ALTAMAHAW, N.C. – Though Layne Riggs was challenged briefly during Friday night’s CARS Late Model Stock Tour event at Ace Speedway, his victory in the Race at Ace 125 was never really in doubt.
Riggs fended off two-time series champion Bobby McCarty on a multitude of restarts at the four-tenths-mile paved oval en route to his first Ace Speedway triumph. The win came in dominant fashion, too.
Though McCarty edged ahead of Riggs for a moment on a lap-89 restart, Riggs was never rattled and ultimately led 124 of 125 laps for his sixth CARS Late Model Stock Tour win in his 55th series start.
Ace marked the sixth different venue that Riggs has won at in CARS Tour competition.
Friday’s win marked Riggs’ first victory this year and catapulted him back into championship contention after four of 14 scheduled races.
“This is just a testament to all my guys, man. Dad and everybody who works back at home make this a great car every weekend,” Riggs said in victory lane. “We fight hard every race, and sometimes we don’t have the best weekends every weekend, but we do the best we can with what we’ve got. Tonight is was enough to get us here in victory lane.
“Thanks to Bobby for racing me clean. We put on a really good race right there and I hope all the fans enjoyed it,” Riggs added. “I know that me and Bobby are considered some of the best today at Ace Speedway … and I feel like I dethroned Mr. Ace Speedway tonight, so I’m really proud of this team.”
Though a slightly thinner 19-car field took the green flag at Ace, it didn’t prevent a spate of issues that led to nine total caution flags and several grinding crashes that shook up the point standings.
The two biggest incidents were on lap 46, when Sam Yarbrough’s wheel climbed the driver’s side of Daniel Silvestri’s car after they both crashed in turn three, and on lap 88 when a five-car melee eliminated veterans Deac McCaskill and Trevor Ward and damaged the cars of Sam Butler and others.
McCaskill, who entered the night one point behind McCarty for the championship lead, failed to finish and was scored 14th in the final rundown.
After starting from the pole, McCarty chased Riggs all the way to the finish during a 37-lap green-flag run that closed the event but fell .907 seconds short at the checkered flag.
“We put on a show for everybody,” McCarty said as he congratulated Riggs in victory lane. “I can’t believe I hung on the outside as long as I was able to.”
Justin Johnson filled out the podium, followed by defending series champion Jared Fryar in fourth.
After a slew of bad luck in the first three races of the year, 15-year-old Jonathan Shafer posted his best run of the CARS Tour season with a fifth-place finish. Butler rallied to sixth, with Kaden Honeycutt, Brandon Pierce, Joe Valento and Jonathan Findley closing the top 10.
The 125-lap event took one hour, 23 minutes and 39 seconds to run from start to finish.
CARS Late Model Stock Tour teams will return to action May 22 at Caraway Speedway for the running of the Lightning Saunders Memorial 125. It will mark the CARS Tour debut at the Asheboro, N.C., facility.
1. 99-Layne Riggs, 2. 22-Bobby McCarty, 3. 44-Justin Johnson, 4. 14-Jared Fryar, 5. 91-Jonathan Shafer, 6. 81b-Sam Butler, 7. 4h-Kaden Honeycutt, 8. 2-Brandon Pierce, 9. 17-Joe Valento, 10. 4-Jonathan Findley, 11. 95-Sam Yarbrough, 12. 7-Dylan Ward, 13. 97-Daniel Silvestri, 14. 08-Deac McCaskill, 15. 77-Trevor Ward, 16. 24-Mason Diaz, 17. 14j-Conner Jones, 18. 88-William Cox III, 19. 81-Mini Tyrrell.