51 Leftovers: UARA-Stars at Concord
Season Wraps Up With a Race Winner and a Champion
By Allison Fulson
Pressley Holds on Through Adversity to Win Battle with New Roommate

As Coleman Pressley held his top-five position in the closing laps of Saturday night's UARA-Stars event at Concord Speedway (NC), he had the best view of the night as he witnessed the leaders falling out one by one into the pits, which eventually handed him the lead.

“I kept thinking that is going to be a lot easier that we don't have to pass cars under green than caution,” explained Pressley.  “But you know, I think we had a car for them the whole race but it's just so hard to pass here that it was a little tough out there but we were able to get the right track position at the right time and pulled it off.”

Although Pressley was able to take an easier route to the lead, he was in no means taking it easy once he got there.  In the final laps of the event, Pressley paced the field with Brennan Poole directly in his tire tracks poised to make his move for the lead.  The two battled hard for several laps before the checkered flag flew for Pressley.

“It's pretty cool because here lately everyone's been saying you know we couldn't go anywhere but win at Hickory,” commented Pressley.  “So it's good to prove them wrong. I just moved in with Brennan [Poole] yesterday so it was good to whoop up on him, it's good family bragging rights I guess now.”

Poole Charges Hard After Motor Change & Starting Shotgun on the Field for a Runner-Up Finish

After having motor issues in practice, which caused him to miss qualifying and relegated him to a 22nd-Place starting spot, Brennan Poole set his eyes on the top spot when the green flag dropped and never lost focus.

“Well we just had a really good car,” said Poole.  “It hurt us a little bit starting in the back of the pack but we just worked our way up there and running with a bunch of great guys makes it a little bit easier.  And working with this great crew and the top-notch equipment they put me in, it helps out so it was just fun racing with those guys and we got a great finish.”

Poole racked up several solid finishes in the series throughout the 2009 season which earned him the UARA-Stars Rookie of the Year honors.

“We've worked really hard all year trying to stay on top of our game,” said Poole.  “And we've learned so much and we've just got such a great group of guys here that really know what they're doing so it's a great reward for our team to get the Rookie of the Year this season.”

McReynolds is First Victim of Right Front Tire Damage

It looked like Brandon McReynolds had the win at this weekend's UARA-Stars season finale at Concord Speedway in the bag in the closing laps of the 150-lapper.  After setting fast time in qualifying and starting from the point, McReynolds led every lap and gained a sizeable lead on each green flag run until a right front flat discovered under a red flag at lap 104, forced him to give up the lead and head to the pits for service.

“When that happened, I was thinking this really sucks,” said McReynolds.  “It's always really tough to swallow whenever you have the field by a straightaway and a half almost every time you get going, but like I said, that isn't going to be our last flat tire ever.  But that's good that Coleman [Pressley] won, I don't think he had a really good car but it's just one of those deals where sometimes the seventh place car wins the race.  I saw my buddy Kyle [Grissom] drop out and Matt [McCall] dropped out and the 81 [Paddy Rodenbeck] dropped out but that's racing, sometimes you just have to take what you can get. There's nothing to hang our head about, we won a lot of races this year and probably should be in victory lane right now but that's that and it was a good season.”

Despite his misfortune and losing a lap in the pits, McReynolds still had the fastest machine on the track once the green flag flew again as he was still racing among the leaders.

“At the end, I actually wasn't even going that hard,” explained McReynolds.  “The guys were yelling at me on the radio because they didn't want me going to hard and tearing up our stuff.  We were already a lap down, but I guess it just goes to show how good of a car we did have because there at the end I was just running half throttle trying not to run over the top-three.  But it is what it is and like I said, and we'll pick up and try and build on it for next year.”

Grissom Shot Down from Lead by Right Front Flat with Checkers in Sight

Once Brandon McReynolds was struck down by bad luck, Kyle Grissom, who won the UARA-Stars event at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC) in September, could see his second win of the season fast approaching before he too was hit by the curse and was forced to give up the lead due to a flat right front tire.

“Yea, when Brandon came in there I hated to see that,” said Grissom.  “But it was good at the same time because that put us in the lead and I really thought we had a good shot at it until the same thing happened to us and we had to come in and pit from the lead too.  It really sucks, but you know, those things happen and we'll just have to work to prevent having those issues again and move on and focus on 2010 now.”

Despite some tough times, Grissom looks back on his 2009 season with the competitive Late Model Stock series, and considers what they've accomplished.

“We've had a good season out here with UARA,” explained Grissom.  “We've really learned a lot and had some good runs, we got a win, and then we've also had some tough breaks but like I said, we've learned a lot we can take with us in the future.”

Rodenbeck in Line to Inherit Lead from Grissom before Hit with Right Front Flat Also

After Brandon McReynolds made his heart-breaking trek to the pits, Rodenbeck advanced to the second-spot behind Kyle Grissom and knew he had what it took to make his way around Grissom's #32 for the win.

“Yea, it really kills me that if this wouldn't have gotten us too, we could have been the ones over there in victory lane.  But I guess that's just the way things go sometimes and there's really nothing we can do about it now.  Hindsight is 20/20 and we'll just take what we've done out here and take note and move on for next season.”
Unfortunately, Rodenbeck never got his chance as he was also forced to make a run through the pits under the same caution which pulled Grissom in.

McCall Seemingly Loses Championship to Blown Motor
But Pulls Through in the End After Caudill Blows as Well

Matt McCall came into the UARA-Stars season finale with the points lead by a mere 46 points over Late Model Stock Car veteran Jamey Caudill, who was in no way mathematically eliminated from the competition.  When McCall's motor blew on lap 67, it seemed that he'd handed the Championship to Caudill, fortunately for McCall, the show wasn't over yet.  36 laps later, on lap 103, Caudill's motor blew as well which handed the points lead back to McCall and since no one else was mathematically eligible for the lead, McCall clinched the 2009 UARA-Stars Championship and was crowned the first ever two-time series champion.

“This is just amazing,” said McCall.  “We've worked so hard all season.  I can't thank my guys enough, they've worked like crazy to do anything and everything to keep these things running up front.  We ran two cars this season out of two different shops and made it work.  I can't say enough about this series and the competition they have with guys like Jamey, we've been battling hard all season and I hate that we both fell out but that's just the way it goes sometimes.”

McCall who competed this season in both his #23 as well as the #51, brought out his back-up car [#23] after the event, since his #51 was immobile, and saluted the fans with a championship burnout on the front straightaway.

“Yea, we've had both the #23 and the #51 out this season and we've had successes in both,” explained McCall.  “And we had the #23 out here in case something happened to the #51 before the race, we'd bring it out but since the race had already started, we couldn't really do that.  But we've been blessed this season with all this and it's just awesome that it worked out so well and I'm sure glad we had the #23 here for that burnout at the end of the night.”

Jamey Caudill Close Enough to Feel Championship
Before Blown Motor Takes him out of Contention

Jamey Caudill has a stacked resume when it comes to Late Model Stock Car racing but the one thing he's yet to add to it is a UARA-Stars Championship.  He entered the UARA 150 at Concord Speedway on Saturday with his mind focused on bringing home the title.  Caudill thought his chances were over on lap 61 when he was forced to pit under green for a flat tire, and having assumed his shot was gone, he made the decision to park the car.  In an extraordinary turn of events six laps later, on lap 67, points leader Matt McCall blew a motor right in front of Caudill's pit on the front straightaway. 

The moment Caudill saw his opportunity reappear, the jumped back in his #50 machine, buckled up, and headed back out on the track.  If the excitement had ended there, Caudill would have clinched his first UARA-Stars title.  Unfortunately that's not the end of the story as Caudill also blew a motor on lap 103 and was relegated to a 20th-place finish, only one spot ahead of McCall, which wasn't enough to grab the title.

“Man, I was disgusted when we had to come in,” said Caudill.  “But then when McCall blew, everybody started yelling and before I knew it was back in the car and on the track.  I was pumped because I knew I just had to stay clean and we'd get it.  But I guess it just wasn't our night since we blew a motor too and ended up finishing right there with him in the back.”

“It's ok though,” explained Caudill.  “ We've had a good season, it's been a lot of fun racing with all of these guys and running so hard with Matt all season and we'll just see what we can do next year.”






Coleman Pressley in victory lane at Concord.  (51 Photos)
The starting grid at Concord.
Matt McCall celebrates his victory at Concord.