Deac McCaskill Was To Tough For The Build Tough 100 at East Carolina Motor Speedway
Well 2014 continues to be a year of firsts for myself, today, for the first time ever, one of my car’s belts broke. My pops and I are packed up, in the car; he is all excited to make the trip to see a new track for the first time, I go to back out my parking space and I have no power steering! Dad advises me to pull over really quick just to take a look, just to see if we see a leak or anything that could have caused it. Popped open the hood and what do we see… my serpentine belt for my power steering, alternator, and water pump had broken. I didn’t want to risk driving her to my wife’s work with no water pump so we called for a tow truck and was told it would be 30 minutes. Two hours later, this rinky-dink busted looking truck shows up, doesn’t like a comment I made about the time and tells me they don’t take cards and leave. We call another company who shows up in 10 minutes, the car gets taken care of and we are finally on the road by 5 PM…
We pulled up to the speedway about 7 or 8 yelled to the… okay wait I didn’t yell at anyone and this isn’t the Fresh Prince of Bell Air but I was excited to be at the track, and despite what happened earlier in the day it was a relief to finally be there with my father none the less. I took a few moments to say hello to everyone and we had some vinyl’s that we wanted to give away so took care of that and then headed towards the office for the evening. The car counts were up across the board, though we only had one additional late-model from the previous week. Street stocks had the largest field of the season so far as well as the UCAR division. If you ask me both these two classes had the best racing of the night!
Luckily the weather played nice all evening as forecasts earlier in the week had rain moving into the region around 10 PM that evening. The racing gods were on our side however as the system seemed to split the city of Robersonville to the north and south. Not a drop of rain hit the speedway throughout the entire program but as we were heading west to hour hotel room just about 15 minutes from the speedway guess what it started doing… raining!
Late Model Stock
Earlier in the week track officials announced Build Discount Center had come on board and offered up $3,000 in cold hard cash to the team who could outlast all others for 125 laps around the tough, high bank tri-oval that is East Carolina Motor Speedway. However, with the threat of rain Easter weekend the LMSC count was not where track officials hoped it to be so the race was put back to it’s original distance of 100 laps. We did see the return of pretty much all the drivers from opening night, with the expect ion of the #23 Michael Rouse, who has not run since March 21st. Previous weeks winner Dillon Bassett brought his #44 machine back to East Carolina along with newcomer #51 Matt McCall (@Matt_McCall) – engineer for RCR #31 & drives a limited schedule in the Camping World Truck Series.
Deac McCaskill set your fastest lap around the .375 mile tri-oval just outside of a fourteen second lap with a 15.054 (89.677 mph) earning the pole position. Thomas Burbage accompanied McCaskill on the front row with a time of 15. 170 (88.991 mph), only a few tenths off from taking the pole for himself. McCall was the third fastest, impressing as this was his first time at the track. Previous weeks winner Dillion Bassett returned this week and looked like he struggled with the set up as he started in the back of the field, P6 with a 15.500 (87.097 mph).
When the green flag finally waved on the main event of the evening your outside pole sitter waisted no time and jumped out to the early lead with a power move going into turn one. The #9 machine was able to hold on to the top spot for seven laps before the 08 of McCaskill decided to take those duties for himself. You could say McCaskill was a little stingy when it came to the lead on Friday night as he did not share it with anyone else and took home the trophy as well as the $3,000 purse! “Probably [one of] the funnest tracks I’ve ever been on,” McCaskill said during the post race interview. “We got here this morning and tested a lot cause Bassett put it on me pretty bad a couple weeks ago, we made this car so much better it was absolutely on a rail the whole race.” McCaskill was in a league of his own last night as he cruised to his second victory of the season. A very excited McCaskill told the fans he was happy with what the track was doing and he would see everyone again in two weeks.
Matt McCall and Shelton McNair has a pretty good battle through out the first half of the race battling for the third spot until McNair ran into issues on lap 64. McNair who I will give the co-honors for our new “D’oh Moment of The night” and for those who may not know sometimes I give out this awesome award much like ESPN’s Not Top 10. McNair slowed way off the pace coming down the front stretch and out of turn two, slowed way up down the backstretch and came to a stop in three just long enough for the caution to come out. Doesn’t matter what track or what divisions is running I cannot stand when people bait the caution.
Both Bassett and Burbage ran into issues throughout the evening. Dillon Bassett took advantage of the caution on lap 64 to bring his machine down pit road. We watched his crew go to work on the right rear tire, no change was made and he was sent back out to rejoin the rear of the field. However, it did not take Bassett long to climb back through field to finish P4. Thomas Burbage broke back into the top 5 after having to bring his machine to the attention of his crew.
In the evenings other features;
The UCAR division had one of the most interesting finishes of the evening. Your winner Tyler Horn driver of the 28 looked to get a little loose coming of four where the 90 of Walston makes contact sending Horn spinning into the infield grass. An angry Horn exits the car rips the entire front bumper off, and try’s to give Walston a piece of his mind before safety crew help him back to his ride. The wrecker pulls him out of the soggy grass and he rejoins the rest of the field with three laps left. When the green flag waved it was like Horn was shot out of a cannon as he grabbed the lead as the white flag came out and held on to take home the victory.
Your Mini Stocks were second to run on the evening and because of the draw two-time winner Kevin Pierce had to start towards the rear of the field along with Andy Ipock. A hard charging Pierce dove under the #45 of Barnes going into turn one, there must have been some contact between the two as Barnes went spinning and backed into the wall. Ipock looked to be in the wrong groove at the wrong time as he could not avoid contact with Barnes, he would not finish the race due to radiator issues. That caution was all Pierce needed as he took the lead on lap seven and the rest was history as he became the only three-peat so far this year at East Carolina.
Louise White took the lead on lap 31 as that was all he needed to cruise to back-to-back victories in 2014 and an extra $327 courtesy of Build Discount Center! White who did not have the strongest qualifying run (P5) was in the mix and battling for the third spot just 10 laps in and as stated before the rest was history after lap 31. Garrett Marchant came out the gate hot as he set the second fastest time in qualifying with a 15.723 but ran into some bad luck as he struggled to get off turn two at the start of the race and is shuffled back to fifth before he could fall in line. A Marchant spin was the reason for two of the three cautions of the evening, and when talking with Garrett one spin was with a little help!
Wesley Johnson is the recipient of the other half of the “D’oh Moment of the Night.” Lap 12 Johnson fell way off the pace and brought the car to a stop on the backstretch. I am thinking okay the car is not under power and that’s why you couldn’t make it all the way down and into the pits. Well folks that was not the case, after the yellow was out he drove the car down pit road where his crew changed the right rear tire, he would eventually finish the race P4. You do what you have to do to get the finish but intentionally causing caution just seems a little low to me.
The final race of the evening was the very popular Street Stock division, who had the largest number of cars not only of the evening but of any other division so far this season. Kevin Benson in the #902 got the luck of the draw starting outside row one where he would lead every lap in route to his first victory of the season. Jesse Council was like a man possessed from the stop of the green flag as he had to power himself all the way from the 7th position to collect his second place finish. Frank Reigle was another car on a mission as he had to start the race P8 and move through field. Reigle was charging hard through the field when a caution for debris came out on lap 14 that put a halt to the hard charge of Frank Reigle who would finish the night P4.
East Carolina will take the weekend off and will return to action May 2nd. Gates will open at 4:00 PM with LMSC & LLM to qualify around 7:00 PM, Green flag racing to start promptly at 8:00 PM