ROUGEMONT, N.C. – Steve Wallace made the most of a late-race restart to muscle Bubba Pollard out of the way and fend off Matt Craig during the final two laps of Saturday’s CARS Super Late Model Tour Mid-Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway
The victory for Wallace was worth $10,000.
Deac McCaskill dominated companion CARS Late Model Stock Tour 100-lap event.
After winning his first super late model race at Orange County a month ago, Cole Rouse picked up where he left off by winning the Mahle Pistons Pole Award in qualifying, placing him on the front row with Brandon Setzer for the start of the super late model race.
In a new, unique format to super late model racing, the event was scheduled with four varying-length stages with breaks in between for adjustments and pit stops.
Rouse easily led the opening 35-lap segment from start to finish, but his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Christopher Bell was not so lucky. Racing with Brandon Setzer for third, Bell and Setzer made minor contact in turn three, sending Bell’s No. 4 into a spin which resulted in contact with the outside wall. Though able to continue, he was not a factor the rest of the night.
Rouse shot out to the lead once again in stage two until Stephen Nasse lost control of his car on the frontstretch and pounded the outside wall. On the ensuring restart, Rouse spun the tires and stacked up the field, giving Bubba Pollard the opportunity to lead for the first time on the night. Pollard held the top spot until the lap 100 break, earning an extra $500 for the mid-race stage win.
The vast majority of the field took tires during the lap 100 break to prepare them for the 50-lap dash to the finish. Those who took fewer tires started ahead of those who more, leaving Jeff Batten (none) and Tate Fogleman (two) on the front row. Chase Purdy and Brandon Setzer took three tires and restarted in row two ahead of a plethora of others who bolted on four sticker Hoosiers.
Fogleman quickly rocketed to the lead but it was short-lived when Bubba Pollard reeled in the No. 8 Ford and reassumed command of the race on lap 110. Pollard continued to set the pace handily over Steve Wallace who finished the penultimate stage in second prior to the final break on lap 135.
On the restart, Pollard nearly missed his turn-in point in the first corner, allowing Wallace and others to challenge for the lead, but he quickly gathered himself to begin pulling away for what appeared to be a $10,000 payday until a last-lap caution slowed the field prior to the checkered flag.
Per CARS Tour rules, the entire field must take the white flag for the race to complete and a small handful of cars had not when Kodie Conner and Lucas Jones tangled in turn one to facilitate the final caution period of the night.
With two laps remaining, Pollard gave Steve Wallace the bottom lane into turn one and Wallace took full advantage of it. Pollard turned into the first turn early, making minor contact with Wallace, sending Pollard’s car up the hill and opening the door for Wallace, Matt Craig and others to shuffle around the Georgian as the field came to the white flag.
Craig made a last-corner desperation attempt to steal the lead in turn three, door-slamming Wallace and sending both cars into a slide, but the No. 66 Ford of Wallace won the drag race to the checkered flag and the richest payday in CARS Tour history ahead of Craig, Rouse, Spencer Davis and Pollard.
“That was good, hard racing, man,” said Wallace. “Me and Bubba have raced really hard over the last few years, but it is what it is, it’s a big win, we’re racing for 10,000 bucks right here. It just feels good to win. These Jet Tools guys work so hard, and it’s just me at the race shop, and we dig as hard as we can. All these boys come in and work their tails off for me, and we couldn’t do it without Jeff Fultz and Fury Racecars, they built me one hell of a machine. I’ve raced my whole life and never been this hot. It was scorching out there, but we won the race, and we sure as hell are going to win the party, I’ll promise you that.
“I like Bubba, he’s a really good friend of mine, but I came here with all the friends I need and I’m going home with ’em too and I ain’t worried about it,” he continued when asked about recent scuttlebutt from Pollard on the way he has been raced across the country.
“That’s just racing, man. All these fans paid a good amount of money to come see this race and I feel like we gave ’em one hell of a show tonight.”