Yontz Crowned The King in UARA-Stars Race at Ace Speedway by Jason Buckley
First Race For Series at Facility Nets Driver's First Win of the Season
Alex Yontz was all smiles before the race knowing he was going to be fast. (51 Photos)
Setzer started the race on the pole position and led the opening laps of the event. Multiple cautions kept the field bunched up during that time, which didn’t allow the drivers to get a true feel of what their car was doing.
“I was getting kind of nervous at the start of the race,” said Yontz. “I thought ‘man, this race is going to be full of cautions’, but after we got moving there it went real good. There were not that many cautions at all and that was good for us.”
On lap 18, the field took the green flag for the longest stint of green flag racing. Just 14 laps later, Yontz wheeled his way under Setzer for the lead and set sail.
Point’s leader B.J. Mackey started from the sixth position and quickly wheeled his way up to the third. However lapped traffic kept him from battling with the two for the top spot.
“It was one of them stack up races,” said Mackey. “Lapped cars were pretty bad. Here when you try to pass lapped cars they hold you up and stack the field up real bad.
Basically you had to get into the back of them and still protect your position from behind. It was pretty tough. It was about like the (NASCAR) Cup Series at Martinsville. It stacks up the lapped cars. They don’t have much courtesy in this series. That is just the way it is.”
When the UARA-Stars Late Model series added Ace Speedway (NC) to the schedule, many drivers were already looking towards Alex Yontz as the driver to beat. Yontz has been strong over the last few years at new racing facilities for the UARA, taking wins in 2006 at Florence Motor Speedway (SC) and Shenandoah Speedway (VA). Yontz didn’t disappoint Friday as he took the win in dominating fashion over Mark Setzer.
B.J. Mackey was focused during the race. (51 Photos)
With Mackey unable to challenge for the top two spots, Setzer kept his eyes out in front of his car to the back bumper of Yontz. Late in the race he was able to close back up a bit to Yontz in lapped traffic, but had nothing for him, settling for second position.
“We have struggled with the last part of these races,” said Setzer. “We have led a lot of laps and qualified up front, but after halfway the car just falls off. So we made some changes on the car and the air pressures. We weren’t that good on the start but it was coming in at the end. We closed up on him around the lapped traffic but Alex had a great car. My hats off to him. We have done some great racing together and never have had any problems. It is a pleasure to race with someone like that.
“On the restarts, we just had to protect the bottom for a lap or two, but as long as I didn’t overdrive the car, we had the better car. B.J. Mackey is a great competitor. We have raced for years. A lot of guys would have turned me or knocked me out of the way when they have the chance. That just shows what a class act B.J. Mackey is.”
While Yontz appeared to have the race in the bag, he still kept his mind focused as he passed lapped cars on the way to the checkered flag.
Alex Yontz picked up his first victory of 2007. (51 Photos)
“It got a little nerve-racking there a few times,” said Yontz. “They (lapped traffic) wanted to kind of race each other and then we were trying to get by. Fortunately everyone gave us plenty of room and it went just fine.
“You always kind of worry about what they have and what they are holding back. At the same time you are trying to do the same yourself. You try to save enough so that if there is a caution with five or 10 to go you have enough to stay ahead of them, or at least try to.
“This race win means a lot. Last year we went to Shenandoah for the first time, the first time for UARA there, and same thing for Florence. We just seem to have pretty good luck at race tracks we have never seen. This is a really good race track and it was a lot of fun.”
The race at Ace was the first victory of the season for Yontz, but he just might be the favorite for the next race in the UARA-Stars series as they head to Dillon Speedway (SC) for the first series race at the new track.
“Dillon is the next race and we haven’t been there yet, so we are looking forward to going there,” added Yontz.