Caudill passes Crum for Hickory win
June 15, 2008
By Tim Southers - Photo by Langley Austin
NEWTON – In almost every racing series in America it seems the prevailing thought is that youth is king. Although a pair of youngsters appeared to be the cars to beat Jamey Caudill proved that an “old” driver can still get it done too.
It appeared that youth was going to prevail in the UARA Stars Bad Boy Mowers 150 Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway as a pair of teenagers battled for the lead, but in the end it was the veteran who was able to take his car to victory lane.
Caudill was able to get past Jake Crum with four laps remaining in the race to get his first win of the year.
“I could tell Jake (Crum) was a little tight there at the end getting his car to turn and that is when I knew I might have a chance to get by him,” said Caudill. “It was a good night for everyone from JR Motorsports and I appreciate everybody sticking with me.”
Caudill, who drives out of the Dale Earnhardt, Jr.-owned JR Motorsports stable, also proved that sometimes patience and experience can pay off in the end. The 38-year old driver also gave Earnhardt's team a reason to celebrate for the second weekend in a row. Earnhardt's NASCAR Nationwide Series team won a race the weekend before.
After allowing teenagers Crum and Matt DiBenedetto battle for the lead for most of the race, Caudill waited until the time was right and he made the pass by Crum with five laps remaining to win his first race of the season and series leading 10 th of his career.
Caudill ran in the top three the entire race and appeared to be the third-place car before Crum and DiBenedetto made contact on the backstretch on lap 130 sending DiBenedetto into the outside wall. DiBenedetto suffered mechanical problems three laps later ending his bid for the win at his home track and setting up the final restart that allowed Caudill to make his move.
B.J. Mackey was also able to get by Crum for a second place finish while Crum finished third and Hickory Motor Speedway regular Kyle Grissom finished fourth. Richard Boswell, II advanced from a provisional starting position to come home fifth joining his JR Motorsports teammate with a top-five finish.
It appeared that Crum was going to get his second consecutive win in the series as he led the first 145 laps of the race.
“It was my fault there at the end,” said Crum. “My tires were cold (on the last restart) and I got up a little too high and Jamey was able to get down there and make the pass.”
DiBenedetto went from a possible race win to a 17 th -place finish and was still upset after the race after his incident with Crum late in the race.
“My car was really good, especially on the long runs,” said DiBenedetto. “I raced him clean on the outside and inside and he was blocking the crap out of me and when I got on the outside of him he stuffed me in the wall.”
Former HMS regular Jamie Yelton finished sixth with Roger Lee Newton seventh. Duncan Molesworth followed in eighth and Andrew Carlsen finished ninth to win rookie of the race honors. Paddy Rodenbeck completed the top 10.
For Boswell his fifth-place finish almost felt as good as a win as he and teammate Curtis Truex, Jr. both had to start in the rear of the field after experiencing problems in qualifying.
“We weren't any good off the trailer and we made changes after the first practice and got worse and then we made changes after the second practice and it wasn't any better,” said Boswell. “Then we decided to make a third round of changes and still were way off. We just kept working on the car and we finally were able to get trough some of the accidents and come home with a top-five. It was a good night for JR Motorsports.”
The race was slowed by seven cautions and two red flags with a seven-car incident on lap 29 taking out several of the front running cars. The melee seemed to start after Clay Greenfield suffered mechanical problems which laid down a lot of fluid on the back stretch sending several cars into a spin. The result blocked the track and collected seven cars. Among those collected were Alex Yontz, Travis Swaim, David Latour, Jr., Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Ross Furr.
Bad Boy Mowers Notebook
IMPRESSIVE CAR COUNT: Despite having less than 30 cars on the pre-entry list, a total of 35 UARA-Stars competitors attempted to make the 28-car field.
HEAT RACE FINAL LAP CRASH: A three-car accident occurred on the final lap of the qualifying heat race that sent all three cars hard into the turn one wall at Hickory Motor Speedway. Brad Sams, Bryan Dauzat and Dillon Smith all made contact with one another racing for the final transfer spot in the race ending any chance for all three to make the feature.
CARLSEN TOP ROOKIE: Andrew Carlsen finished ninth to win rookie of the race honors.
LEGEND WATCHES RACE: NASCAR racing legend and nearby Taylorsville resident Harry Gant was seen at the track watching the UARA-Stars race Saturday night. Gant competed at Hickory on a regular basis before launching his NASCAR Cup career.
TAKE A BOW FANS: The determined race fans at Hickory Motor Speedway deserve to take a bow as they sat through three rain delays that totaled over four hours throughout the night before the race finally got underway after 11 p.m. The original start time was 7 p.m.
ROSS TAKES LEGENDS RACE: Steven Ross outlasted Daniel Hemric to win the 20-lap INEX Legends race. Kyle Beattie scored a podium finish in third
For more information, log on to www.hickorymotorspeedway.com