Nelson Motorsports has been one of the top Late Model Stock programs on the East Coast during the last few years.
The speed and efficiency associated with the team were uncharacteristically absent at Langley Speedway on Saturday night, as both cars finished outside the Top 15.
Timothy Peters, who was making his second CARS Tour start of the year, fared the worst of the two by finishing 20th after being collected in a crash at the back of the field.
“We were OK in practice and our car qualified good, but it really went tight during the race,” Peters said. “We came down pit road, made a track bar adjustment and put a spring rubber in the right rear to try and free it up. Once we went back green, the wreck happened so quick and it ended our night.”
Peters had started the evening by running inside the Top 5 but found himself in the 15th position before a caution on Lap 56 gave his crew the opportunity to look over and adjust the car.
While Peters’ race ended before he figured out if the adjustments worked, his teammate Bobby McCarty would not be granted an early exit from what turned into one of the worst CARS Tour races of his career.
McCarty never reached the Top 5 once during the 125-lap feature and gradually began to lose time to the leaders as his car tightened up over the final 69-lap green flag run.
By the time the checkered flag was displayed, the two-time CARS Tour champion was the lowest running car on track in 17th, two laps behind winner Kaden Honeycutt.
McCarty was happy with his car when he tested the week before Langley but could not get the front of his car to turn properly on Friday or Saturday despite all of the adjustments that were made.
With the changes not working, McCarty tried in vain to mitigate the issue from the driver’s seat all while losing time and positions to Honeycutt and the leaders.
“You just have to hold on,” McCarty said. “I tried to do everything I could to free the car up but nothing was helping. This is baffling because we always look forward to going to Langley but [Saturday] night was not fun.”
McCarty’s worst showing since the Race at Ace 125 back in 2020, in which he finished 18th after being turned by Josh Berry while leading, also tightened up a comfortable points lead he had built over the first five CARS Tour races this year.
Deac McCaskill only trails McCarty by one point following his third place finish, with Honeycutt, Justin Johnson and defending champion Jared Fryar all within ten points of the lead themselves.
McCarty is more concerned with winning races than a third CARS Tour title but said that performances like the one at Langley can not become a recurring theme with Nelson Motorsports.
“We’re going to see if we can find anything in the car,” McCarty said. “If we do find something, then we need to learn from it and clear our minds. Races like that will get you down, so you have to put that behind you and move forward.”
Peters echoed McCarty’s frustration about what transpired at Langley and is determined to work closely with everyone at Nelson Motorsports to ensure that the program remains competitive until the end of the year.
“We have to regroup,” Peters said. “We spend the money and work hard to make sure we have all of our t’s crossed and our i’s dotted but this isn’t acceptable. If you ask any of our guys, they will tell you the same thing. We just missed it really bad [at Langley].”
The first opportunity for Nelson Motorsports to re-establish their efficiency in the CARS Tour will come next weekend at Dominion Raceway.