CARS Response Energy Late Model Stock Car Tour points leader Bobby McCarty continued to demonstrate his dominance over the rest of his competition by leading every single lap in the inaugural Race at Ace 125 at Ace Speedway to pick up his third career victory of the season.

“We work hard,” McCarty said. “We’re leaving tonight, and we’re taking the car home and we’re going to start working on it on Monday morning. We don’t take slow days or easy days, and if we have to be there until two o’clock in the morning this coming Monday night, then we will be there. The car has to be absolutely perfect, and that’s what makes a difference.”

McCarty’s dominant afternoon began with the first practice session of the day, as he posted the fastest overall time out of 23 cars with a 15.581. Although McCarty was only able to post the seventh fastest time in the following session, he managed to follow up his blistering speed in the first practice during qualifying, as he picked up his first career CARS Response Energy Tour pole by posting a time of 15.434.

McCarty carried over his speed from qualifying into the race, as he managed to edge 2017 CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour champion Josh Berry at the start of the race before checking out on the rest of the field. Berry found himself facing challenges from several drivers for second early on, including Layne Riggs and 2017 Rodney Cook Classic winner Blake Stallings, while McCarty opened up a huge advantage over second place before a competition caution was thrown on Lap 40.

The following restarts would prove to be difficult for McCarty, as both Riggs and Berry fought to wrestle the lead away from the series points leader, which eventually culminated into a three-wide battle for the lead. However, McCarty’s car was able to stay in front of the field on every single restart, leaving Berry, Riggs and several others to battle it out for second for most of the evening.

The CARS Response Energy Tour’s first visit to Ace proved to be difficult for many competitors chasing McCarty, as a multi-car crash on Lap 71 eliminated many strong cars, including Stallings, track regular RD Smith, and Late Model veteran Deac McCaskill, who entered the race only 19 points behind McCarty in the series’ points standings. Another accident occurred only a few laps later when Berry and Jeb Burton made contact in Turn 2, which led to another accident between the pair in Turn 4 that brought out another caution and ended the evening of both drivers prematurely.

All of the attrition happened behind McCarty, who had to deal with both Riggs and Cody Haskins on the final restart of the race. Haskins began reeling in McCarty for the lead early in the run, but the strength of the #22 Autos by Nelson Toyota proved to be too much for the Marietta, Georgia native, as McCarty pulled away from the rest of the field by nearly five seconds over the final several laps, which allowed him to cruise to an easy victory and establish himself as the clear favorite for the 2018 CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour championship.

McCarty felt comfortable with his car during the entire evening, but knew that drivers like Riggs, Berry and others were more than capable of challenging him for the lead, particularly on restarts. However, McCarty was able to hold off the pressure by holding his own on the bottom of the track and knowing how to work the corners, which made it much more difficult for his competition to find a way around him.

“They used a different groove than I did,” McCarty said. “They were driving it in deeper and backing the whole corner up. I like to let off early and pick up early, and at a place like this it really paid off. During the first couple of laps on the restart, they were getting me real loose getting into Turn 1 and it was jumbling it up pretty bad. Once we got to the throttle clean, we were able to pull away. It really depends on how the track is, and with how hot and humid it was today, I felt like we had to be more aggressive center out than at the entry of the center.”

Haskins managed to bring home his career-best CARS Response Energy LMSC Tour finish with a second-place run, while Layne Riggs brought his Late Model home in third place. Lee Pulliam, who had been battling the flu most of the week, drove his way up from 21st to finish in the fourth position while Trevor Ward rounded out the Top 5.

Race at Ace 125 Results:

1. 22m Bobby McCarty
2. 2 Cody Haskins
3. 99 Layne Riggs
4. 5 Lee Pulliam
5. 77 Trevor Ward
6. 77s Blake Stallings
7. 18 Ty Gibbs
8. 17 Ryan Millington
9. 74 Ronald Hill
10. 07 Bradley McCaskill -1
11. 9w Charlie Watson -1
12. 2d Chris Denny OUT
13. 27 Tommy Lemons Jr. OUT
14. 88 Josh Berry OUT
15. 4 Jeb Burton OUT
16. 16 RD Smith OUT
17. 22 Deac McCaskill OUT
18. 2p Brandon Pierce OUT
19. 1m Craig Moore OUT
20. 9 Sam Mayer OUT
21. 44 Grayson Cullather OUT
22. 7 Justin Crider OUT
23. 14 Ryan Repko OUT