A familiar situation played out for former CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour champion Deac McCaskill at Caraway Speedway on Saturday.
Running in second coming to the checkered flag, McCaskill had the perfect opportunity to bump race leader Justin Johnson out of the way and win his first CARS LMSC Tour race since 2019.
Instead of being overly-aggressive, McCaskill tried to cleanly pass Johnson for the victory but ultimately had to settle for his second podium finish of 2021.
“We were in the right place at the right time on that last restart,” McCaskill said. “I tried to get under [Johnson] and I just couldn’t do it but this was still a great day for our program.”
One month earlier in the Old North State Nationals at Orange County Speedway, McCaskill found himself running behind Josh Berry in a fight for the win after leading 32 laps earlier in the afternoon.
Even with a $30,000 race-winning paycheck on the line, McCaskill had no intention of bumping or wrecking Berry from the lead and brought home one of the most disappointing second-place finishes of his career.
McCaskill said he is more determined than ever to get back into victory lane following another near-miss on Saturday but he is not willing to do anything that goes against his nature as a clean racer.
“I didn’t move Josh [Berry] for $30,000, so why would I move Justin [Johnson] for $6,000?” McCaskill said. “I have to figure things out because these two finishes are bothering me. Our time is coming because we’ve been running up front. I know we are going to get there.”
McCaskill added that running up front with his own operation is a major positive through five races in 2021 after he briefly shut it down last year due to an overall lack of speed.
McCaskill has now finished inside the Top 10 with his familiar No. 08 Chevrolet in every CARS LMSC Tour race this year except for Ace Speedway, where he was knocked out in a crash with less than 40 to go.
The strong runs have been a confidence-booster for McCaskill but he is not going to be satisfied until he and his team get to properly celebrate all of the hard work that has gone into making McCaskill’s small operation competitive again.
“This is a family-owned team,” McCaskill said. “I have so many great people that help me get here. It costs a lot of money to run this deal but I’m proud to be back with my own program. We just have to get back to victory lane because [not winning] is killing me.”
The next track on the CARS LMSC Tour calendar in Langley Speedway is one that McCaskill is looking forward to, as the facility was the site of his most recent victory in 2019.
While McCaskill expects another tough field at Langley, he hopes that will be leading the pack coming to the checkered flag as opposed to finding a clean way to the front.