Both Deac McCaskill and Tommy Lemons Jr. came into Saturday night's Memorial Day 290 needing a win to help turn their season around. At the end of 100 laps at Southern National Motorsports Park, one driver came out on top of both the podium and track point standings.
Lemons was the first car out in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock qualifying, setting a fast time that wasn't matched by the rest of the field. McCaskill started to his outside, but took the lead after five laps. Two early cautions led to what seemed to be Lemons's only shot at taking the top spot back from the defending track champion, and once the race settled into a long run, McCaskill pulled away seemingly for good. Slower traffic got in McCaskill's way with just five laps to go, and let Lemons close the gap from over a second back to just three car lengths. That's as close as Lemons would get, however, and McCaskill crossed the line first.
In post-race tech however, issues were found with McCaskill's carb, and he was disqualified from the race, giving Lemons his second win of the season. Mark Wertz made his first appearance at SNMP this season, finishing second in the process, while Myatt Snider equaled a season-best finish in third. Payton Ryan and Jonathan Findley rounded out the top five.
The SNMP Limited Late Model division had their second twin-35 lap event of the 2014 season. In the first race, Haley Moody led from the pole, pulling away from the field until the Lap 19 competition caution. In previous races in 2014, Moody has had trouble with restarts but had no such trouble Saturday evening. A late charge by Andrew Grady made it close, but Moody found herself in victory lane for the first time in 2014. Tyler Mathews took second in his first race in Limiteds, while Dillon Spain finished third.
In the second half of the Limited Late Model twin-bill, Brandon Hobbs led early thanks to a six-car invert from race one. Michael Fose took over just seven laps in, leading until a hard-charging Andrew Grady took the lead back on Lap 18. A Lap 24 caution for a wreck involving Moody and Mathews would give Travis Greene a shot at the lead. Greene would lead just one lap, while Andrew Grady held on to take the checkered flag, with Michael Fose just behind him. Both Grady and Fose would fail post-race inspection, giving Greene his first win of 2014. Dillon Spain finished a season-best second, while Brandon Hobbs finished third.
Gerald Benton has been the class of the Charger division, having won all but one race in 2014. Saturday evening Benton has possibly his toughest challenge yet in the Ford of Bill Barber. Benton took the pole by just .008, and throughout the 30 lap event, never put more than three car-lengths between himself and Barber. Barber gave one last late charge, but almost spun off Turn 2, giving Benton his fourth win on the season. Barber took second, while Wayne Goss tied a season-best finish in third.
The Ultimate Body Shop UCAR division once again saw a spectacular race come down to the wire. James Stroud set the fast time in qualifying by just .003 over Tyler Horne, but would have to start in the rear. Horne took the advantage early, pulling away from the large field. Behind him, Travis Miller, Lee Horner and John Ordiway all battled for position until a Lap 20 caution re-racked the field. The five-lap shootout out let Miller get to Horne's bumper, and with a pass on the last lap it looked like Miller might win the race. Horne came right back with a classic crossover pass, holding off Miller by less than a car length to win his third race of the season. Miller tied a season-best with his second-place finish, while Stroud came from the back to finish third.
Kevin Benton led all the laps in Street Stocks, keeping Greg Barnette behind him for all 25 laps of their event. In Legends action, Alex Pacheco took the lead on the fifth lap, holding off pole-sitter Scotty Edwards for the final twenty to win his first race of the season, and Blaise Brinkley continued his domination of the Bandolero division, besting Henry Broadben Jr.
The Pro All Star Series makes their first appearance at Southern National Motorsports Park on May 31, with the Dogwood Blossom 150. In action will be the PASS Super Late Models, PASS Pro Late Models and the Pee Dee Coastal Super Truck Series. Tickets for this special event are $20, and more information can be found at www.proallstarseries.com.
June 7 will see the return of the entire Southern National Motorsports Park racing series to action with the Happy Father's Day 370. The night's action will feature the fourth Dirty Dozen event of the 2014 schedule with twin-75 lap races for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stocks. Also in action will be Limited Late Models, Chargers, Street Stocks, UCARs, Legends and Bandoleros. Tickets are just $15 for adults (16+), $12 for students (13-15), seniors and active-duty military (with valid ID), $6 for children 6-12, while kids 5 and under are free. For more information contact the track office at (919) 284-1114 or surf to www.snmpark.com.