For the first half of Saturday’s VisitHampton.com 125 at Langley Speedway, it appeared that Trey Crews had a car capable of contending for the win in his debut Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour event after driving inside the Top 5 with less than 50 to go.
Rather than celebrating a strong run, Crews and his team were left disappointed with their overall performance after he cut a tire on a late-race restart sustained from contact between him and eventual race-winner Layne Riggs.
“We had an awesome car,” Crews said. “The guys worked hard all week and it was super fast. We were running for the third position with Layne on the outside and we got together a little bit and that cut the left rear tire. It’s unfortunate because I felt like we had a Top 3 car and we didn’t finish where we deserved.”
A regular at South Boston Speedway, Crews elected to expand his racing schedule during the 2019 season, which involved competing in all three legs of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200, Hampton Heat 200 and ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
Crews put together an impressive showing during the 2019 Thunder Road-Harley Davidson 200 by finishing third to Peyton Sellers and Lee Pulliam, but he struggled in the Hampton Heat 200 and ValleyStar Credit Union 300 with finishes of 18th and 22nd, respectively.
Crews was able to rebound in the 2020 edition of the Hampton Heat 200 with a solid fourth place finish, which gave him and his team confidence as they prepared to return to Langley in late August for their first CARS LMSC Tour race.
“I was hoping for a Top 10,” Crews said. “I come to the racetrack to win, and I know there are a lot of great guys here, but we raced against a lot of them in the Hampton Heat. I felt like we had an advantage at this track since we had just raced here, but it was a different ball game with these different tires.”
After making some adjustments before qualifying, Crews found his rhythm and proceeded to make his way through the field from the 11th starting position, where he made aggressive moves on drivers like Justin Johnson, Brandon Pierce and others.
By Lap 86, Crews found himself in the fourth position behind Heim, Riggs and McCarty and was mentally preparing to challenge all three of them for the win as the VisitHampton.com 125 entered its closing stages.
Although the ensuing contact with Riggs ended up knocking him out of contention, Crews succeeded in keeping his Late Model out of the outside retaining wall and managed to work his way back through traffic to salvage a respectable 12th place finish.
Crews believed that he could have factored in to the race-ending battle between Riggs and Heim, but he admitted that he enjoyed competing in the CARS LMSC Tour on Saturday evening and hopes to have more opportunities to run in the series in the not too distant future.
“I’d love to be racing every weekend,” Crews said. “Unfortunately, sponsorship restricts how much I can race, but if we can get a few more sponsors on board then maybe we can run a few more CARS Tour races this year, especially with not that many other tracks running.”
Crews is currently unsure when his next race in the CARS LMSC Tour will be, but he hopes to get everything resolved with sponsorships soon. The next CARS LMSC Tour event will take place on Sept. 12 at Carteret County Speedway for the Solid Rock Carriers 125.