Tommy Lemons, Jr. (27) battles Layne Riggs (99) for position in a CARS Tour race at Hickory in May 2018. (Andy Marquis photo)

Lemons Scores Much Needed Top-Five at Hickory

Tommy Lemons, Jr. feels like he has his program back on track after leaving Saturday night’s CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway with a top-five finish.

Lemons methodically raced his way to a third-place finish in the 150 lap race after starting ninth.  Lemons’ plan was to lay back and ride for the first 100 laps or so, then march towards the front, a plan he executed perfectly despite starting a little deeper in the field than he anticipated.

“That was kind of our game plan, really,” Lemons told Race22.com.  “We had a really good car all day.  I just screwed us up in qualifying, going too hard.  Should have been in the top eight easily I felt like.  That was my game plan the first half of the race knowing those competition cautions were coming out.  You’ve just got to sit there and ride, especially somewhere like here, 150 laps straight, no tires.  You just got to save everything you can.  I felt like I was in a pretty good place, sitting there with Josh [Berry] and, I don’t know that I ran too hard, just didn’t have enough for [McCarty].”

Lemons has not been racing regularly this season as he’s focused on the Jumpstart Motorsports program, which also fields the car driven by Grayson Cullather in the tour.  However, his season got started on a sour note when he almost missed the field in qualifying in the season opener at Tri-County.

Lemons says the team has been working on some things with the cars and has found a happy place.

“Tri-County was a little bit, we were trying some new stuff and that was the first race on it,” Lemons explained.  “I’m not going to say it didn’t work.  We got wrecked early.  I think we would have had a top-10 car there.  We worked on it.  I haven’t really raced a whole lot, jut been working with customers and trying to get them going.  We’ve been practicing and testing with my stuff, trying to make our whole program better.  Just, we finally were able to race.  It’s been a month and a half or two months since I’ve raced.  Finally back in the seat and just, we got a lot to build on now.”

Lemons’ third-place effort[ at Hickory comes in his second CARS Tour start of the season.  He finished 12th in the season opener at Tri-County Motor Speedway back in March.


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Andy Marquis

Andy Marquis

Andy Marquis is the managing editor of Race22.com, joining the team in 2011. Marquis has vast journalism experience, having covered ARCA, INDYCAR, NASCAR, AMA and IHRA Drag Racing. He has also covered politics from the local level in Maryland to the national level in Washington. Currently, he oversees the editorial side of Race22.com on a day-to-day basis while also contributing features and covering races on location.