NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — Matt McCall inherited the lead in Saturday’s Late Model 150 at Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway when Rebecca Casten was black flagged for jumping a restart, then held off Steven Wallace to claim his third victory in five races this year by less than a second.
“Man, it’s pretty stout,” McCall responded when asked how the victory stacked up for him. “It’s a pretty good accomplishment.”
McCall, from Denver, N.C., said he thought his Ford had a “little more drive” than Wallace’s Chevrolet.
“When I was behind him I felt like I had a little more drive off the corner,” McCall said. “He would step out a little bit more than I would. That’s the biggest thing and that’s what we worked on. If you give up the center a little bit, make sure you get off the corner and it seemed to pay off.”
McCall, Wallace and Casten were the only leaders in the 150-lap event on the 0.625-mile track with Wallace dominating the race’s first half. The third-generation driver and the son of 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace thought he had the car to beat in Saturday’s race, extending his lead by as much as 3 seconds in the early going. At the halfway mark, the drivers made a mandatory pit stop. Adjustments could be made, but only two new tires received.
When the race restarted following the mandatory pit stop, Wallace was leading, McCall was second, Robert Johnson third and Casten fourth. Casten scooted under Johnson on lap 80 for third, then chased down McCall and took second two laps later. It was lap 94 when Casten finally stuck her nose under Wallace in turns three and four and assumed the lead as they exited turn four.
With 30 laps remaining, Casten, Wallace and McCall had pulled away from the field and were running nose-to-tail. Then, on lap 126, Kyle Mansch’s car broke a spindle in turn two while battling Johnson and his car coasted to a stop in turns three and four, bringing out the final yellow flag on lap 127. When he race restarted, Casten was leading with Wallace second and McCall third. McCall quickly snatched second from Wallace and then took the No. 1 position when Casten was black-flagged for jumping the restart. She was later disqualified by the race director for “unsportsmanlike like conduct.”
Finishing third behind McCall and Wallace was Danny O’Quinn Jr. Kyle Grissom, son of former NASCAR driver Steve Grissom, took fourth. Fifth went to Mack Little. Robert Johnson, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, finished sixth.