By Adam Smith, Times-News
ALTAMAHAW — Justin Carroll had enough to gain the lead across the long haul, and then plenty left to sustain it on a shorter run to the checkered flag.
That added up to what felt like the contents of a complete victory Friday night for the Concord driver, who captured the 100-lap Late Models feature at Ace Speedway, after outdueling runner-up Ryan Millington on a decisive restart and pulling away to safety.
“It’s an absolutely great feeling to finally put everything together and have a solid race like that,” Carroll said. “I thought Ryan might get us there on that restart.”
Statesville’s Millington, the 17-year-old who triumphed in Ace’s season-opening main event, used the outside line and nosed his No. 15 car ahead of Carroll’s No. 57 on a double-file restart with 21 laps remaining, before Carroll reclaimed the lead and began to assert control.
Carroll led 52 of the final 53 laps. He won the prestigious Rodney Cook Classic here in October, and placed second to Millington in last month’s season opener.
“I knew we had a really good car, so I was pacing myself out front,” Carroll said. “I knew we still had some left, it just didn’t fire off as well as I had hoped on that restart there. But luckily after a couple of laps it came back around and we were able to drive away.”
Behind Millington, former track champions occupied the rest of the top-five finishers.
Reidsville’s Jason York came in third. He led for 42 laps during an extended, mostly single-file period that was interrupted by only one caution flag, until Carroll, climbing from fifth position, tracked him down just shy of the race’s halfway point.
McLeansville’s Dustin Rumley placed fourth and Burlington’s R.D. Smith took fifth among the 13-car field, which included several drivers, such as rising star teenagers Taylor Gray and Layne Riggs, who competed in preparation for next weekend’s CARS Tour series stop at Ace.
Earlier in the night, Millington’s ultra-quick lap of 15.312 seconds made for an eye-catching moment during qualifying. By the end, as Carroll climbed out and celebrated his victory, Millington learned from a crew member that his car’s right-front tire had lost a substantial amount of air.
“That explains it,” Millington said, referring to his second-place finish after challenging Carroll. “After that yellow (flag) came out, I said to everybody on the radio, ‘It just got tight.’ I turned my right-front brake fan on trying to make it turn better, but I guess I must’ve ran over something under the yellow and it just got that tire low.”
■ In the 50-lap Limited Late Models race, Gary Young Jr. put dominance on display, before handling a late test from runner-up David Latour Jr. to cement victory.
Burlington’s Young, the reigning champion in Ace’s Modifieds division, secured his second career Limited Late Models win here. He led from start to finish, building a commanding lead at one juncture that saw his No. 45 car lapping others at the rear of the field multiple times.
Latour Jr. of Advance chose the outside line on a double-file restart with nine laps remaining and made Young earn it during the ending stages of the event. Snow Camp’s Heath Causey came in third among the eight-car field.
■ In the 40-lap Modifieds race, Gary Causey picked up his second victory in as many events this season, while leading all but the first lap.
Snow Camp’s Causey benefitted from John Barilka’s smoky slide from second position to sixth with about five laps remaining. Barilka’s No. 17 car, which started ninth among the 10-car field, had been charging prior to that pitfall.
York finished second and Pfafftown’s Randy Butner placed third.
■ In the 30-lap Mini Stocks race, A.J. Sanders scored his first victory of the season by holding off runner-up Chuck Wall during the six-lap segment that closed the event.
Mocksville’s Sanders, the three-time division champion, led from wire to wire and looked poised to post a runaway, before Jeremy Seeley’s No. 30 car went up in smoke and a caution flag bunched the 10-car field again.
Burlington’s Mark Wilburn finished third after overcoming a spin on the first restart to the 24th lap. On the second such restart, the No. 18 car of Winston-Salem’s Wall mounted a charge as Sanders’ No. 24 car proved up to the task.
■ Friday night’s other winners at Ace were Burlington’s Keith Brame Jr. (20-lap Xtremes) and Jim Grady Jr. of Goochland, Va. (35-lap Mini Cups).
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Here are the results from Friday night’s events at Ace Speedway
Late Models (100 laps): Justin Carroll, Ryan Millington, Jason York, Dustin Rumley, R.D. Smith, Justin Hicks, John Moore, Bob Seville, Dean Fogleman, Taylor Gray, Leland Honeyman Jr., Layne Riggs, Trevor Ward.
Limited Late Models (50 laps): Gary Young Jr., David Latour Jr., Heath Causey, Penn Crim, Christopher Martin, Colby Fogleman, Calvin Meadows, Chase Murphy.
Modifieds (40 laps): Gary Causey, Jason York, Randy Butner, Mike Norman, Roy Cook, John Barilka, Gary Young Jr., Ronnie Austin, Hunter Causey, Brad Allen.
Mini Stocks (30 laps): A.J. Sanders, Chuck Wall, Mark Wilburn, Michael Tucker, Chad Sykes, Mike Herron, Jason Joiner, Matt Alley, Jamie Orange, Jeremy Seeley.
Xtremes (20 laps): Keith Brame Jr., John Lawrence, Brian Hatch.
Mini Cups (35 laps): Jim Grady Jr., Johnny Shonk, Bubba Henley, Shane Zupo, Tyler Warriner.
Late Models qualifying: Ryan Millington 15.312, Jason York 15.536, Layne Riggs 15.540, Justin Carroll 15.550, R.D. Smith 15.596, Taylor Gray 15.679, Dustin Rumley 15.707, Justin Hicks 15.759, Trevor Ward 15.779, John Moore 15.825, Bob Seville 16.003, Leland Honeyman Jr. 16.038, Dean Fogleman 16.209.
Modifieds qualifying: Mike Norman 16.078, Jason York 16.199, Randy Butner 16.223, Gary Causey 16.326, Hunter Causey 16.343, Roy Cook 16.388, Gary Young Jr. 16.542, Brad Allen 16.836, John Barilka 18.181.
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