The 2019 Myrtle Beach 400 was a long weekend to forget for many Late Model teams owners and drivers who were left confused frustrated by the events that transpired before and during the 250-lap Late Model feature.
One person that plans to take away many positive memories from Sunday’s on-track activity is Hawk McCall Motorsports co-owner Lee McCall, who got to celebrate with both of his drivers in Austin Somero and Will Burns after they won the Myrtle Beach 250 and Myrtle Beach 400, respectively.
“It’s just unbelievable,” McCall said after Burns’ victory. “This race has eluded us since 2013, and we’ve had plenty of shots at it, but having both of our cars win tonight says a lot about our team and our drivers. We put a lot of effort into this race and these days don’t come often.”
McCall has been actively involved in auto racing for the past three decades, and has helped drivers like Ricky Rudd, Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin, Davey Allison and others find the path to victory lane by putting ensuring that they have the best equipment available to them.
This practice has extended over into McCall’s Late Model program that he co-owns with Randy Hawkins, which has helped kickstart the careers of several current NASCAR Drivers that include Ben Rhodes, Spencer Davis and 2015 CARS LMSC Tour champion Brayton Haws.
Burns and Somero are two of the latest drivers to come through Hawk McCall’s stable, and McCall admitted that both of them show a lot of positive qualities that can enable them to create more success for themselves long after Sunday’s Myrtle Beach 400.
“They are good, ole boys,” McCall said. “They’ve been friends of mine for a while, and it means a lot to me that I can take my local guys to these big races and then go out and win them. It just shows what kind of effort those two put in.”
Somero was the fist Hawk McCall driver to put his car in victory lane at the end of the Myrtle Beach 250 after outsmarting Ryan Glenski on tire conservation and passing him with less than 35 to go on a late-race restart.
Somero was ecstatic to bring home a victory for Hawk McCall in one of the biggest Limited Late Model races on the East Coast, and believes that the hours he has spent with McCall inside the team shop have been extremely beneficial to him as a driver and a person.
[Lee’s] taught me everything,” Somero said. “I raced Street Stocks with my dad for a year, and I ended up winning the championship at my home track of Greenville-Pickens. I got on board with Lee right after that, and he’s taught me so much about what I need to know when it comes to racing.”
Somero carried over the momentum from his Limited Late Model win into the Myrtle Beach 400 by using a similar tire strategy that allowed him to carve his way through traffic and inside the Top 10 by the final restart of the night.
Burns would ultimately represent Hawk McCall in victory lane after showing consistent speed and passing Jeff Fultz on a late-race restart to survive a chaotic 250-lap Late Model feature that would end prematurely due to an 11 p.m. curfew.
Burns credited his stellar run in the Myrtle Beach 400 to all of the hard work McCall and his crew put into the Late Model in the weeks leading up to the race, and that having Somero win the Myrtle Beach 250 and finish strong in the Late Model feature made the occasion all the more significant.
“This was the cherry on top,” Burns said. “Our car was honestly perfect all night, and you never hear a racecar driver say that. It’s incredible to be here right now with both cars and to just be in this moment right now.”
McCall was proud to see Burns and Somero execute the team’s gameplan to near-perfection in both features, and wants both of them to enjoy the moment before early preparations for the upcoming season begin this week.
“The new season starts today” McCall said. “We’re going to cherish these wins for now, and probably take [Monday] off, but then we’re going to get after things on Tuesday.”
With Myrtle Beach serving as Hawk McCall’s final race of the 2019 season, both Burns and Somero have yet to figure out their plans for 2020, but both intend to carry McCall’s guidance with them regardless of where they end up.