Matt Craig Dominates For CARS SLM Win At Tri-County

Matt Craig captured his third career CARS Super Late Model Tour win on Saturday night at Tri-County Motor Speedway. Photo by Kyle Tretow / CARS Tour

Matt Craig dominated Saturday night’s Super Late Model portion of the CARS Racing Tour Do The Dew 200 at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina en route to record his second series win of the season.

Meanwhile, Josh Berry nipped Garrett Campbell at the finish line to win the Late Model Stock feature.

In the Super Late Model feature, Craig led the field to green and quickly established himself as a dominant car.

Craig led the opening 18 laps before succumbing to pressure from Jake Crum, who bypassed Craig for the lead. Two laps later, Craig utilized the bumper to move Crum out of the way in turn two and re-take the top spot. He eventually pulled out to a three second lead over Brandon Setzer, who began to reel Craig in over the closing laps.

Setzer’s late-race charge was not enough to win the caution-free feature. Craig crossed the finish line 2.066 seconds ahead of Setzer for his third career CARS Tour win and second this season.

“It was pretty easy because I had a really good car and I have to thank my team for that, my dad and everyone who works on the car,” Craig said. “Everyone does a great job on these cars and it shows every weekend on this Hamke racecar.

“Those guys at the beginning wanted to race a little too hard, and one guy wanted to bump and nudge a little bit, so I let him by and bumped him back out of the way and went on into the sunset. There at the end we had a big lead, so we kinda started riding and, I don’t want to be cocky too much, but it was a really good car.”

Setzer finished in second, with Crum in third, Tate Fogleman in fourth, and Tyler Church in fifth.

Josh Berry leads Garrett Campbell (81), Deac McCaskill (08) and Brandon Grosso (32) to the finish line during a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday night’s CARS Late Model Stock feature at Tri-County Motor Speedway. Photo by Kyle Tretow / CARS Tour

In the Late Model stock feature, Craig Moore and Ty Gibbs lead the field to green from the front row. Deac McCaskill quickly began to pressure Craig Moore for the lead, and he was able to complete the pass on lap 6.

McCaskill held the point for 17 laps while fending off a challenge from Brandon Grosso. The New Jersey native eventually worked his way around McCaskill on the outside, taking the lead for the first time in his CARS Tour career on lap 23. Despite Grosso being credited as the leader for 59 consecutive laps from that point, McCaskill continued to pressure for the lead, racing side-by-side with Grosso multiple times trying to re-take the point.

While McCaskill and Grosso battled it out at the point, Garrett Campbell began to reel in the leaders in the No. 81 car, a car normally piloted by the injured Jared Fryar. Campbell used the upper-most lane to work his way by Moore, McCaskill and leader Grosso on lap 82 and pulled out to a nearly two-second lead.

Campbell appeared poised for his first series victory until Chris Davis encountered issues in turn four on the final scheduled lap, forcing the leaders to check-up and also forcing officials to throw the caution flag before the race was completed. By rule, the race went into a green-white-checkered shootout to determine the race winner.

Leader Campbell chose to restart in the top lane and drag raced Josh Berry to turn one in an effort to wrestle the trophy away. Berry and Campbell made contact over the final two circuits with Berry leading lap 100 as the field took the white flag. With Berry immediately in front of him exiting turn two, Campbell sailed his car into turn three on the final lap in an attempt to slide job Berry for the win. Berry slowed, turned down the hill and emerged as the victor of a four-wide gaggle in the final two turns by .076-second, or approximately half a car length.

“I don’t know, man, at the beginning part there, I was trying to ride and didn’t really feel like my car was that good,” Berry admitted. “I was kinda struggling and couldn’t really find a line, and I kept searching and working and damn near was on the wall and found a lot of grip. I started running it, almost crashed a couple of times getting in some marbles and stuff. Running that high groove, I was able to get to second. I never thought that caution was going to come out at the end, I was happy with second at that point with how we ran earlier in the race.”

With so many cars in such tight quarters, fans were unsure what to expect coming to the checkered flag. Berry revealed he was one of them but made his move hoping it was the right one.

“I really didn’t know what was behind me except that Deac was back there and he would take care of me,” Berry said when asked for more detail about the winning move. “I knew the 81 (Campbell), I knew if I stayed on his door, he had nothing to lose because he’s here to win and I would expect him to door me. I thought my best bet was to back off, give it to him and try to cross him over and we were able to do that. That was exciting, I hope the fans enjoyed it.”

Grosso claimed third ahead of McCaskill, with Anthony Alfredo in fifth. The entire top five was separated by less than half of a second on the final lap.

The CARS Tour next visits Orange County Speedway for the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Classic on July 22. For more information, visit CARSRacingTour.com.

CARS Racing Tour
Tri-County Motor Speedway – Hudson, NC
Do The Dew 200 – July 8, 2017

Super Late Models
1. 54 Matt Craig
2. 6 Brandon Setzer
3. 01 Jake Crum
4. 8 Tate Fogleman
5. 7 Tyler Church
6. 74 Cole Rouse
7. 58 Tyler Ankrum
8. 87 Matt Thomas
9. 34 Nolan Pope
10. 37 Mike Speeney
11. 55 Hailie Deegan
12. 99 John Gustafson

Late Model Stocks
1. 88b Josh Berry
2. 81 Garrett Campbell
3. 32 Brandon Grosso
4. 08 Deac McCaskill
5. 8 Anthony Alfredo
6. 1 Craig Moore
7. 23 Dexter Canipe, Jr.
8. 57 Justin Carroll
9. 42 Tommy Lemons, Jr.
10. 44 Justin Johnson
11. 99 Layne Riggs
12. 2 Myatt Snider
13. 12 Austin McDaniel
14. 18G Ty Gibbs
15. 74 Ronald Hill
16. 28 Chris Hudspeth
17. 2L Matt Leicht
18. 18 Evan Swilling
19. 7 Justin Crider
20. 88 Chris Davis

 

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