Carroll claims Late Models feature at Ace Speedway
By Jerome Richard / Times-News correspondent
Originally Posted Posted Oct 14, 2018 at 10:23 PM
ALTAMAHAW — Justin Carroll’s victory in the Late Models race in the fifth annual Rodney Cook Classic at Ace Speedway was significant to him on several levels.
The Concord driver shared an emotional embrace with his father and was even more demonstrative when dedicating the victory to his grandfather.
“This is awesome,” he said. “I want to dedicate this to my grandpa.”
His grandfather Tom Carroll is in intensive care with heart problems in an Albemarle hospital.
“To win the Rodney Cook Classic here at Ace Speedway is truly awesome,” Carroll said. “I never personally raced against Rodney, but I know of what he accomplished. It’s just awesome to win this event.”
Carroll took on all comers and dispatched each with his rocket ship of a car, especially at the end, when he easily pulled away to claim the $10,000 first-place prize.
Justin Hicks claimed second place, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and Trevor Ward was third.
Carroll and Ward played cat-and-mouse for most of the race, but Ward could never overtake Carroll.
“I just couldn’t pull away from him,” Carroll said. “I was the happiest when he wasn’t behind me.”
Ward fell behind in last few laps as his car lost a little bit of drive.
“Maybe I pushed the car too hard,” he said. “We were consistently running the same times as Justin. I put pressure on him, but couldn’t close.”
Hicks wasn’t a fact in the race until after the 10-minute break at the 100-lap mark of the 140-lap event.
“We worked all week for the long run,” he said. “We didn’t have the best qualifying time (10th with a provisional that dropped him to 11th). At 40 laps to go I pulled the seat belts tight and raced as hard as a I could.”
One by one competitors fell to the wayside in their attempt to overtake Carroll. First it was R.D. Smith, then pole-sitter Peyton Sellers followed by Ward and finally Hicks.
There was full slate of racing at Ace Speedway culminated Sunday after a one-day delay due to a power outage caused storms churned out from Hurricane Michael.
“This was a hard two days with the bad weather and the power outage,” Carroll said.
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