Tag Archives: Matt McCall

Matt McCall Recovers From Mid Race Spin to Win Second Thanksgiving Classic

Matt McCall and track owner Michael Diaz in victory lane following McCall’s thrilling 2018 Thanksgiving Classic win. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC– When you only get to race once a year you have to make the most it. Matt McCall most certainly did so yet again this weekend at Southern National Motorsports Park for the 2018 Thanksgiving Classic. Because of obvious reasons, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series crew chief only gets to run one race a year and for the past two he has taken the hardware and the money back home with him.

Coming into the weekend McCall picked up right where he left off last year showing the fastest time in final practice on Friday afternoon. All on track activity for Saturday was completely washed out due to hours worth of rain so we did not get to see if anyone could make adjustments and post a faster time. With that being said as well as missing some of the heavy hitters like Lee Pulliam, Tommy Lemons Jr., Josh Berry, and Peyton Sellers, McCall – along with four time track champion Deac McCaskill – was an obvious favorite to take home the checkered. He backed up his practice efforts with a third place qualifying effort.

When it was go time McCall spent most of the race in the runner up position chasing around Deac McCaskil, who was running just fast enough to stay out in front of the field. Things, however, took a turn for the worse for McCall just past the halfway point of the feature when we got turned around exiting turn two after a lapped car spun in front of the leaders. Because he was deemed as part of the caution, race control moved him to the back of the lead lap cars, ultimately creating one of the best comebacks in recent Thanksgiving Classics.

“They pay out money at lap one-hundred and I got a little greedy trying to get that money and it put me in a bad spot,”McCall said in victory lane. “Fortunately I knew there were enough laps. I even tried to fight it [the call to the rear] there to keep our position but we were not able to. We knew we had to pick them off and try to save, but there wasn’t a whole lot of saving there for the last run. Fortunately it ran green and I believe all the guys that got the outside had the advantage. All in all it was a lot of fun.”

This years race, though it featured the same Racing Roulette rules, once again added a new element to the race – controlled cautions. These would be caution periods where teams could come down pit road and not lose positions to the other cars that decided to pit. Officials would slow the pace of the cars left on the speedway and give those on pit road four laps to go to work. One of the ideas here is to take away the traditional break you always see in some of these big races. We asked McCall after the race if that changed the way he and his team approached the race.

“It was going to change it big in my opinion when the caution came out and we got put to the back,”McCall explained. “Potentially if that was not the last controlled caution we would have pitted and it would have looked like their was a little strategy involved. I think the way it played out it didn’t look as good as it could have been. I think it was still a little bit hard to under stand and a little open ended. I think there is potential there I just don’t think it can become a weekly thing.”

Once McCall was able to pick is way through the field with the help of an incredibly fast car and timely cautions things really started to heat up in the closing laps between he and McCaskill. The pass for the lead came with under five laps to go where fans got to witness some of the closes and cleanest racing for a win all year long.

“That’s Deac,”McCall said when asked about how close the two raced each other in the closing laps. “He always does [races clean] and he even raced me clean when I piled drove the wall there. I got loose off two and decided there was no reason to lift because it was going to get ugly. It was enough to get through three and four to get the checkered.”

2018 Thanksgiving Classic OFFICIAL Results;

1          #51     Matt McCall; 200

2          #08     Deac McCskill; 200

3          #07     Bradley McCaskill; 200

4          #22     Bobby McCarty; 200

5          #99     Layne Riggs; 200

6          #12     Brandon Pierce; 200

7          #01     Philip Morris; 200

8          #17     Stacey Puryear; 200

9          #63     Tyler Matthews; 200

10       #03     Brenden Queen; 200

11       #17     Taylor Gray; 200

12       #54     Drew Dollar; 200

13       #44     Justin Johnson; 200

14       #21     Mike Darne; 200

15       #30     Clifton Daniels; 200

16       #24     Colin Garrett; 199

17       #8       Tyler Hughes; 199

18       #55     Mark Wertz; 199

19       #82     Mike Ganoe; 198

20       #92     Casey Wyatt; 198

21       #2       Dennis Holdren; 195

22       #36     Chris Johnson; 195

23       #06     Davin Scites; 194

24       #9       Thomas Burbage; 193

25       #94     Robbie Babb; 169

26       #12     Ryan Wilson; 161

27       #4       Jonathan Findley; 161

28       #81     Mini Tyrell; 146

29       #19     Cameron Bowen; 138

30       #01b   Camden Gullie; 91

31       #06     Terry Dease; 90

32       #23     Terry Brooks; 64

Matt McCall Officially Wins the 17th Annual Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park

Matt McCall, along with family and crews, pose for a post race photo in victory lane Sunday evening at Southern National Motorsports Park. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Matt McCall, fresh off the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Season with Jamie McMurray, was fast all weekend in his Grant County Mulch Late Model Stock heading into the weekends 200-lap feature. Even after fully admitting to making a mistake during qualifying time trials, McCall was able to put down a lap that locked him into the show. Saving him from the mayhem that ensued in the 25-lap last chance qualifier.

McCall was a factor from the drop of the green all the way to the checkered. One can argue, however, that Philip Morris had the dominant early on in the race after he opened up a half straightaway lead over the field once he took the lead from Pulliam. However, after an eight-car invert, full contact racing, and ultimately contact with another competitor, Morris’ night ended much earlier than he had anticipated.

“We worked really hard to come here and it is always good and rewarding to get the trophy,” McCall said in victory lane. “It is really hard to come back into Late Model Stock race and know what pace to run but it sort of played into our hands there and I think we had a little more tire there at the end.”

After being fastest in most of the session both Friday and Saturday, McCall was only able to muster a sixth place starting position. He fully admitted in victory lane after the race that it was the guy behind the wheel that messed up, not the car.

“The guy holding the pedal messed up qualifying so I will take full credit for that,” expressed McCall. “I felt really good about the car. In practice it was really solid, we made some gains this year, fortunately, it was enough.”

Staying within the top five, or there about the first half of the feature, the eight-car invert played into the hands of McCall however as he was scored fourth when the yellow flag was displayed for the halfway break. We asked McCall what changes he and the crew made to the car as the first half was in the day and the second half was going to be at night.

“We didn’t touch it,” McCall told The Weekly Racer about the halfway break. “We put tires on it and fuel in it. We got a little lucky and got it here a couple weeks to test in the dark so I kind of knew what I thought we needed and it worked out.”

Results were finally made official from speedway officials more than two hours after the checkered flag waved.

“I thought I was in the lead,” McCall commented about the final restart that put him ahead of Johnson. “Every time we contested it they put us behind him so we will just see if they give it to us this time by getting into the right spot. It is always weird with Late Model Stock racing and there aren’t really any loops it’s all visual. Maybe it would have made a difference, maybe it wouldn’t, we were pretty good at the end.”

2017 Thanksgiving Classic Results;

  1. #51 Matt McCall
  2. #44 Justin Johnson
  3. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr.
  4. #07 Bradley McCaskill
  5. #5 Lee Pulliam
  6. #22 Bobby McCarty
  7. #26 Peyton Sellers
  8. #4 Jonathan Findley
  9. #21 Mike Darne
  10. #9r Alex Brock
  11. #41 Sam Meyer
  12. #9 Charlie Watson
  13. #55 Mark Wertz
  14. #82 Cameron Burke
  15. #99 Layne Riggs
  16. #63 Tyler Matthews
  17. #2 Robert Powell
  18. #90 Terry Carroll
  19. #9 Devon Dodson
  20. #03 Brenden Queen
  21. #24 Colin Garret
  22. #18 Jason York
  23. #01 Philip Morris
  24. #5 Adam Resnick
  25. #1 Juan Gonzalez
  26. #24 Mason Diaz
  27. #17 Stacy Puryear
  28. #19 Cameron Bowen
  29. #33 Ryan Haddock
  30. #46 Thad Moffit
  31. #22 Grayson Cullather
  32. #82 Will Burns

Green Flag Set to Wave on 17th Annual Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park

Frontstretch and grandstand area at Southern National Motorsports Park (Andy Marquis/SNMP photo)

The 17th Thanksgiving Classic presented by Solid Rock Carriers gets underway on Friday night and runs through Sunday with a total of 775 laps of racing for the 11 divisions which will compete. The schedule for this weekend can be found below.

With Thanksgiving dinners wrapped up, some of the best drivers and their families in the Mid-Atlantic region will converge on the .400-mile high-banked oval of Southern National this weekend. Philip Morris, who was victorious in the first recorded Thanksgiving Classic, looks to continue his hot streak this year and will be making his return to the North Carolina Speedway. He will be one of the drivers to keep an eye out for one Sunday.

Lee Pulliam, newly crowned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National champ, and Brenden Queen are looking for strong outings this weekend in the Late Model portion of the show. Pulliam, coming off of a disappointing finish in last years classic as well as at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Pulliam will be looking for victory lane one final time this year. Brenden Queen, who was forced to start at the rear of the field last weekend at Myrtle Beach one-week prior and fought his way back up to the fourth position, will be looking to improve his finishing position from last year.

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series crew chief Matt McCall will be making his return to Southern National this weekend. McCall, who is no stranger to victory lane, will be looking to finally check The Classic off his checklist. In 2016 McCall finished third to Lemons and Queen after contact with Pulliam battling for the lead on a late race restart.

The IMCA style Modified’s will be making their return as well with a 40-lap feature on Saturday night along with one of two Limited Late Model features of the weekend. Brandon Clements will look to pick up another dominant victory in the Mini Stock feature after coming back from what should have been a race-ending crash the month prior at the Spooktacular.

Other divisions racing this weekend will be the INEX Legends and Bandos, Chargers, UCAR, Street Stocks, as well as Super Late Models. The Weekly Racer will be on the road Friday afternoon and will provide coverage all weekend long on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer)

 

Friday, November 24th: Bandoleros (20 laps), Chargers (40 laps), Legends (25 laps), Limited Late Model Dash (40 laps). Green flag at 8:15pm.

Tickets: Adults – $15; Seniors, active military, and students (with ID) –$12; Kids 6-12 – $5; Kids five and under – FREE.

 

Saturday, November 25th: Bandoleros (20 laps), Legends (30 laps), Southern Lightning Modifieds (40 laps), Mini Stocks (50 laps), U-CAR (30 laps), Street Stocks (15 laps), Limited Late Models (40 laps). Green flag at 4:30pm.

Tickets: Adults – $20; Seniors, active military, and students (with ID) – $15; Kids 6-12 – $5; Kids five and under – FREE.

 

Sunday, November 26th: Late Model Stock Car Last Chance Qualifier (25 laps), Super Late Models (125 laps), Late Model Stock Car feature event (200 laps). Green flag at 12pm.

Tickets: Adults –$25; Seniors, active military and students (with ID) –$20; Kids 6-12 – $10; Kids five and under – FREE.

3-Day Tickets: Adults –$45; Seniors, active military and students (with ID) – $35, kids 6-12 –$20.

 

Previous Winners

1998 — Philip Morris

1999 — Scott Riggs

2000 — Frank Deiny, Jr.

2001 — Kirk Leone

2002 — Brandon Butler

2003 — Denny Hamlin

2004 — Jamey Caudill

2005 — Jamey Caudill

2006 — Deac McCaskill

2007 — Denny Hamlin

2008 — Joey Coulter

(SNMP closed 2009-2011)

2012 — Greg Edwards

2013 — Ronnie Bassett, Jr.

2014 — Brayton Haws

2015 — Lee Pulliam

2016 — Tommy Lemons, Jr.