.  That’s kind of why I get hot when I get turned into the fence when I led the entire race.  We’ll come back.  We’re going to beat him but we’re going to beat him straight up.  I’m not going to wreck him to beat him.  I’m just going to fix our stuff and we’re going to come out and beat him.”

Andrew Jackson finished third while Curtis Lanier and Joe Lanier rounded out the top-five.

Stephen Sanders passed Kris Hetu in the closing laps of the Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini-Stock feature to score the victory.  Chris Burns held off Mike Conner to win in the Battlefield Tire Pros Street Stock feature.  Johnny Johnson was the overall winner in the East Coast Flathead Ford Racing Association.  Chase Singletary lapped the field en route to a win in Mini Cup competition while Caleb Braswell was the winner in Jr. Mini Cup competition.