B.J. Mackey Survives A Spin To Win UARA Race At Dillon by Jason Buckley
New Track Brings New Challenges To Racers
B.J. Mackey got his second 2007 win at Dillon. (51 Photos)
“Lee and those guys were just racing for second,” said Mackey. “We were just on a rail.”
The first stumbling block for Mackey was the weather. A drizzle after practice delayed qualifying, but when the track was dry, Mackey put his car on the pole position alongside Jake Crum.
At the start of the race the two drivers pulled away from the rest of the field and worked each other over for the lead. Before either driver could claim the race as their own, a caution for a blown motor put both drivers into the spin cycle and out of the top two spots.
“There were some lapped cars in front of us,” said Mackey. “They were in a bunch. One of them blew a motor and put oil in the groove. We hit it and spun, and it put us back to eighth.”
The UARA-Stars Late Model Series pulled into Dillon Motor Speedway (SC) for their first race at the new facility Saturday with many drivers looking to take the inaugural victory. Many tried, including Jake Crum, Matt Leicht and Lee Tissot. But when the checkered flag flew, B.J. Mackey was the first to the line after an eventful race for him and the rest of the drivers throughout the night.
Jake Crum was bad fast during the race. (51 Photos)
In the UARA-Stars Series, if you do not cause a caution but are involved, you slot in to where you get going. Mackey went from the lead to eighth, but Crum was a bit luckier by only losing one position.
“I saw a big wreck and I figured someone blew up,” said Crum. “I was just trying to watch out for the oil and before I could think about it I was already around. They say in the driver’s meeting if you get back going that is where you slot in at so I downshifted and got going.”
The turn of events for the leaders put Clay Greenfield in the lead, but shortly after the restart Matt Leicht muscled his way around Greenfield for the lead and set sail. While Leicht enjoyed his lead throughout the middle part of the race, he knew Crum and Mackey were on their way back to the front.
Matt Leicht's night ended with a trip into the wall.
“We passed for the lead around lap 50 or so,” said Leicht. “We had them by a straightaway there. B.J. actually got in a wreck but was coming. He had a little more than I had.”
With Mackey charging through the field towards the front, Crum and Leicht put on a battle for the top spot. Before either could secure the top spot, both had mechanical failures that sent them to the pits and out of the race.
“We ended up blowing up,” said Crum. “It didn’t give us any warning. The water temperature was 180 and everything was fine. The oil light didn’t come on. We were just going for the lead and the motor popped. It was real frustrating.”
“I went off into turn three and the brake pedal went to the floor,” said Leicht. “I drilled the wall and that is all I had.”
With the two out of the picture, it was Mackey’s race to run to the checkered flag, taking the first UARA-Stars race win at Dillon Motor Speedway.
“We had enough laps to get it back up there,” explained Mackey. “I didn’t know if I had enough to win the race. We had been leading the race playing defense, so now we were back there and had to play offense. But we had to be patient doing it because the track was so tight. We just had a good enough car to drive under them and get in the gas.
‘We had a restart with about fourteen to go. There were some lapped cars behind us but we had a good enough car to stay up there. Lee (Lee Tissot) and those guys were just racing for second. We were just on a rail. Things just went our way tonight.”
Tissot Satisfied With Second-Place Finish
To many drivers, second place is just first loser. But to Lee Tissot, finishing second to B.J. Mackey wasn’t so bad.
Lee Tissot had enough for second, but not the win.
Tissot had a great qualifying run which put him ninth fastest. After struggling in the qualifying department this season, he was satisfied with the top-10 starting spot.
“Qualifying was a little bit better than we have been doing,” said Tissot. “Ninth wasn’t too bad for us. I am not the greatest qualifier in the world.”
Tissot worked his way up to the second spot behind Mackey at the end of the race. Although he was hoping to beat Mackey to gain on him in the UARA-Stars 2007 points chase, he was satisfied with the second-place finish, especially after a decision to not change the car when it slowed down during practice prior to the race.
“We actually fell off in practice,” explained Tissot. “We thought it was just the track slowing down so we left the car alone. That was a good decision that we made. During the race I got a little bit loose and couldn’t really lay the throttle down the way I wanted to there at the end. But B.J. had a great car and we came home in second. We came close to matching him in points. We just need him to have a little more bad luck.”
Matt Dibenedetto Wheels A Battered Car To A Top-Five Finish
Racing on a new track can be difficult for just about anyone. For a rookie in the series racing at the new Dillon track, Matt Dibenedetto showed he was a wheelman by driving an ill-handling and damaged car to a fifth-place finish.
Somehow Matt Dibenedetto held on for a good finish after smacking the wall. (51 Photos)
“That was the biggest struggle of a race car that I have had in my life I think,” said Dibenedetto. “But you never hit the setup every time, so that happens.
“Someone got underneath me going into turn three and coming off of four I lost the nose really bad and it hit the wall. I hit it a ton and it really messed everything up. I hung on from there and that is about all I can say. It was a brand new car.”
Dibenedetto might have had a rough race at Dillon Motor Speedway, but enjoyed racing at the new track for the first time.
“I like the race track. It is a nice facility, but it is a tough little track. It is a little bumpy going into the corners which doesn’t bother me. It makes it more fun.”