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CARS Super Late Model Tour

People’s Choice: Brandon Setzer earns CARS Tour redemption at Hickory

Matt Weaver | STS

It was a story of redemption that couldn’t be written any better.

Brandon Setzer returned to Hickory Motor Speedway four months after an infield brawl got him and his dad, NASCAR veteran Brandon Setzer, suspended and closed the loop with a victory in the biggest Super Late Model race of the CARS Tour season.

But it wouldn’t be a great story without an extra layer of adversity and struggle.

Setzer had the second-best car, but just couldn’t seem to close the gap on a dominant Bubba Pollard, until the superstar from Senoia, Georgia stalled with a mechanical issue on Lap 106 — 32 laps from the finish.

From there, Setzer successfully held-off a charging Chandler Smith and Preston Peltier and won his second-race of the season.

“I think Preston has like 16 wins here,” Setzer said in Victory Lane. “And Bubba Pollard. I hate that it went down that way. Bubba is the man right now so to be right there with him and to beat him, man. This is awesome.”

The race was especially redemptive because both Setzers were suspended following the May race at Hickory. Setzer was leading the final lap when Raphael Lessard punted him in the final corner. Both Brandon and Dennis were involved in a scuffle with the Kyle Busch Motorsports crew members.

Brandon was suspended one race and Dennis was suspended until August 4.

The suspensions generated a swell of support from the grassroots racing community, including a #FreeBrandon movement on Twitter.

READ MORE: CARS Tour suspends the Setzers | #FreeBrandon Movement takes center stage

The fans were solidly behind the younger Setzer, to the extent they cheered his every pass and booed Lessard during driver intros and during his mid-race mechanical failure.

“That was just, the whole community’s support was awesome,” Setzer explained. “Really appreciate all them and hope we put on a good show for them tonight. We’re old school. I work on the car. We were up until two o’clock Thursday morning overhauling this thing because it wasn’t right. We got here and it still wasn’t right so we wrenched on it and finally got it good. It means a lot to work on your car and do the whole deal.”

Still suspended until the end of the night, Dennis Setzer wasn’t allowed to celebrate with his son in Victory Lane until Tour director Chris Ragle personally came over to retrieve him.

“I guess I’m out of jail,” Setzer said. “Brandon is a pretty daggom good racer car driver. And to do it against this field is even more impressive. He works really hard to do it.”

Pollard actually needed a push to get going after the first caution. It was an issue that persisted throughout his race.

“I guess, just, maintenance and battery and alternator went out,” Pollard said. “Alternator is supposed to keep the battery charged. It ran the battery out, so just not the right maintenance.”

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Smith meanwhile was disappointed with a close second-place finish.

“Yeah he’s really good here, this is my fourth time ever being here, third time in a Super Late Model, but there towards the end we started figuring something out and edging our way toward him, he’s got this place figured out though,” Smith said. “I learned a lot tonight and when we come back next time we will be a lot better though.

“We were just trying to keep it clean, I was just trying to keep it clean and soak up all the learning.”

The race was caution-filled, producing nine crashes overall.

The complete results can be found below.

  1. 6S Brandon Setzer 138
  2. 26S Chandler Smith 138
  3. 5 Kodie Conner     138
  4. 33 Preston Peltier  138
  5. 48 Jared Fryar          138
  6. 63 Matt Craig           138
  7. 34 Nolan Pope        138
  8. 28 Corey Heim         138
  9. 8 Tate Fogleman  138
  10. 7C Tyler Church       138
  11. 13 Jody Measamer 138
  12. 7 Molly Helmuth  137
  13. 2G Darrell Gilchrist 137
  14. 17 Mike Speeney   137
  15. 51 Raphael Lessard  136
  16. 2T Gracie Trotter    133
  17. 6W Matt Wallace     116
  18. 57 Austin Theriault 115         Mechanical
  19. 26P Bubba Pollarrd  105         Battery
  20. 2B Jeff Batten          84           Accident
  21. 3J Wayne Jefferson 80           Accident
  22. 24 Mason Diaz         78           Accident
  23. 87 Matt Thomas     78           Accident
  24. 3 Anthony Cataldi 77           Mechanical
  25. 58 Tyler Ankrum     34           Mechanical
  26. 9 Chris Dilbeck      23           Mechanical
  27. 12 Taylor Stricklin   23           Mechanical
  28. 4B Amber Balcean  19           Accident

32           Harold Crooms                  DNQ
59           Joe Graf, Jr.                         DNQ
15           Roy Hayes III                      DNQ
76           Jerick Johnson                   DNQ
21           Ryan Mathews                  DNQ
37           Dan Speeney                     Withdrew
14           Greg Burgess                     Withdrew

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Michael Cline

    August 5, 2018 at 10:20 am

    That was a beautiful thing to witness.

  2. Pingback: People’s Choice: Brandon Setzer earns CARS Tour redemption at Hickory

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