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LUCAMA, N.C. :: When Deac McCaskill first arrived at Southern National Motorsports Park for Saturday’s Memorial Day weekend racing, it was with the intent of working on daughter Ashlyn McCaskill’s U-CAR.

Instead, McCaskill added 80 laps of Late Model Stock racing to the evening, in relief of local driver Ronald Renfrow. McCaskill collected a pole and a runner-up finish in the first 40-lap event of the twin feature, but the veteran was anything about celebratory afterwards.

“It ain’t fun,” McCaskill said. “I want to focus on my daughter, and that’s it. I learned that I can’t do both. It’s a little too much. I didn’t think I could do it, but now I know I can’t. It’s all about my daughter.”

Initially, Deac McCaskill had no intention of racing this weekend. However, a medical episode involving one of Renfrow’s crew members necessitated a driver change, and McCaskill filled in at a moment’s notice.

McCaskill, currently the CARS Late Model Stock Tour points leader, holds a nearly incomparable resume at the 0.400-mile oval in Lucama, North Carolina. The owner of four track championships, a Thanksgiving Classic victory, and the last three trips to victory lane at the track on the CARS Tour, you’d be hard pressed to find a better substitute driver at the track.

McCaskill’s experience showed early in the afternoon, as he quickly showed speed in the unfamiliar machine. With very little seat time in Renfrow’s car, McCaskill set the fastest time in Late Model Stock qualifying. McCaskill¬†maintained his lead until lap 22, when Rusty Daniels made the pass for the lead and the eventual victory.

“I wish I had come a little better prepared,” McCaskill said following the second place finish. “I didn’t know I was driving this car until the last practice. It just got a little tight in the center there, the longer we ran.”

However, the challenge of playing both driver and crew chief over the course of three races in two divisions ultimately showed later in the night. The second race proved more troublesome for McCaskill, as he fought an ill-handling race car before finishing sixth in the 19-car field.

“The second race was really rough,” McCaskill said. “The race car was just really tight. We couldn’t ever get it to rotate any better. Hopefully we kinda helped Ronald out with his car, hopefully made some gains on it. He’s got a fast car, it just needs a little tweaking to get a little bit better.”

Despite the long night, McCaskill beamed when discussing the opportunity to work with his daughter at the racetrack. Ashlyn McCaskill finished sixth in tonight’s U-CAR feature.

“I love it,” McCaskill said. “I have so much fun with her. I didn’t realize, as a dad with your kid racing, it’s a totally different feeling. I earned a lot more respect for all the dads out there watching their kids race.”

Ashlyn McCaskill’s racing career is just beginning, as she made her debut at Southern National last October. Deac McCaskill skipped one of Late Model Stock racing’s crown jewels, the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, while helping Ashlyn prepare her first race car.

“Watching them perform well and do good, it’s just as special as me driving,” McCaskill said. “It’s a really neat deal, and she’s having fun. That’s the main thing. As long as she’s having fun and wants to do it, we’ll keep on.”

As long as Ashlyn McCaskill is having fun and enjoying racing, expect father Deac to be alongside her and enjoying every step of the journey. But also don’t expect him to hop in a car on her race nights any time soon.

Zach Evans is in his second season covering short track racing, A 2012 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Evans is a proud alumnus of The Daily Tar Heel, the school's award-winning independent student newspaper.

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