McCarty Holds Off Matthews for CARS Tour Win at Hickory

The Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour put on another barn-burning show for the fans, this time the historic Hickory Motor Speedway hosted the MTP Tire 150. The fans had witnessed a last-lap pass and first-time win by 2nd generation driver, Caden Kvapil during the 100 lap Super Late Model race won by the length of a nose valance.

The race at Hickory came to green with Layne Riggs on the pole. Bobby McCarty snagged the lead early on the first lap. McCarty was wary of his pace in the early stages. McCarty fell back to fifth a couple of laps after Riggs got past him again on lap 16.

The CARS Tour Late Model Stock Cars were the feature portion of the show at Hickory Motor Speedway on March 20, 2021. (Bridger Swinimer photo)

Double-File racing was a common occurrence through the middle of the field throughout the night. In terms of tire saving and the short track style of pack racing displayed, the now-defunct Myrtle Beach speedway has a spiritual successor in the way that Hickory Motor Speedway produces racing. Tyler Matthews battled Layne Riggs and took the lead on Lap 21. The shuffling towards the front continued as Deac McCaskill put his car on the point on Lap 31.

The race began to settle in. The mid-pack cars could not get away from each other. Mike Looney missed in qualifying and rolled out 18th. On lap 58, Mike Looney’s blitz to the front had vaulted him to fourth. By lap 65, Looney wrestled the lead from Deac McCaskill. In the next portion of the race, it seemed most competitors were content to ride. As the lead cars finally snaked their way to the other end of the field, Mike Looney began to set his sights on the mid-pack gaggle that seemed to attract in a bunch like magnets. This allowed Bobby McCarty to catch up to the leader. Managing lap traffic was tough, McCarty made slight contact with the lap car of Joe Valento before the race took a wild turn.

Mike Looney had dominated the MTP Tire 250 CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car race at Hickory Motor Speedway after starting toward the back of the field and rallying to the lead but a lapped car slowed in front of him causing significant damage to his car and forcing him to pit road for a penalty due to the contact. (Bridger Swinimer photo)

Lap 110 changed the entire complexion of the Late Model Stock feature. Leader Mike Looney got into the rear of a loose Jonathan Shafer car. Shafer’s vehicle was spun-out in turn two. The yellow came out as Mike Looney was still scored as the leader. The damage was bad enough on his nose that the ductwork was exposed. As the field rode under caution it appeared that Looney wasn’t going to pit. Then the call came down from race control, Looney’s contact with Shafer’s rear bumper could have been avoided according to officials. They brought him pit lane as crews got to work with tape hammers and saws. Cars that come down for work in the pits under yellow do not go a lap down until the next green flag.

Looney was able to get back into the race. Bobby McCarty was the benefactor of Looney’s misfortunes. McCarty sprinted ahead and cruised during the next set of laps until Mason Diaz had his rear end come loose in turns three and four. He careened into the wall in a spark shower. Looney and Diaz had made some slight contact a couple of laps before, but ultimately something broke in the rear end. The rear-end failure looked to be what ultimately took Diaz into the wall.

Mason Diaz had his race come to an end early after a late race incident that left him steaming at Mike Looney and his car heavily damaged from a broken rear end. (Bridger Swinimer photo)

Lap 130 was a frenzy of a restart as Bobby McCarty pulled away. Tyler Matthews pushed ahead to second. The race appeared all but locked up for the Autos by Nelson’s crew of McCarty. There were three laps left to go before Jessica Cann climbed the rear decklid of Jack Wood, in turn, four, knocking both cars out of contention.

The big lead McCarty built for the last 20 laps reverted to a double-file restart with Mathews on his door. The green flag dropped again; the roaring pack came around and took the white. Tyler Matthews got a monstrous run off of turn two. He found his way to the bottom as they were fender to fender in three. Bolting out of turn four side by side, the cars appeared to dead even from the naked eye at the line. The fans stood and cheered as the finish was too close to call if it wasn’t for electronic scoring. Bobby McCarty held on to the lead by an epically slim margin of .025ths of a second.

Tyler Matthews (41), driving his first race with Hawk-McCall Motorsports and former NASCAR Cup Series crew chief Lee McCall, became the star of the show at the end of the MTP Tire 250 CARS Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway when he challenged for the win late after carving his way to second. (Bridger Swinimer photo)

After his photo-ops were finished, McCarty and his crew took the car immediately to the tech center.

“I knew Tyler was coming,” said McCarty. “I was confident we could beat him. When the caution came out, that wasn’t really what we needed. I didn’t want to take the bottom. I knew he could have bumped me sooner. We were just trying to run our pace, Looney just about screwed the plan for me. We wanted to wait till lap 100 to go and I got impatient. I just want to thank the guys from Solid Rock Carriers, Autos by Nelson, Blue Ridge Towing, they stuck behind me and have been supportive.”

Mike Looney seemed very gracious and happy to have had a fast car despite only finishing 13th with a controversial rough driving call ending his chances of victory.

“I just misjudged,” explained Looney. “The lap cars were battling hard, they were competing in their own thing. I apologize for that. It was just short track racing. We could have kept running, I could’ve kept on for the win it wasn’t in the cards. When I drove through that field they did a very professional job. I wanna thank harrisonsworkwear.com and Hopkins Lumber, A1 Heating and Cooling. It’s just short track racing.”

Hickory Motor Speedway put on a whirlwind of a show for the fans that came to support the historic North Carolina track. Sam Butler took third, Deac McCaskill 4th, and Daniel Silvestri wound up 5th.

As of this writing, Bobby McCarty’s engine was confiscated by tech officials, no official word has been given on the legality of his engine.

Unofficial Finish
1. #22 Bobby McCarty
2. #41 Tyler Matthews
3. #81B Sam Butler
4. #08 Deac McCaskill
5. #97 Daniel Silvestri
6. #4 Jonathan Findley
7. #81 Mini Tyrrell
8. #88 William Cox III
9. #4H Kaden Honeycutt
10. #44 Justin Johnson
11. #14 Jared Fryar
12. #2 Brandon Pierce
13. #87 Mike Looney
14. #57 Justin Carroll
15. #17 Joe Valento
16. #95 Sam Yarbrough
17. #91 Jonathan Shafer
18. #99 Layne Riggs
19. #07 Chase Dixon
20. #21 Jack Wood
21. #19 Jessica Cann
22. #24 Mason Diaz
23. #14J Connor Jones
24. #2L Matt Leicht