The Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Late Model Stock Tour’s third race of the season developed into a battle of attrition at Hickory Motor Speedway. That battle led to heated tempers on lap 108 of the 125 lap race, as a three-wide battle for position ended in two destroyed race cars.
Matt Piercy, the defending Hickory Motor Speedway track champion, spent the first half of the race battling near the front of the field. During a battle for the lead with eventual runner-up Deac McCaskill, Piercy lost control exiting turn two.
This placed Piercy at the rear of the field, hoping to salvage a strong finish. On a lap 108 restart, Piercy was in a three-wide battle with Justin Crider and Ronald Hill, which ended with all three cars crashing. Crider took a hard hit in the outside wall entering turn three, while Hill also crashed into the wall before spinning down the track into the inside wall.
Crider and Hill were both done for the evening after the crash, while Piercy soldiered on to a tenth place finish.
Piercy stated that he saw an opening on the low groove of the racetrack, and went for the opening.
“[Justin Crider] slid way up the race track in one and two,” Piercy said. “He gave me the whole bottom groove. So I took it there, I kept it on the bottom, and I got hooked. I don’t think he meant to do it. We were racing really close. He hooked me, and I got into somebody else and ended up wrecking. I hate it for them, but it is what it is.”
After the incident, Crider expressed his displeasure. First, Crider gestured angrily towards Piercy as he drove past Crider’s wrecked machine in turn three. When the field was stopped in turns one and two by a red flag to clean up the incident, Crider jogged to that end of the circuit to again show his frustration towards Piercy.
Following the race, Crider had even more to say about the clash.
“I’ve been racing here for probably six or seven years now,” said Crider ragarding the crash. “I’ve raced with Matt Piercy I cannot tell you how many times. And it never ceases to fail that we have some kind of run-in. I can be giving him all kinds of room, and he’ll run into me. Or it can be something like tonight, where he runs us three wide for no freaking reason.”
“I’m about fed up with it,” Crider continued. “He gets away with whatever he does here because he’s the track manager’s kid. I’m tired of it. I’m not the only one. I’m gonna say my mind. I’m gonna do it smart, because I have too much to lose here.”
“We were three wide, and he left no room for me and Ronald. Ronald was in the wall. There was a point where I was turning left just trying to clear him across in front of me, and it crowded me into Ronald and Ronald into the wall. It’s ridiculous. Somebody needs to stop him. Until he gets a good butt-whipping, he’ll get away with whatever he wants.”
Ronald Hill echoed Crider’s sentiments of the accident.
“We were coming out of two, me and the 7 [Crider] were side-by-side, he was on the inside,” Hill said. “Whoever drives the 21 [Piercy], went under him and got into him. He was crowding him into me. The 7 was trying to back out of the hole, and the 21 just drove into three and never turned the steering wheel, just drove straight all the way up the racetrack and hit us in the left-rear, destroyed our race car.
“Must be a real young driver,” Hill, a 49-year-old Late Model veteran, added. “Either that, or he’s older than I am and needs to quit.”
Crider took a massive hit on the nose of his machine, but said he was okay following the crash.
“It was probably one of the hardest hits I’ve taken,” Crider said. “I might be feeling it a bit tomorrow, but it ain’t nothing I can’t handle.”