A calm and orderly 2019 Rodney Cook Classic quickly turned chaotic in the closing stages as many of the best Late Model drivers attempted to get everything out of their cars to secure a lucrative $10,000 paycheck.

Once the dust settled, Layne Riggs was the one to survive the late-race chaos on Saturday and bring home the checkered flag in what he believed was the most prestigious victory of his brief Late Model career to date.

“We’ve had a terrible year so far,” Riggs said. “This win means so much to me, and it really makes up for all the bad luck we’ve experience, and I have to thank everyone at Ace Speedway for putting this race on. I really hated to see all of those good cars get torn up at the end, because I felt like we had a rocket ship there at the end [to contend with everyone.]”

A majority of the Rodney Cook Classic belonged to Bobby McCarty, who led nearly all of the opening 100 laps of the feature except for one on an early restart in which he was edged by Jason York at the line.

The complexion of the 140-lap Late Model feature would change on Lap 112 when McCarty made slight contact with Ryan Millington that put the latter into the wall on the backstretch, which prompted a retaliation move from Millington on the following lap that knocked McCarty out of the lead.

An ill-timed spin from RD Smith would set up a restart that put McCarty right behind Millington, who was merely a bystander as McCarty turned him into the outside wall once the green flag dropped.

McCarty’s maneuver on Millington would lead to race control parking him for the rest of the race, opening the door for Riggs to pull away from the rest of the field as he secured the trophy for the Rodney Cook Classic.

Riggs was a witness to the contact between McCarty and Millington that ultimately put him in the lead and knew that he needed to take the right strategy for the following restart to stay out in front of everyone and keep his car in one piece.

“We were really debating on whether to take the inside or the outside for the restart,” Riggs said. “They were getting really aggressive in Turns 3 and 4 on the previous, so we took the inside just to be safe. Luckily it payed off, because I could have been the one in the wall.”

Jacob Heafner made a charge on Riggs during the final ten laps, but ran out of time and finished second. Trevor Ward rebounded from an early pit stop to finish third, while Stacy Puryear and Davin Scites rounded out the Top 5.

Unofficial LMSC Race Results:

1. 99 Layne Riggs
2. 95 Jacob Heafner
3. 77 Trevor Ward
4. 05 Stacy Puryear
5. 06 Davin Scites
6. 8 Thomas Scott
7. 81 Zack Clifton
8. 18 Jason York
9. 31 Thomas Beane
10. 89 Kevin Neal
11. 9 Austin Powell
12. 59 Heath Causey
13. 57 Justin Carroll OUT
14. 15 Ryan Millington OUT
15. 12 Bobby McCarty OUT
16. 16 RD Smith OUT
17. 88 Dustin Rumley OUT
18. 61 Justin Hicks OUT
19. 1 Jamie York OUT
20. 59 Hunter Causey OUT
21. 77s Blake Stallings OUT
22. 71 Dean Fogleman OUT
23. 61f Gabriel Fogg DNS

Note: Langley Austin contributed to this story.