ALTAMAHAW, NC — R.D. Smith won a thrilling duel against Alex Yontz to claim the victory in the 125-lap Late Model Stock feature at Ace Speedway Friday night, his third consecutive victory this season at the Altamahaw, North Carolina track.

The race ended with a nine-lap shootout, as the caution wove for contact between Thomas Scott and Patrick Coleman battling for fourth on lap 116. Coleman was turned head-on into the outside wall on the backstretch, while Scott was penalized for rough driving and sent to the rear.

That caution set the stage for a tense battle between Yontz and Smith. Yontz gave everything he had saved during the race to Smith as they battled for the win, but Smith held on for the triumph.

“It was a tough race, 125 laps here,” Smith said after the win. “It’s a lot of laps, and it was tough racing all night. Alex had a great race car, and we had a great battle, it was tooth-and-nail with him.”

“I tried to stay in reach and save everything I could until the final five or ten laps,” Yontz said. “I made a run for it with all I had and all I had saved, and it just wasn’t quite enough.”

Mike Darne dominated the early stages of the race, before Yontz took the lead on lap 51. Yontz maintained that lead until a competition caution at lap 85, but drew the fourth spot during the race’s intermission. Thomas Scott, who was running in the fifth and final spot for the re-draw, drew the pole position for the restart, with Dennis Holdren to his outside.

Smith had started in the eight position and worked his way into second before the intermission, but drew the fifth pill for the reset. The Burlington, North Carolina native worked his way through the top five over the next 22 laps, taking the lead from Blake Stallings on lap 107.

“We didn’t qualify well,” Smith said.  “We started eighth. We finally got to the front, the invert put us back to fifth, so we had to do it all again. We had our work cut out for us tonight.”

Yontz finished second, while Dennis Holdren came home third. Holdren, who has won twice this season at Ace, believed he needed longer green-flag runs to have a shot at the victory.

“After about five laps, we were starting to reel [Smith and Yontz] back in a little,” Holdren said on the podium finish. “It took a little for our car to come in. I think we had a very good night tonight, with where we started. We didn’t get tore up tonight, and we’ve got something to build on.”

Stallings’ night shortly turned sour after losing the lead, as he spun following contact with Yontz in turn four a lap later. Stallings rebounded to finish fourth, beating out fifth-place Brad Kurth over the closing laps.

Smith added that he felt the longer race on Hoosier tires will be good preparation for the final three races of the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Late Model Stock Tour. The series, which typically runs 125-lap events, switched this week to Hoosier tires from American Racer, and Ace Speedway regularly runs Hoosiers.

“They’re going to the Hoosier tire, and we’ve got a real good package for the Hoosier,” Smith said. “We’ve had some really good runs on the CARS side. We didn’t run that good at Orange [County], but up until then we’ve been pretty much in the top five most of the races.”

“I feel like a win’s right around the corner there in the CARS Tour,” Smith continued. “It’s tough competition, we just need a night where everything goes your way.”

The race was interrupted twice at lap 56 for reports of mist around the 0.400-mile oval, which were causing visibility issues on the windshields of the 17 Late Model competitors. However, the rain never intensified, and racing continued without further delay.

Before the evening’s racing, there was a ceremony to honor the memory of longtime Ace Speedway flagman and race director Johnny Fogleman. The flagstand was renamed the “Johnny Fogleman Memorial Flagstand” while his family was presented with a plaque thanking him for his dedication to the facility.’s Andy Marquis contributed to this report.


1. #16 R.D. Smith
2. #33 Alex Yontz
3. #2 Dennis Holdren
4. #77 Blake Stallings
5. #9 Brad Kurth
6. #71 Dean Fogleman
7. #57 Justin Carroll
8. #82 Barry Beggarly
9. #4 John Moore
10. #8 Thomas Scott
11. #44 Coy Hedrick
12. #81 Patrick Coleman
13. #0 Justin Snow
14. #14 Mike Darne
15. #88 Dustin Rumley
16. #23 Ziggy Zimmerman
17. #92 Jason Stanley