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Craig Lutz shoves his way to Tour Type World Series Night Two Win

“I guess that’s how they race on the Tour and we can race that way to.”

Matt Weaver | STS

Craig Lutz earned his first victory in the World Series of Asphalt on the second night of Speedweeks 2020 but didn’t make any friends along the way.

For the second consecutive restart, Lutz had driven Anthony Nocella up the hill in Turns 1 and 2, using the move successfully on his second attempt during the reset with 11 laps to go. Once in the top spot, Lutz made his car as wide as possible to withstand a furious charge from both Matt Hirschman and Nocella.

They crossed the finish line like this.

Nocella and Hirschman thought the behavior by the winner was befitting of someone who regularly races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The two open modified drivers shared a laugh at Lutz’ expense after the race agreeing that it was a NASCAR move.

It wasn’t totally one Lutz was proud of.

“You don’t want to win like that,” Lutz said. “But you gotta do what you gotta do. We drove 20 hours down here to win races and now I’m in victory lane at New Smyrna.”

As for Hirschman and Nocella’s NASCAR shot, Lutz wasn’t having any of that either.

“It’s just nitty gritty racing,” he said. “We all finished on the podium so it couldn’t have been that bad.”

It’s a point that remains up for debate.

“The guys from the Tour, that’s how they race every race,” Nocella said. “So I guess that’s fair game for them. You know, Matt and I raced side-by-side on the front row on a restart and didn’t move off the groove. Good racing. He did what he felt like he had to do and I guess that’s how we’re going to race from now on.”

Nocella had led 74 of the first 75 laps, but opening the week with a first and third sets him up perfectly for a championship run, tied with Hirschman four points ahead of ‘the NASCAR guy.’

“We have a good car, for sure,” Nocella said.

Hirschman opened Speedweeks with a second and third and is just a little off his usual pace in chasing wins during the opening week of the Tour Type Modified season.

“In a straight line, some of these cars are more like drag cars than stock cars but they try to balance things out,” Hirschman said. “Certain packages have good points and bad points. They’re definitely strong.  The opening restart (Lutz) was able to shove (Nocella) all the way down the back straightaway and I’m wide open, and that’s more than a car lengths advantage.  Quite a bit under the hood, but I’m fine.  We’re in a good position.”

A wreck on the frontstretch collected Preece, Patrick Emerling, J.R. Bertuccio and Jimmy Blewett on Lap 18. Preece was able to rebound through the field and finish in the top 10 while the other three didn’t return from the pit area.

Reigning Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Mike Willis and Brad VanHouten completed the top-five. Tyler Rypkema, Tommy Catalano, Eddie McCarthy, Brett Meservey and Preece completed the top-10.

The Tour-type Modifieds will resume Speedweeks on Wednesday night for the John Blewett III Memorial 76.

The complete results from Tour Type Modified World Series of Asphalt Race Two can be found below.

  1. Craig Lutz
  2. Matt Hirschman
  3. Anthony Nocella
  4. Mike Willis
  5. Brad VanHouten
  6. Tyler Rypkema
  7. Tommy Catalano
  8. Eddie McCarthy
  9. Brett Meservey
  10. Ryan Preece
  11. Jeff Gallup
  12. David Sapienza
  13. Eric Goodale
  14. Anthony Sesely
  15. Tyler Catalano
  16. Amy Catalano
  17. Broc Brown
  18. Kevin Shea
  19. Joe DeGracia
  20. Paul Townsend
  21. Kyle Ebersole
  22. Patrick Emerling
  23. Jimmy Blewett
  24. Jim Gavek
  25. Adam LaCicero
  26. Jeremy Gerstner
  27. JR Bertuccio
  28. Rich Parker
  29. Mike Bologna
  30. Ray Fattaruso

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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