Matt McCall inherited the lead in Saturday's Late Model 150 at Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway when Rebecca Kasten was black-flagged for jumping a restart, then held off Steven Wallace to claim his third victory in five races this year by less than a second.
“Man, it's pretty stout,” McCall responded when asked how the victory stacked up for him. “It's a pretty good accomplishment.”
McCall, from Denver, N.C., said he thought his Ford had a “little more drive” than Wallace's Chevrolet.
“When I was behind him I felt like I had a little more drive off the corner,” McCall said. “He would step out a little bit more than I would. That's the biggest thing and that's what we worked on. If you give up the center a little bit, make sure you get off the corner and it seemed to pay off.”
McCall, Wallace and Casten were the only leaders in the 150-lap event on the 0.625-mile track with Wallace dominating the race's first half. The third-generation driver and the son of 1989 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Rusty Wallace thought he had the car to beat in Saturday's race, extending his lead by as much as 3 seconds in the early going. At the halfway mark, the drivers made a mandatory pit stop. Adjustments could be made, but only two new tires received.
When the race restarted following the mandatory pit stop, Wallace was leading, McCall was second, Robert Johnson third and Casten fourth. Casten scooted under Johnson on lap 80 for third, then chased down McCall and took second two laps later. It was lap 94 when Casten finally stuck her nose under Wallace in turns three and four and assumed the lead as they exited turn four.
With 30 laps remaining, Casten, Wallace and McCall had pulled away from the field and were running nose-to-tail. Then, on lap 126, Kyle Mansch's car broke a spindle in turn two while battling Johnson and his car coasted to a stop in turns three and four, bringing out the final yellow flag on lap 127. When he race restarted, Casten was leading with Wallace second and McCall third. McCall quickly snatched second from Wallace and then took the No. 1 position when Casten was black-flagged for jumping the restart. She was later disqualified by the race director for “unsportsmanlike like conduct.”
Finishing third behind McCall and Wallace was Danny O'Quinn Jr. Kyle Grissom, son of former NASCAR driver Steve Grissom, took fourth. Fifth went to Mack Little. Robert Johnson, son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, finished sixth.
McCall admitted it was difficult for him to pace himself in the race.
“My dad, he was getting excited, thinking we were messing up, falling back, and when somebody is getting excited in your ear it makes you drive a little bit harder than you wanted to,” the two-time UARA champion said. “I'm like, 'No, no don't do it.' A lot of discipline man, I'm telling ya. That's probably one of the hardest races I've had to drive as far as not getting on the throttle. We had a little bit of luck there. I'd like to have passed all of 'em to show 'em I could, but, hey, we'll take it how we got it.”
In the Limited Late Model race, Justin Sorrow edged Gary Davis by 0.011-second in a green-white-checker finish to claim his first-ever victory in Late Model racing.
“It was all about tire strategy, saving what I had and being there at the end and it paid off,” Sorrow said.
The heart-stopping finish was created when Rock Harris spun in turn three while leading after getting bumped by Jesse Little on the backstretch. Little was sent to the rear of the field for bumping Harris and Harris was sent to the rear for causing the yellow flag. That left Sorrow in the lead and Davis second on the restart. Davis attempted to loosen Sorrow's car as they exited the fourth turn on the final lap, but fell short of victory by a half-car length.
“I knew he was on me and he got into me a little bit, getting there in (turns) three and four, taking the checkered flag, but I held him off coming off a little sideways,” Sorrow said when asked about the final lap. “He drove me clean.”
After the checkered flag, the two got together in turns one and two and wrecked.
“I think he [Davis] got in a little hot down there (after the race) and spun out in front of me,” Sorrow said. “I couldn't do anything so I kind of tapped him, but I think he's all right. I need to go to talk to him.”
Ryan Gibbs, son of former NASCAR crew chief Gordon Gibbs, finished third, while Luke Fleming took fifth. Nick Waycarter rounded out the top five.
Harris finished ninth, but Little, the son of former NASCAR driver Chad Little, was relegated to last for “unsportsmanlike like conduct.”
In the other four races Saturday at the historic track, Tyler Hill won the Allison Legacy Series Tar Heel Oil 35 presented by Addison Inn. Justin Allison, grandson of former NASCAR driver Donnie Allison, finished second. Rounding out the top five, respectively, were Bobby McCarty, Jantzen Stirewalt and Dale Ogburn. John Hunter Nemechek, son of NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, placed 10th, one lap down.
Kevin Eby edged Jon Waterhouse and Robert DiVanna for the Street Stock 50 victory. In the season finale for the United States Super Truck Series, Alan Carter, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., took an easy 2.153-second victory over Andy Johnson, from Mt. Juliet, Tenn., in the Lucky Dollar 75, but it was Larry Fitzsimmons' third-place finish that provided the Crystal, Minn., driver with the series championship. Fitzsimmons entered the race with a 51-point lead over Camden Murphy, from Itasca, Ill. Murphy finished eighth in Saturday's event.
Cale Gale, from Winston-Salem, N.C., edged Chris Hoylman, of Petersburg Va., in the Rolling Thunder Modified feature.