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SMART Modified Tour

Caleb Heady Returns to SMART Victory Lane at Hickory

That’s four wins in four races to start the 2023 season.

The defending SMART Modified Tour champion got back to Victory Lane on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway, but it wasn’t easy.

The box score will show that Caleb Heady in the Tommy Baldwin Racing No. 7NY led every lap of the Hickory Hundred, but it won’t show how much Carson Loftin hounded him on a green-white-checkered finish set up by a Jeremy Gerstner spin with one lap remaining.

But even before that, Loftin was starting to eat into the lead before the final caution and Heady was going to have to earn that victory the hard way one way or the other. Loftin gave Heady a hearty shove coming out of Turn 4 on the penultimate lap but couldn’t complete the pass.

Heady broke through to override a frustrating misfortune filled start to his spring.

“All three races have been misfortunate (sic) runs,” Heady said in Victory Lane. “It sucked to have two poles and have nothing to show for it. We’ve got a hundred laps led and a trophy coming back home with us now.”

Was he worried on that final run to the finish?

“I have to give it to Carson, man, he killed it,” Heady said. “He had me on my toes all night. I kept looking me behind me throughout the race expecting to see something different and there it was, that some old red car, and I’m like, dude, what the heck.

“Huge props to them. They killed it but so did our Tommy Baldwin Racing crew tonight too.”

Naturally, the first person to congratulate Heady was indeed Loftin.

“I thought we had a shot, but I wasn’t going to win it anything other than the right way,” Loftin said. “Tommy (Baldwin) and his guys are amazing. Caleb is a wheelman. You know every time you show up to the race track, you have to beat the 7NY but I can’t say enough about my guys too.

“They gave me a rocket ship, they’ve been busting tail and hopefully this is a sign that we’re going to have better luck the rest of the year.”

A Gerstner spin with 31 laps to go also set up controlled pit stops for teams to take their right rears. The biggest crash of the night occurred five laps later when Joey Coulter spun off Turn 4 and collected Jake Crum, Jason Myers and Spencer Davis.

Loftin, the son of Brian Loftin, continued to hound Heady over the remaining laps but couldn’t close out either on the long run or the overtime finish, but it was still his best career finish in Tour competition.

“The first three races, we had some rough luck and we’re going to turn this thing around,” Loftin said.

SMART Modified Hickory Hundred
Hickory Motor Speedway
April 15 2023

  1. Caleb Heady
  2. Carson Loftin
  3. Burt Myers
  4. Jonathan Brown
  5. Ryan Newman
  6. John Smith
  7. Bobby Labonte
  8. Brandon Ward
  9. Gary Putnam
  10. Spencer Davis
  11. Joey Coulter
  12. Jonny Kay
  13. Brian Loftin
  14. Jason Myers
  15. Bobby Measmer
  16. Michael Ritch
  17. Daniel Yates
  18. Riley Neal
  19. Dennis Holdren
  20. Jeremy Gerstner
  21. Cody Norman
  22. Jason Tutterow
  23. Tommy Buzze
  24. Tim Brown
  25. Jake Crum
  26. Wes Gilbert
  27. Jimmy Wallace
  28. Jason Poole
  29. Brian Weber

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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 also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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