LUCAMA, N.C. – Matt McCall raced his way from the rear of the field to the lead in the final half of the Solid Rock Carriers Thanksgiving Classic, passing Deac McCaskill late and holding the four-time champion off to score the victory at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina on Sunday night.
McCaskill had spent much of the first half of the race inside the top-five but was involved in a caution when a few lapped cars tangled in front of him. McCall ended up spinning as well, off the front bumper of Bobby McCarty. Then, because he was involved in the caution, he was sent to the rear.
“They paid money at lap 100 and I got a little greedy trying to get that money and it put me in a bad spot, however you want to call it,” McCall said. “Fortunately, I knew there were enough laps to fight it and get our position, but we were unable to. Just trying to pick them off and save a little bit, but there wasn’t much saving there for that last whole run.”
McCall answered the challenge, roaring back to the front and rocketing past the leaders late – ultimately making the winning pass with three laps to go and edging McCaskill at the line.
“Fortunately, it went green,” McCall continued. “The guys giving the outside was a huge advantage to me. Also, I got to practice about six or seven restarts on the outside so that helps too. All in all, a lot of fun. Wendell Davis obviously prepared a car again that sits in the shop and waits for me to drive it and I can’t thank him enough.”
McCall and McCaskill, both veterans in the Late Model Stock Car discipline, raced each other clean in the closing laps. McCall brushed the wall trying to hold off McCaskill on the final lap but was able to hang on for the win.
“That’s how Deac races, you know what I mean, he always does,” McCall said when talking about McCaskill racing him clean. “He even raced me clean when I really piledrived the fence on the backstretch. I got loose off turn two and I’m like there’s no reason to lift because it’s going to get ugly, so I just drove it in the fence and it was enough to get through three and four and get the checkered.”
McCall’s charge through the field was an inspired drive. At times, he was two-tenths of a second faster than the rest of the field. McCall spoke about driving through the field, stating he had only one goal at the Thanksgiving Classic – winning.
“Win, win, win, win, that’s the mentality,” McCall stated. “It doesn’t matter if I only race once a year, I’m still coming to win. That was the whole objective. It’s fun, especially when you don’t get to race much and I’m trying to keep a streak of winning a race a year for a long time so that’s really when I show back up one time, try to keep that streak going because it’s my only opportunity to do that.”
McCall is a crew chief for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, currently on the No. 1 car piloted by Jamie McMurray, although various reports from NASCAR media outlets have stated 2004 NASCAR champion Kurt Busch could take over the driving duties in car No. 1. McCall said he “doesn’t know anything about that.”
Deac McCaskill had to settle for second. After the race, he spoke about his runner-up finish.
“We got the four tires, and we just rode man,” McCaskill said. “I rode, and I rode, and I rode. These guys are smart racers man. Matt McCall, Bobby McCarty, Philip Morris, and Bradley, they know what to do man. When you’re leading like that, you got to set a pace and you can’t go too fast. So, I just sat there and rode and rode. I know what kind of times I run, and after every caution, my car was just flawless. We got that big lead, and they kept telling me Matt was up to third, up to second, then it was just time to go. I took off, and he took off, and the lapped cars hurt me a little bit, but that’s just racing man, and there wasn’t anything I could do. I tried to get around them as quick as I could, and I slipped a few times, and Matt was able to capitalize on it.”
While McCaskill was proud of the effort he and his team put forth in Southern National’s biggest race, he was disappointed to come up just short.
“I just had one little wiggle off (turn) 4 and he got his nose underneath me, and there was nothing I could do,” McCaskill explained. “He got by me, and he got into the wall on the backstretch, and I had another great run on him. I was already committed to the high side, and it was just over from then. I have to sit on this all winter being that close to $20,000, but it was still a great run man. We got the pole, and we got the halfway (bonus). It was still a great night for us. I’m really proud of my team, but I don’t know what to say, man.”
McCaskill last won the race in 2006. His younger cousin, Bradley, finished in third while McCarty came home fourth and Layne Riggs finished in fifth.
Adam Murray picked up the win in the Limited Late Model race on Sunday afternoon over Andrew Grady, with Brandon Clements in third, Clay Jones in fourth and Brian Obiedzenski in fifth.
Jonathan Kornegay won the Charger feature over Jeremy Bohne and Michael O’Brien.
Other Thanksgiving Classic winners included Alek Andrecs (Bandoleros – Friday and Sunday), Jeremy Bohne (Charger – Friday), Karl Budzevski (Limited Late Model – Friday), Dennis Capps (Mod-4), Gary Ledbetter, Jr. (Street Stock), Jason Stephenson (U-CAR), Zack Miller (Legends), Jimmy Humblet (Modifieds), Ronnie “Buckshot” Jones (Mini-Stock), and E.J. Kenny (Any Car).
For more information on Southern National Motorsports Park, visit SNMPark.com.
Southern National Motorsports Park – Lucama, NC
Thanksgiving Classic – November 25, 2018
1. Matt McCall
2. Deac McCaskill
3. Bradley McCaskill
4. Bobby McCarty
5. Layne Riggs
6. Brandon Pierce
7. Philip Morris
8. Stacy Puryear
9. Tyler Matthews
10. Brenden Queen
11. Taylor Gray
12. Drew Dollar
13. Justin Johnson
14. Mike Darne
15. Cliff Daniels
16. Colin Garrett
17. Tyler Hughes
18. Mark Wertz
19. Mike Ganoe
20. Casey Wyatt
21. Dennis Holdren
22. Chris Johnson
23. Davin Scites
24. Thomas Burbage
25. Robbie Babb
26. Ryan Wilson
27. Jonathan Findley
28. Mini Tyrrell
29. Cameron Bowen
30. Camden Gullie
31. Terry Dease
32. Terry Brooks, Jr.