It was the Bobby Mac show at Tri-County Saturday evening in a grueling 150-lap race that lasted two hours with three stage break cautions that took more than 15 minutes apiece.
On lap one, the cars on the track were so bunched up that they were all bumping and rubbing as Timothy Peters took first place from pole-winner Josh Berry. But Bobby McCarty was always there, working his way into the top-5 within the first few laps. McCarty had worked his way into second place at the conclusion of stage one, which Peters won.
That would be the only stage McCarty didn’t win, and that marked the end of Peters’ shot at winning the race too as the team suffered a mechanical issue.
To open up stage two, McCarty was in first place alongside Berry with Justin Carroll and Dexter Canipe Jr. behind them.
McCarty bested Berry on the restart and put distance between his machine and the rest of the field before catastrophe struck for Berry when he felt something go wrong. He stopped on the track which netted him a penalty where he lost a lap for “intentionally causing a caution.”
Berry said he didn’t know that was a penalty. “We probably deserved it,” Berry said. “We had an issue with the upper control arm coming loose or something, and I could hardly drive it so I stopped.” He said he felt the penalty fit the crime. Berry then went to the back and rode it out for the rest of the entire second segment.
They decided to save tires and wait until they could get the lucky dog pass, which didn’t come until the last 30 laps of the race.
And then he marched through the field. “I was just doing everything I could, we finally got back on the lead lap, restarted 26th and finished 5th,” Berry said.
The second stage was bad for Berry, but one other driver ended up in an ambulance during the break.
Christopher Denny had to be helped to the track ambulance by first-responders for heat sickness.
With 53 laps to go, McCarty was still out in front with Carroll and Ryan Repko battling it out for second behind him
The beginning of the last stage was trouble for Lee Pulliam who was unable to get going after the stage concluded. The field that chose not to pit were parked on the backstretch during the stage break and Pulliam had to be pushed to start.
Still, he wasn’t deterred, driving into third place behind McCarty and Carroll. Trouble struck with just 26 laps to go when Justin Johnson, Brandon Pierce and Blake Stallings were caught up in an incident.
The ensuing restart was laden with drama as McCarty was side-by-side with Pulliam. Pulliam darted to first place, but it wasn’t to be. Officially, CARS said that McCarty was not in the box for the restart and it had to be re-done.
This time, McCarty claimed the first place position and held onto it until the checkered flag. And Pulliam fell back in the field.
“It was kind of heartbreaking for me,” said Pulliam. He suffered a track-asphalt related incident with 50 laps to go that broke his alternator belt. As the race wore on, it worsened. “We had the fastest car,” Pulliam said. “We had a car very capable of taking to victory lane.” Instead, he finished 21st.
Of note, 14-year-old Sam Mayer made his CARS Tour debut and found his way to third place. “Driving is really rough,” Mayer said. “It was very tiring out there but it was a really fun race track.”
He said that his JR Motorsports car was tight in qualifying but it paid off in the race.
They rubbed a little bit, and the duct tape on the front of his car showed their battle scars but ultimately he said patience worked out. “We wanted to keep our nose clean and we were good enough for a top 3,” Mayer said.
But it was definitely McCarty’s day.
He said he plans to keep running the CARS Tour.
“We had planned to run the whole tour with the exception of Bristol,” McCarty said. They are following the big money races and are off to a good start with the $10,0oo prize at Tri-County.
“The CARS Tour pays more than any local event,” he added. “We are planning on being a full CARS Tour participant this year.”
The winner said the race had a lot to do with holding on.
“We just didn’t lose time,” he said of his race performance. “Everyone else lost a little time and we just kept pullin’.” He thanked his sponsors and gave all credit to his team for their hard work. “I couldn’t do it without them,” McCarty said.
- Bobby McCarty
- Justin Carroll
- Sam Mayer
- Ryan Repko
- Josh Berry
- Deac McCaskill
- Blake Stallings
- Timothy Peters
- Cody Haskins
- Austin McDaniel
- Matt Bowling
- Tommy Lemons
- Craig Moore
- Layne Riggs
- Ronald Hill
- Landon Huffman
- Carson Kvapil
- Trevor Ward
- Ty Gibbs
- Brandon Pierce
- Lee Pulliam
- Justin Johnson
- Bradley McCaskill
- Thomas Beane
- Grayson Cullather
- Christopher Denny
- Chad McCumbee
Read more Short Track Scene:
- Elliott Salder wants to run Late Models after NASCAR
- Why the CARS Tour season opener is a big deal
- Wesley Johnson wins East Carolina opener