ROBERSONVILLE, NC :: The race that everyone had been waiting for all night, home track hero of Michael Rouse starting on the pole and new comer Deac McCaskill made of the first of four rows to take the green flag. What shocked me right off the bat was how fast McCaskill and his blue #08 fell to the back of the pack. At first I thought he was having mechanical issues, or not enough practice time at a new track, but then it hit me; he is saving his stuff for the end.
Michael Rouse did not care however as he jumped out to a one second lead of long time Langley Speedway driver Jeff Shiflett. There was no looking back for the #23 machine as he held just over a one second lead for the first quarter of the race, while 2013 Southern National Motorsports Park Champion Deac McCaskill still rides over eight seconds behind the leader.
It wasn’t until lap 40 that McCaskill seemed to turn on the jets while Shifflett looked to lose a bit on his car as the #9 machine of Burbage passes Shifflett like he was standing still. We only had one caution during the entire race for debris that was found in the racing line in the middle of turns one and two. This was a huge break for McCaskill & Shifflett as Deac had seamed to have lost the field and allowed for Shifflett to cool his tires.
Lap 75 was a scary moment as Brian Whitehurst in the #8 machine gets way loose out of turn number two almost collecting now charging Deac McCaskill. With 16 laps to go McCaskill takes second position away and set his eyes on race leader Michael Rouse. Deac finally took the lead with 5 laps left as Michael Rouse tried everything he could to hold onto the lead but it just was not enough as McCaskill took the white flag with a two car lead and brought home the trophy.
After the races were complete I caught up with Deac and asked him how it felt to get the win first time here.
“Feels good man,” McCaskill told me. “Hate that we only had seven cars here you know but still, a wins a win. It was a challenge for us, it was the first time we had seen this track today. We had two really short practices, we were fairly close when we unloaded, we still made a lot of changes anticipating that tire wear was going to be really bad.”
When the race got under way and Deac feel to the back of the pack I looked over to the announcer and told him, watch for that 08 I can guarantee you he is saving his stuff for the end and boy did he ever. “I didn’t want to drop back that far, I was hoping to run second or third,” McCaskill weighed in on dropping back so far. “I panicked there for a minute and said I think I better go.” Deac took off and with the help of a mid race caution was able to be there for one exciting finish at the end.
I did ask Deac how this year was going to play out with points, will he run SNMP and ECMS with hopes of a national championship he told me right now the team is just taking it week by week. “Last year we ran a lot of races and it was just tough.” McCaskill did express they would see how things played out about midway through the season and see if they had a chance to run for a national title.
Limited Late Models
The Limited late models were the last division to take the track for their 50 lap feature. It didn’t take long to run into trouble as the #3 of Travis Roberson snapped loose going into one hits the wall hard and drops a lot of fluid on the track. Clean up took quite some time to finish as there was fluid from top to bottom. More misfortune for some teams on opening night as Taylor Howard has a ton of smoke out the back of his #99 machine and he was done for the night. About midway through the race the #77 had issues and had to take his machine behind the wall! Lap 35 pretty much sealed as the #16 of Daniels takes the lead as White slowed up and took a three to four car lead quick and cruised his way to victory.
Article excerpt from The Weekly Racer.