LUCAMA, NC – Taylor Gray and Matt Craig opened the sixth season of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour with victories in a thrilling Solid Rock Carriers 300 at Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday afternoon.

Gray led several different times during the Solid Rock Carriers LMSC 150, ultimately making the race winning pass on lap 129 when he bypassed Deac McCaskill in a race where tire management was the key factor.  The two drivers had swapped the lead back-and-forth several times during an enthralling battle in the midway stages of the event.  After Gray made the pass, he was able to hold McCaskill off for the win.

“The first 120 laps, we were running 17 second laps and just trying to pace the field as much as possible,” Gray said.  “Just saving tires and managing the gap on back is key.  You’re worried about a late race caution because anything can happen.  I’ve been in the right situation and the wrong situation.  It just depends.  The people who were around me were really good, really experienced.  They’ve been racing Late Models for years.  It’s just a matter of what position you put yourself in and how you handle it.”

Gray said he sought advice from Bubba Pollard throughout the weekend and listened to Pollard’s advice.  That advice paid dividends in his second career Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour Late Model Stock win.

Four-time Southern National Motorsports Park track champion and 2016 CARS Tour champion Deac McCaskill finished second.

“[Gray] was stout man,” McCaskill said.  “Really strong off the corner.  The old car wasn’t bad.  I thought I could do something on the outside there for a little bit.  He just prevailed a little better on the long run.  I just got really free like everybody else did and just kind of hanging on to it.  Our planned strategy worked out.”

Connor Mosack finished third while Josh Berry and Layne Riggs rounded out the top-five.

As Southern National’s track surface has become more abrasive, the pace of the race slowed considerably throughout the duration of the 150-lap feature.  Additionally, track owner Michael Diaz applied PJ1 Track Bite compound prior to the race, allowing more side-by-side racing.

The Late Model Stock feature was slowed by five cautions – two competition cautions and three cautions for on track incidents.

Matt Craig led wire-to-wire in the FURY Race Cars 150 Super Late Model feature on Saturday to score his sixth career Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour victory.

“I really love this track,” Craig said.  “It’s worn out.  It’s slick.  It’s got no grip.  I really like that.  The car was really good.  I can’t do it without my team.  That’s what won me the race really.  This is my seventh win here.  I saw comments when we won here last week about no competition.  I don’t think you can say there was no competition today.  We had a really good car.  I can’t thank Rowdy Manufacturing enough and the CARS Tour for putting on a good show.”

Trevor Noles was fastest in qualifying but instantly surrendered the lead on the initial start of the race.  Noles raced his way back up to a runner up finish in the closing laps of the race but could not get within striking distance of Craig.

“These Super Late Models are tough,” Noles said.  “We’ve got to figure out how to maintain tires a little bit better at the end and see if we can not lose as much track position.  We’ll go to Hickory and see if we can’t get one there.”

Stephen Nasse finished third while Travis Braden and Carson Kvapil rounded out the top-five.

Both divisions of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour will return to action for the first night race of the year on Saturday, March 21st in the Race Face Tel-Med 300 at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Results

Solid Rock Carriers LMSC 150

  1. Taylor Gray
  2. Deac McCaskill
  3. Connor Mosack
  4. Josh Berry
  5. Layne Riggs
  6. Mike Darne
  7. Ronald Hill
  8. Jonathan Findley
  9. Jonathan Shafer
  10. Bobby McCarty
  11. Justin Johnson
  12. Matt Cox
  13. Jared Fryar
  14. Craig Moore
  15. Corey Heim
  16. Brandon Pierce
  17. Nolan Pope
  18. Tyler Matthews
  19. Chad McCumbee
  20. Chris Chapman
  21. Trevor Ward
  22. Gage Painter
  23. Tommy Lemons, Jr.
  24. Mini Tyrrell

FURY Race Cars SLM 150

  1. Matt Craig
  2. Trevor Noles
  3. Stephen Nasse
  4. Travis Braden
  5. Carson Kvapil
  6. Kodie Conner
  7. Mike Hopkins
  8. Hudson Halder
  9. Mike Speeny
  10. Austin McDonald
  11. Jeff Batten
  12. Sammy Smith
  13. Gabe Sommers
  14. Bubba Pollard
  15. Jeremy Barclay
About the Author

Andy Marquis is the managing editor of Race22.com, joining the team in 2011. Marquis has vast journalism experience, having covered ARCA, INDYCAR, NASCAR, AMA and IHRA Drag Racing. He has also covered politics from the local level in Maryland to the national level in Washington. Currently, he oversees the editorial side of Race22.com on a day-to-day basis while also contributing features and covering races on location.