In a chaotic last lap that saw drivers crash across the finish line and drivers brawling in the pits, Chris Dilbeck managed to pick up his first career CARS Response Energy Super Late Model Tour victory in his first career start after holding off Chandler Smith in a photo finish at Hickory Motor Speedway.

“Chandler raced me very clean,” Dilbeck said in victory lane. “I’ve never really raced that close with Chandler, but he raced me with a lot of class. He did not rough me up any harder than he needed to, we both did what we had to do, and he did a hell of a job.”

Dilbeck, whose past experience at Hickory includes a victory in the PASS South Series, dominated the early portion of the race as he passed polesitter Brandon Setzer for the lead on Lap 3, and proceeded to drive away from the rest of the field with very few challenges. Dilbeck’s dominance came to an end with ten laps remaining when Tate Fogleman went around off the bumper of Jake Crum, which set up a ten-lap shootout to the finish.

On the following restart, Dilbeck and Lessard made contact going into Turn 2, which allowed Lessard to hold the lead briefly before Setzer took it away from him on the following lap. After another restart, Lessard held off Setzer for the lead until the white flag when Setzer bumped Lessard out of the way in Turn 2, which led to Lessard retaliating by spinning Setzer out in Turn 3, bringing out the caution.

Race control black flagged Lessard for his move on Setzer, which gave Chandler Smith, who spun out after the caution had been displayed, the lead of the race, while Dilbeck lined up on the outside of the front row. The ensuing restart featured an intense battle between Dilbeck and Smith, with Dilbeck edging Smith for the victory in a photo finish as Smith lost control of his car going into Turn 1, triggering a multi-car crash that involved Anthony Cataldi and several others.

As Dilbeck celebrated his first CARS Tour victory, Setzer went to confront Lessard on pit road, which led to a confrontation between the pit crews of Lessard and Setzer. The fight was eventually diffused when local police tackled Setzer to the ground after he threw a couple of punches at Lessard and his crew members, with both drivers eventually walking away from the scene with finishes outside the Top 10.

Jared Fryar extended his points lead over Lessard by coming home in 3rd place. Cataldi and Tate Fogleman rounded out the Top 5.

 

Unofficial Results:

1. 9 Chris Dilbeck
2. 26 Chandler Smith
3. 14 Jared Fryar
4. 00 Anthony Cataldi
5. 8 Tate Fogleman
6. 49 Jeff Batten
7. 7c Tyler Church
8. 78 Corey Heim
9. 7 Taylor Stricklin
10. 1 Wayne Jefferson
11. 6 Brandon Setzer
12. 51 Raphael Lessard
13. 21 Blaise Rutherford -1
14. 16 Molly Helmuth OUT
15. 54 Matt Craig OUT
16. 01 Jake Crum OUT
17. 2 Darrell Gilchrist OUT
18. 2r Bradley Riethmeyer OUT