NEWTON, N.C. – Ever since “the crash heard round the late model stock car world,” Bobby McCarty has been out to prove that he and his Nelson Motorsports team aren’t going to go away quietly.
McCarty and company did just that Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway, dominating the late model stock car portion of the Cloer Construction 250 for his first CARS Tour victory of the season.
It was the latest step in putting an incident at Ace Speedway in June, where McCarty was intentionally crashed by Josh Berry with five laps to go while leading, behind him – at least in McCarty’s mind.
While Berry wasn’t in the field on this night – choosing to chase NASCAR Weekly Series points at Virginia’s Dominion Raceway – McCarty put in a thrashing that might have made that fact a moot point.
The 27-year-old and two-time defending CARS Late Model Stock Tour champion started from the outside pole, took the lead on the opening lap from polesitter Mini Tyrrell and never gave it up again.
McCarty paced all 125 laps and slowly pulled away as the race wore on en route to his seventh career CARS Late Model Stock Tour victory in 28 starts. He defeated runner-up Jared Fryar by 2.377 seconds.
In victory lane, McCarty quickly pointed to this particular score as “a statement” for his No. 22 team.
“I just want to win races,” McCarty noted. “Things have played out and I don’t like the way they played out, so at this point, we’re out for blood. We’re here to dominate. I’m not here to run second, and this is our game plan from here on out. I’m not worried about the points; that’ll work itself out. We’re ready for war.
“I knew I had to get away from everyone (on the restarts),” McCarty added in regards to his race car. “Once I got clear, I wasn’t really too concerned … because they could really only keep pace for about two laps and then they’d start falling off about a tenth at a time. So I knew if I could just get clean air and get away, I’d be fine. I was never really too worried all race long.”
Four cautions slowed the pace during the 125-lap main event. The sequence started with back-to-back spins for Blake Stallings and Ronald Hill, respectively, on laps 33 and 34.
From there, a 40-lap green-flag stint broke out, which ultimately led to a competition yellow with 51 laps to go and set the early stage for the run to the checkered flag.
McCarty mastered the lap-75 restart over Tyrrell as his 15-year-old teammate, Jonathan Shafer, dropped back from third to fifth on the disadvantaged inside lane. A caution six laps later, when Tyler Matthews spun and slapped the outside wall entering turn one, would be the last slowdown of the night.
It didn’t matter for McCarty, who easily gapped Tyrrell and then paced himself to the finish, opening up a comfortable lead as the combatants behind him dueled fiercely for the final two podium spots.
In the end, it was another past CARS Tour champion who won out behind McCarty, as Jared Fryar passed Tyrrell for second with 17 to go and held station there to the finish.
That result, combined with an eighth-place finish for Corey Heim and a disastrous night for incoming point leader Layne Riggs, unofficially put Fryar on top of the CARS Late Model Stock Tour standings.
Tyrrell hung on to post a career-best third place finish, with Trevor Ward and Chad McCumbee following.
Sam Butler charged forward late for sixth, with Connor Mosack, Corey Heim, Shafer and Nolan Pope filling out the top 10.
Riggs dropped out with a broken rear-end in his No. 99 after completing 83 laps. He was scored 22nd.
Matt Craig won the super late model portion of the program held earlier in the night.
1. 22-Bobby McCarty, 2. 14-Jared Fryar, 3. 81-Mini Tyrrell, 4. 77-Trevor Ward, 5. 16-Chad McCumbee, 6. 81b-Sam Butler, 7. 88-Connor Mosack, 8. 78-Corey Heim, 9. 2s-Jonathan Shafer, 10. 1-Nolan Pope, 11. 51-Matt Cox, 12. 2-Brandon Pierce, 13. 19-Blake Stallings, 14. 08-Deac McCaskill, 15. 3-William Cox III, 16. 12p-Gage Painter, 17. 4-Jonathan Findley, 18. 19c-Jessica Cann, 19. 74-Ronald Hill, 20. 44-Justin Johnson, 21. 57-Justin Carroll, 22. 99-Layne Riggs, 23. 63-Tyler Matthews, 24. 1m-Craig Moore.