McCarty wins in thrilling finish
Written by Cody Sealey
Photos by Chris Renner "CLR MOTORSPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY"
With three laps remaining Bobby McCarty took Brenden Queen and Carson Kvapil 3-wide from the bottom lane coming out of turn 2 and the backstretch. He inched ahead through turns 3 and 4, and crossed the stripe with two-to-go with the lead. After a recovery by Queen, the two cars were side-by-side for the last lap.
Ultimately it was the race winning move for the black, blue, and orange #6 as McCarty won the drag race by nine-one-thousandths of a second ahead of Queen.
It was a finish that was arguably the “best of the year” for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour who highlighted the racing action Saturday June 17th at Dominion Raceway. Flo Racing announcers Eric Brennan and Blake McCandless agreed when they coined the race’s conclusion as, “one of the best races we’ve ever seen.”
For McCarty, the race was his 69th CARS Tour Race and seventh with new team R&S Race Cars. The victory was an emotional trip to victory lane for the three-time CARS Tour champion, as it was his first win in two years when he won at South Boston to claim the championship in 2021 with Nelson Motorsports.
Before his race-winning pass, McCarty was in top 5 contention all day after qualifying sixth fastest, and he claimed in his victory lane interview he was ready for a good finish before opportunity struck.
“It’s been a long year and I saw a top-three and thought ‘I’ll take it,’” said McCarty. “I just throttled left and took the lead. They could have put us in the fence, but I didn’t care.”
McCarty knew Queen was struggling for grip on the bottom, so getting a high arc into the corner which allowed him to cut down and establish inside position on his dueling opposition.
“As I was catching them, I was planning it out in my head, but I never thought it would pan out. I knew I had to keep him on my outside,” said McCarty. “I put it down and held on!”
Queen’s second place finish comes after a dominant performance where he started on the pole and led all but 15 laps. The driver of the #03 raced with physicality all night long: showing a willingness to beat and bang for the race lead on restarts.
Even before McCarty stole the show, Queen aggressively attempted to hold off Kvapil on corner-exit: often moving up the race track into the #8 to maintain the lead.
“The #8 car and I were racing hard, and I wasn’t rolling over for him, and I figured he wouldn’t for me,” said Queen. “I mean we hit doors a lot, but I was never gonna wreck him. We were racing for a win.”
Towards the final laps, Kvapil looked to have more speed and handling, but it was a bitter 4th place finish for the JR Motorsports driver. The three-wide battle ended with Kvapil fenced on the backstretch and the loss of speed also allowed for the #81 of Mini Tyrrell to complete a pass for third.
The #77 of Connor Hall rounded out the top-5 after spending most of the night towards the top of the running order.
The evening’s racing action was made possible due to Napa and Chaney Enterprises. The races were preceded by a series of amazing events hosted by the track and Mini’s Mission, as the Tyrrell family and the CARS Touring 12 welcomed several individuals and families battling childhood cancer.
Friday night the families were joined by the CARS drivers for a special dinner, music, and comedy show. Saturday morning saw the families return for a special reunion with the drivers as they got to explore the cars and infield experience. The Touring 12 cars each had the name of a child on the c-post of their car, and the drivers walked out with their kid in a special pre race driver introduction ceremony.
Race one of the night was the first of 35 lap twins by the Truckin’ Thunder Virginia Racer Division. Reid Murphy’s #21 earned the pole in qualifying, and it was his night! After the invert, Murphy regained the top spot from #82 Mike Ganoe 12 laps in, and he never looked back as the race went green to the finish.
The #9 of Alex Brock finished third, snapping his streak of 5 victories to start the season.
Afterwards, Dallas Cosby and James Garrett started on the front row for the Eagle Towing and Recovery UCARs. Cosby led the first 10 laps until he relinquished the lead to the silver and aqua #22 of Carter Weedon, who started third. The caution came out a lap later Kris Kurtz’s machine checked up causing an accident with David Rhoades and Trevor Stinson.
Weedon would beat Cosby to the lead on the restart and pace the field until lap 18. From the lead, calamity struck Weedon as his ride began emitting smoke on the backstretch. Fluid from the accident would also collect a hard-charging Dylan Loving who was riding in the second position.
The restart by the red #1 of Michael Frayser on the front row next to the leader, Cosby would see Mike Chapman, Stuart Walsh, David Rhoades, and Joshua Thomas wreck toward the rear of the field in the first turn.
Rhoades and Walsh would get together again later with 5 laps remaining. Chapman would recover from previous hardship and start on the outside of Cosby after the choose cone due to Frayser opting to start inside on row 2. Garrett’s blue #97 would bring out the caution with 2 laps to go, bringing out the green-white-checker finish.
While Cosby endured the restart and took the white flag as the leader, Frayser and Chapman would get together multiple times jockeying for second. The contact would escalate to Chapman driving over the rear of Frayser’s car ending the race with the yellow.
Cosby’s victory marked his first of the season.
The CARS Tour race saw pole sitter, Queen, lead lap one while Kvapil would pull ahead for lap 2. Queen would regain the lead by lap 3. On lap 13 McCarty, who started 6th, would pass Chad McCumbee for 4th.
Devastation for the third-place runner, Kaden Honeycutt would arise on lap 18 when he hit the turn 3 wall due to a mechanical issue. Later in the race, Flo Racing pit reporter James Pike would attribute the accident to an overheated wheel which melted and broke.
Queen would win the restart and on lap 24 McCarty would get his first taste of second position when he passed Kvapil. Lap 36 would see another accident as Landon Huffman would spin out thanks to contact with Mason Diaz., while on lap 63 the #8 of Chase Burrow would have an issue with one of his Hoosier tires.
Queen continued to lead over the halfway point and beyond, but on lap 30 pressure started to rise for Butterbean, as he began to get into lap traffic. The top four cars, including Queen, Kvapil, McCarty, and Conner Hall were all lined up under a blanket until, with 16 to go, Mike Looney also suffered a tire failure.
Queen and Kvapil rode side by side for four laps of green flag action until the #45 Alpha Prime racing machine of Jonathan Findley got into the wall in turn 3 with 12 laps remaining.
The final restart saw Kvapil take the outside and go high out of turn 2 to edge Queen. Laps later, the #8 Bass Pro Shops driver would get loose in turn 3 allowing Queen to draw even and then take the lead with six circuits remaining.
McCarty’s aforementioned effort in the closing moments saw him take the checkered flag to wrap up an incredible 125 lap show.
After the late model celebrations were wrapped up, the Southern Ground Pounders Vintage Racing Series hit the track. The pink and black #57 of Jimmy Mullins was the overall star of the night finishing first and winning the modified class in his 1974 Gremlin. Kevin Floars won the sportsman class in his 1970 Monte Carlo. Both drivers would detail in Victory lane how much they love the facility and how fun the fast racing around the track is, Floars stated he was giving his all to catch up to the #57 for a show, (tho they technically are scored in separate classes) and felt like he was making good ground in the closing laps. Mullins would go on to agree in his victory lane interview stating he saw the #1 coming and almost slipped up as he made a slight mistake going into turn 1 around some slower cars, breaking loose momentarily before regaining control, attributing his save to his dirt racing days.
The second Virginia Racer 35 lap race of the night concluded the evening’s action. Richard Storm started on the front row and led 10 of the 11 opening laps before Brock cleared him in his A+ Roofing #9 on lap 11. The Brocket-ship would not look back as he took his sixth checkered flag in seven races.
Next Saturday, June 24, Dominion Raceway hosts twin 60’s for the McCreery Racing Tired Late Models, a 35 lap Dominion Stocks contest, a 35 lap Modifieds race, and 25 laps for the Mini Stocks and Mini Cups.
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