Once upon a time, Sam Ard winning races at Hickory Motor Speedway was such a frequent occurrence that it simply seemed like the natural state of racing in North Carolina.
It wasn’t the late Sam Ard this time, but Tate Fogleman looked the part when he led the final 26 laps of the Throwback (SLM) 276 CARS Tour event at Hickory on Saturday night.
Choosing to honor Ard and his iconic white and red double zero, Fogleman qualified third and ran up front for the duration of the caution-free 138-lap showdown.
But it was not until lap 100 when Fogleman began to hound race leader Matthew Craig for the top spot. Both drivers dueled as they weaved through traffic over the final 35 laps but it was on Lap 112 that Fogleman used the bumper and door slammed Craig to take the point.
Craig tried to dive-bomb Fogleman on the very next corner, but the move was unsuccessful, and Fogleman was gone.
The event was ran at a torrid pace.
Craig and Fogleman ran down car after car until just five drivers were on the lead lap at the end of the race. The lap traffic played a role, separating the two leaders, if only briefly before Fogleman was able to run Criag down in the closing stages.
“The first 30 laps I was just feeling out my car, seeing what I had,” Fogleman said. “I was kind of sizing him (Craig) up I guess. I just rode behind him and then we started catching lap traffic. We go in some pretty heavy lap traffic and I was able to reel him back in. I know that once we cleared that first group of lap traffic he couldn’t really go anywhere. We were strung out, there might be a caution, there might not, so I decided this might be the best time to get in front of him. I just drove away from there with no cautions.
“I tried to play it patient there for a while,” Fogleman said about the bump and run, “but he was running the same line I was, holding down the bottom. The only way I could get around him was moving him up the track a little bit.”
Fogleman definitely tried to get him back, but it was to no avail.
“Yeah, i drove it in there and got to him, but just slid across the back bumper,” Craig said. “I raced with him several times and we haven’t touched once. It’s just difficult when you do get raced that way, but it’s Hickory.”
With Fogleman pulling away, the only possible challenger appeared to be Super Late Model superstar Bubba Pollard.
The 2014 Southern Super Series champion was forced to start at the rear of the field after choosing to work on his car after qualifying to solve what was believed to be an engine issue. However, the 30-year-old was the fastest driver on the track throughout the race but simply ran out of time.
He went from 19th to 4th and simply needed a caution that never came.
“That’s what happens when you have to start at the back,” Pollard said. “That’s just racing. I can’t even blame traffic. We just needed a caution and never got it.”
The complete results can be found below.
- Tate Fogleman
- Matt Craig
- Brandon Setzer
- Bubba Pollard
- Tyler Ankrum
- Tyler Church
- Bradley McCaskill
- Jeff Batten
- Matt Wallace
- Mike Speeney
- Nolan Pope
- Hailie Deegan
- Matt Thomas
- Hailie Deegan
- Riley Thornton
- Cole Timm
- Roy Hayes III
- Cole Rouse
- John Gustafson
STS’ Matt Weaver contributed to this report.