ROUGEMONT, N.C. :: Quin Houff dominated the CARS Super Late Model Tour’s season opener at Southern National Motorsports Park. His second race of the season proved much more challenging.
Houff overcame several obstacles throughout last weekend’s Orange Blossom 300 at Orange County Speedway at Orange County Speedway, ultimately securing an eighth place finish.
“It was a real different weekend compared to the last CARS Tour race,” Houff joked after the race. “I had to pass a lot more cars.”
The weekend started out poorly for Houff, as he suffered an engine failure during Friday’s first testing session. His team spent most of Friday swapping engines while his competition logged practice time on the 0.375-mile oval.
“LFR brought a great car. We had a little bit of motor problems on test day and swapped the motor,” said Houff. “To swap the motor and run like that through the field and play in the top five there is special to us.”
Houff was also under the weather throughout the weekend at Orange County. Battling a cold and flu-like symptoms throughout Saturday, Houff was far from 100 percent physically. However, a fast race car can be a great remedy.
The new engine was plenty fast for that job, as Houff was sixth-fastest in the final practice session on Saturday. A poor showing in qualifying placed Houff 19th on the 23-car grid, but Houff remained optimistic for the 150-lap feature.
“You can’t let qualifying get you down,” Houff said. “If you have a bad qualifying run, you just have to stick to it. I knew we had a great race car for long runs, and we did.”
Thanks to those long runs, Houff worked his way through the field, running as high as fifth during one stage of the race.
Rallying for the top-ten finish could prove critical in the CARS Super Late Model Tour championship hunt. Raphael Lessard unofficially took the points lead Saturday night, behind the strength of two podium finishes in the first two rounds of the season. Houff sits just one marker behind Lessard, however, a deficit which could have been much larger with a poor finish.
“We got up there and started racing up front where we wanted,” Houff said. “Just got a solid finish, I guess.”