The 100-lap Limited Late Model feature of the Fall Brawl at Hickory Motor Speedway primarily consisted of a battle between the young drivers Gage Painter and Vince Midas for the lead, but Painter would gain the upper hand and cap off his successful season with a victory and a championship in the Paramount Kia Points Challenge.
“It feels really good,” Painter said. “I have to thank all of my guys, Laughlin Construction, Davis Financial Partners as well as my mom and my dad. They work really hard on this car, and this wouldn’t be possible without them.”
Painter would begin the weekend by posting the fastest lap in qualifying with a time of 15.130, with Midas starting alongside him in the second position with a 15.136. At the drop of the green flag, Midas was able to get a better jump than Painter, but the two would engage in an intense battle over the next five laps until Midas was finally able to pull ahead and clear Painter.
Midas and Painter separated themselves from the rest of the field until a caution was displayed for Richard Caldwell on Lap 33, which bunched the field back up for a restart. Midas managed to hold off Painter on the next two restarts and attempted to take control of the race, but a multi-car accident at the halfway point created another opportunity for Painter to regain the lead.
With Midas taking the bottom line on the restart, Painter was able to fill the gap between him and Pat Rachels, which enabled him to attempt a crossover move on Midas on the backstretch. Midas refused to give Painter any room on the bottom of the track, which led to contact between the two drivers that sent Midas up out of the groove, which gave Painter the lead once again.
No one would have anything for Painter during the last half of the race, as the 13 year-old driver pulled away from the rest of the field to win the 100-lap Limited Late Model feature of the Fall Brawl. Midas would bring his #14 Late Model home in the second position, and although he was happy with his car’s performance, he was not satisfied with the way Painter raced him for the lead.
“It stinks that we were one position away from ending the season real good,” Midas said. “Gage just bumped me a little bit, but I’ll definitely remember that, and I will return the favor some other time.”
While Painter’s performance was not enough for him to secure the overall track championship in the Limited Late Model division, he was able to clinch the Paramount Kia Points Challenge title by a small margin over Midas and Rachels. Painter admitted that he could have used better judgement while battling Midas for the lead, but stated that he was trying to do everything he could to bring his #12 into victory lane and finish his season on a high note.
“Honestly, I wasn’t really thinking,” Painter said. “I was just trying to get by him, but I was also trying to go hard, but not too hard so I could save my tires for the end.”
Painter remains undecided on his 2019 plans, but is contemplating running in the CARS Response Energy Tour on a part-time basis. He added that he plans to talk with his team and his parents before they make that commitment.
Limited Late Model Results:
1. 12 Gage Painter
2. 14 Vince Midas
3. 34 Pat Rachels
4. 22 Brandon Lemke
5. 18 Cody DeMarmels
6. 17 Jason Myers
7. 92 Taylor Nesbitt
8. 71 Nathan Lineback
9. 13 Richard Caldwell
10. 84 Don Carlton
11. 19 Jessica Cann
12. 00 Andy Holt
13. 21 Monty Cox OUT
14. 12 Mason Ludwig OUT
15. 71 Landon Huffman OUT
16. 1 Brody Pope OUT
17. 99 Kyle Mansch OUT
18. 12 Jackie Buckner OUT