Matt Craig Dominates Super Late Model Portion of the Thanksgiving Classic Makeup
Kenly, NC– In a field of 12 cars, Carson Kvapil laid down the fastest qualifying effort with a time of 14.785 (97.396 mph). Brandon Setzer, Kodie Conner, Matt Craig, and Mike Darne rounded out the fast five. After qualifying, Kvapil pulled an invert of six putting Josh Brock on the pole for the race.
Once the green flag flew, Josh Brock and Mike Darne had a short battle for the lead with Darne pulling ahead of the field. Craig took little time to get to Darne’s back bumper and took the lead on lap five. Darne would fall to second as Brock looked to take it from him. Darne held Brock off and went back on the charge to catch Craig. Lap 15 came on the scoreboard and it was Craig, Darne, Conner, Kvapil, and Brock rounding out the top five.
After starting last, Natalie Decker (Part-Time Gander Outdoor Truck Series Driver) worked her way up to seventh to battle Setzer for sixth. The two of them battled back and forth until Setzer got some distance between the two. Back up front, Brock had made his way around Kvapil for fourth. Lap 30 and Craig had a two-car length lead over Darne as the field went single file.
Suddenly, Darne fell off the pace and fell from second to tenth place on lap 40. Darne looked to be using strategy for the long run. A three-car battle ensued between Setzer, Decker and Hudson Halder for the fifth position. The first caution came out on lap 47 for Decker going for a spin in turn two after a hard battle for fifth. During the caution, Darne came down pit road for his team to service his problems.
The green flag flew, Craig and Conner got a good side by side start going into turn one. The caution would come back out for issues in turn two. with the green flag back out, Craig got a better start this time and took charge into turn two. Just shy of the halfway point, Nolan Pope worked his way into the top five for the first time. With the caution, Decker was able to get back to the bumper of Setzer once again to try and take the position away from him. Kvapil began to make some moves as he passed Brock for third on lap 55.
Pope also looked to get passed Brock but he threw a block on him. Pope had enough and moved Brock up the track in turn four and took over fourth with Setzer following behind him. Brock would fall to sixth with a mirror full of Decker. Lap 75 and Brock had worked his way back to the bumper of Setzer to take the fifth spot back. Decker also fell off the pace a bit and had a challenge from Toby Grynewicz.
With 25 laps to go, it was time for drivers to make their move if they wanted to catch Craig, who had a straightaway lead over the field. After a strong run all night, on lap 102 Setzer pulled his machine in the pits and parked it for the night. Craig has caught up to sixth place Decker to put her a lap down with ten laps to go.
While Craig kept putting distance on Conner in second, Pope got around Kvapil for third on lap 117. Craig caught Brock who was fifth and put him a lap down as well. The checkered flag flew and Matt Craig picked you the win in dominating fashion lapping all but four cars and leading 120 of 125 laps. Kodie Conner, Nolan Pope, Carson Kvapil, and Josh Brock finished the top five.
Super Late Model 125 Results
- #54 Matt Craig; 125
- #45 Kodie Conner; 125
- #1 Nolan Pope; 125
- #35 Carson Kvapil; 125
- #17 Josh Brock; 124
- #61 Natalie Decker; 124
- #9 Hudson Halder; 124
- #6 Mike Darne; 123
- #21 Time Allensworth; 123
- #24 JP Joassie; 122
- #6 Brandon Seltzer; 101
- #48 Toby Grynewicz; 98