WOODFORD, VA (March 25, 2017) — Brandon Grosso claimed his first Hedgecock Racing Pole Award during pole qualifying, accounting for all laps turned, but lined up deep in the field during the first duel race as his first qualifying lap (used to set race one) was not nearly as quick. Grosso’s teammate, Myatt Snider, and Josh Berry led the field to green and it was Snider who controlled the opening laps.
As the race quickly churned toward the end of its 75-lap distance, Jeff Oakley made his presence felt and ended up stealing the lead from Myatt Snider on a late race restart. Snider and Berry made contact just a few laps later which resulted in the No. 88 spinning, a move which race control deemed over-aggressive on the part of Snider and accordingly sent both cars to the tail.
On the ensuing restart, Jeff Oakley bobbled in turn one, setting up a free-for-all as the field raced into turn three. Layne Riggs was able to sneak underneath of Oakley for the lead in turn three, but Deac McCaskill also made his way around the No. 11 of Oakley. On the final lap, McCaskill got his nose underneath of Riggs entering turn three for the lead. The two made minor contact and raced door-to-door to the checkered flag with Riggs claiming the win by a .041-second margin.
“I didn’t know if I could hold Deac off, but I know I slipped up on the last lap and I know I had a really good car and I have to thank all the guys on my team and all my sponsors,” Riggs said in Edelbrock Victory Lane after the first duel. “We weren’t really sure about it in the beginning, but I kept running and being consistent. I’m just so glad I finally got my first CARS Tour win. I was trying to save my tires, so hopefully we can win again in the next race from sixth. We were pretty loose in the beginning, and it kept getting tighter and tighter and it was about right in the end. But I just got lucky, mainly.”
In the second duel event for the late model stocks, Jeff Oakley started on the front row and quickly jumped out to a dominant lead for 74.5 of the 75 laps. A caution for the spinning car of Craig Stallard came out during the final lap before the leader had taken the checkered flag, calling for a green-white-checker restart according to the CARS Tour rulebook.
Oakley once again faltered on the late race restart, allowing Jared Fryar to pilot his No. 81F to the outside and snatch the lead at the conclusion of lap 75 as the field took the white flag. Fryar then slipped on the exit of two, allowing Oakley past, but Fryar laid the bumper to Oakley in turn three coming to the checkers. The orange car of Oakley was jacked sideways, slid up the banking and opened the door for Fryar, but Oakley held on for his first career CARS Tour win by a scant .074-second margin of victory.
“My wife is at home very sick, and I’m sure she would like to be here, but it sure does feel good to come here against some of the best drivers in the southeast and be competitive, and then be able to win one,” Oakley said after exiting the car in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “That first one was awful tough, but those guys were racing hard. You can’t blame them, they were going for the win, just like the 81 car [Fryar] was there at the end. I don’t know what it looked like for y’all, but it was a lot of fun for me. That caution at the end was not what I wanted to see.
“This crew has given me a fabulous car and we got QDMA on board this year, the title sponsor of the race,” he continued. “We tested a lot to get this car to work, and we’re very pleased. I just have to thank God for the opportunity to be here.”
Riggs emerged unofficially as the points leader after two events and three races as Concord winner Josh Berry had problems during both races and ended with finishes near the bottom of the running order. Official finishing orders and point tallies are generally released by CARS on Tuesdays.