Matt McCall scored one of the biggest wins of his career as a driver at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21, 2009 in the UARA-STARS race at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory at Bristol was the first of four wins McCall would score on the tour en route to his second series championship.  McCall won the race driving for the late Jerry Moody.  Now, McCall is a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Jamie McMurray who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

Total Domination by Matt McCall at Bristol

by: Langley Austin — March 21, 2009

Total Domination! That’s the easiest way to describe Matt McCall’s performance in the UARA 100 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but for other drivers this race was far from easy.

McCall lead the most laps and in fact only lost the lead once to defending UARA-STARS Series champion, Jake Crum late in the 100-lap race. For Crum, the race at Bristol ended the same way it always does … with him hitting the outside wall due to a blown or cut tire. McCall put himself on the pole for the race on Thursday during qualifying and he pretty much held the top spot from the drop of the green flag until Crum got around him on the outside.

McCall saw a host of challengers come knocking on his back bumper, but every time it seemed that the former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver would fend them off. Jamey Caudill and Caleb Holman were fierce with challenges for McCall, but to no avail as he kept them in his rear view mirror clear to the checkered flag. After losing the lead to Crum and regaining it as Crum slammed the turn four wall, McCall took home the win over Caudill, Richard Boswell, Paddy Rodenbeck and Clay Rogers.

Wade Day grabbed the sixth place in the in rundown driving one of two races that he’ll run in place of 13-year old, Dylan Presnell, the other race will be at Rockingham Speedway on April 17-18th.  Day had an impressive run after starting 21st due to the team putting too much tape on the grill in qualifying causeing the car to drag through the turns.

Rodenbeck’s fourth place effort was a career best for the second year driver who started out last season driving for Jamie Yelton, but since has built his own team now led by veteran crew chief, Jeff Caudill, brother of veteran Late Model Stock Car racer, Jamey Caudill.

The surprise of the race was certainly Rookie of the Year candidate, Jordan McGregor. McGregor was officially the 36th place starter, shotgun on the field and when the green flag dropped he started making a steady stomp to the front of the field.  McGregor, who had to start at the rear of the field due to crashing his car on his first lap of qualifying on Thursday, really turned up the heat in the rookie battle grabbing the Rookie of the Race award unofficially. The 22-year old driver bested eight other potential rookies that we previewed on Friday night with him being the seventh of eight on the list due to his poor qualifying effort. Watch out for this young driver if he can obtain the sponsorship to continue racing on the UARA tour.

I mentioned Caleb Holman above as a challenger for the lead with McCall, but late in the race when he looked to have a great position to challenge McCall the car seemed to go away. The car began sparking after a late restart and looked to possibly have a tire going down or some mechanical issue and that had him slip unofficially to 11th in the finishing order.

Owen Kelly, who is driving his second season for JR Motorsports had a great start to the season with a finish of seventh.  While the Rookie of the Race honors seem to belong to McGregor two other rookies had impressive runs in the season opening event with John King and Matthew Godley finishing inside the top ten. Clay Greenfield and Alex Yontz also had great runs in the UARA 100, but both drivers ended up cutting tires and not getting the finish they may have deserved.

There was just so much to talk about in this race, but one thing we hadn’t mentioned was a huge crash early in the race that eliminated a handful of contenders including Coleman Pressley and Andy Loden. The crash started with Scott Turlington having engine troubles and trying to get out of the way when he was struck by Rob Fuller and that got the field all crunched up. Behind those two Loden and Pressley, who both had to start in the rear due to changes after qualifying, got tangled up and with those four cars getting together the melee was on.

Kyle Moon and John Stancill were also involved in the crash ending Moon’s night early and ending any chance that Stancill had at a top ten run. Turlington seemed to get the worst of the wreck first being hit by Fuller and tagging the outside wall hard with the right front and then twisting around and slamming into the sand barrels at the end of the back stretch pit road. His car looked terrible and after the race Turlington said he was feeling that rough wreck.

Also getting a lot of damage in the crash was Pressley who got caught in between all the cars in the crash and got it from all sides, the damaged ended his night early while Loden was able to continue. Michael Rouse and Brad Queen both received significant damage from this crash.

Lee Tissot, who drove the same car as Cale Yarborough did in the Saturday Night Special race after crashing his own car in practice on Thursday and taking a provisional to get into the race, finished 13th. Joey Bryant also had to loan out his own car to one of the drivers in the Saturday Night Special, but also grabbed a great finish with a 16th place effort despite not having but five laps of practice on Thursday and originally not qualifying for the race. One driver who had a tough weekend was Clint Mills, who’s car was nearly destroyed by NHRA star, Doug Herbert in a single car crash in practice. Mills did start the UARA race in Jimmy Spencer’s car.

McCall drove his Pistone LTO chassis powered by a Long Brothers racing engine to the biggest win of his career and his seventh career UARA-STARS victory.  McCall was the class of the field and deserved to triumph in front of a large crowd at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Brandon McReynolds, two drivers expected to compete for the championship this season got off to a rocky start with engine woes seeming to continue for McReynolds and Wallace cut a tire down and had further mechanical problems.  Wallace finished 27th whie McReynolds was able to muster a 21st place finish after making many pit stops.

We’ll have more on the goings on at Bristol Motor Speedway over the next week as we begin to take a more in-depth look at the UARA 100 and the problems experienced by each driver and we certianly can’t say enough about the dominating performance of Matt McCall.