ROUGEMONT, N.C. :: Before a lap 114 caution in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour’s Orange Blossom 300, Deac McCaskill had dominated the 150-lap event at Orange County Speedway.
The ensuing restart pitted him beside a familiar opponent, Timothy Peters.
“It was just like 2003,” said McCaskill after the race. “It was like old times, it was pretty cool.”
In the early 2000s, McCaskill and Peters were two of the strongest competitors in Southeastern Late Model Stock Car racing. Peters collected three track championships in as many years between Orange County Speedway and South Boston Speedway from 2002 to 2004, while McCaskill won the first of his four Southern National Motorsports Park championships in 2004.
Peters has since moved on to larger notoriety, with 10 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to his credit. With the trucks embarking on a month-long break, Peters used his spare time to return to Late Model Stock racing – and victory lane at Rougemont, North Carolina.
“It was a lot of fun to come out here with our Autos By Nelson Camry and have a lot of fun,” Peters said. “Can’t thank the guys enough for working hard. Can’t thank these fans enough for coming out here and supporting great Late Model Stock Car action. The CARS Tour is a really cool deal to be a part of, and this was our first time with this series.”
Despite the win slipping away, McCaskill was all smiles after the battle with his former competitor.
“It’s just really cool. It’s really cool to be a part of this event at my age, and Timothy’s age,” McCaskill said. “We grew up racing around here, short track racing. He’s moved on to bigger and better things, but it’s pretty cool for him to come back to his roots and support the CARS Tour and support Orange County Speedway. It was one heck of a race, he was just a little better at the end.”
For Peters, the duel brought back a particularly vivid memory of one night long ago at the 0.375-mile oval.
“Me and Deac ran 130 laps side-by-side here one night and never touched,” Peters said. “It just brought back a lot of great memories.”
Before the decisive restart, McCaskill faced heavy pressure from R.D. Smith, another veteran of North Carolina Late Model Stock racing who won the track championship at Ace Speedway in 2015. McCaskill wonders if he fought too hard to keep Smith behind him during the middle stages of the race, but was ultimately pleased with the runner-up finish.
“R.D. ran me pretty hard. I just didn’t want to give up the lead. I don’t know if part of it is my fault. Coming away with second is nothing to hang your head down about. This is an awfully competitive field of cars here tonight. This track is just great racing, just great side-by-side racing.