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Nasse and Lemons take CARS Tour wins at Orange County

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ROUGEMONT, NC (July 31, 2016) -- Despite pesky thunderstorms that pushed the racing program into the early morning hours, Stephen Nasse and Tommy Lemons captured their respective halves of Saturday night's CARS Tour Summertime Showdown 250 presented by The Grilling Store at Orange County Speedway. Though both races ended nearly identically, with a pair of drivers jousting in the final laps for the win, the two races could not have been more different.




For the first time in his career, Stephen Nasse took the pole during Mahle Pistons Pole Qualifying and led the field to green for the opening race of the night. Defending event winner Brandon Setzer started alongside and was Nasse's first challenger for the point in the opening laps.


Just 14 laps into the event, one of the most incredible crashes in CARS Tour history occurred when Tate Fogleman and Tyler Church made contact exiting turn four. The encounter sent Fogleman's No. 8 machine into the turn four wall at a sharp angle, launching the car airborne and back into traffic where Preston Peltier was collected. Quin Houff, Tanner Berryhill, Jeff Batten and Wade Day also were swept up into the accident and piled into the Fogleman car after it had initially stopped. All drivers were able to walk away from the accident.


A rash of mid-race yellow flags, three of which involved previous event winner Matt Craig, set the stage for a 47-lap dash to the checkered flag between Stephen Nasse and Dalton Sargeant, who had run the ARCA race at Pocono Raceway the previous day and also finished third at Orange County during the tour's last visit in April.


Despite numerous attempts to move Nasse or otherwise bypass him for the top spot, Sargeant was unable to find a way around the DLP Motorsports No. 51. Aggressive driving and substantial contact over the final two laps were Sargeant's last-ditch effort but Nasse kept his car under control and beat Sargeant to the checkered flag by .239 second. CARS Tour debut driver Tanner Thorson finished third, followed by Lucas Jones and Trevor Noles.


"Man, what a feeling, what a feeling!," exclaimed Nasse in victory lane. "DLP Motorsports and all the guys this weekend, everyone who puts their hands in, I couldn't do it without them. I was just hoping every lap that went by where [sargeant] kept trying to get to my inside that, please, let this kid wear out his stuff. I know these boys, they're in way better shape than I am. 250 pounds out here in this heat during a long race takes a toll on your body. But I knew Dalton was in good shape and I was hoping he would just wear his car out a little bit because I knew mine wasn't going away and I wouldn't have an excuse at the end of the race if I let him get by me.


"I tell you what, this is one of the toughest series I go to -- I don't even go to any others anymore," he added when asked about the sweetness of the victory. "This is it, right here. CARS Tour or nothing. They've got the best competition in the country and I'm staying with 'em."




Stäubli Hometown Hero Chris Denny led the late model stock field to the green flag from the Hedgecock Racing Pole in his second career start with the tour, but outside front row starter Stefan Parsons won the first lap, leading the first laps of his CARS Tour career. Ten laps into the event, Denny and Parsons made contact in turn two while racing for the lead, cutting Denny's tire and sending him into the concrete to bring out the first caution of the evening on lap 10.


Point leader Deac McCaskill wrestled the lead away from Parsons on the ensuing restart, but by lap 25 Parsons was once again in command of the event, at times stretching his lead to over a straightaway on the field.


The most controversial incident of the evening took place on lap 43. Chase Purdy and Ryan Wilson, after battling for most of the race, made contact on the backstretch, sending Wilson's car into the outside wall where he collected Craig Stallard in the aftermath. Though both drivers were able to climb from their mangled machines, the incident did not end there for Wilson. After exiting his car, Wilson proceeded to confront Purdy on-track during the caution flag, landing punches through the window of Purdy's car before walking away under the quick escort of CARS Tour officials.


Parsons once again jumped out to the lead following the restart and began to distance himself from the field until misfortune struck the Phoenix Construction Ford. As the alternator on his car began to fail, Parsons' car started losing power, allowing most recent tour winner Tommy Lemons to inherit the top spot on lap 59.


Lemons appeared to be en route to an easy victory until Deac McCaskill reeled in Lemons from nearly a straightaway back over the final laps. McCaskill attempted to bypass Lemons high and low over last three circuits, even making contact with the No. 27 on more than one occasion. But Lemons held off McCaskill's advances and cruised underneath the checkered flag to claim his second consecutive CARS Late Model Stock Tour win after winning last month in Greenville, SC. McCaskill, Christian Eckes, Layne Riggs and Craig Moore rounded out the top five.


"I knew once I got to the lead, I had to get away as much as I could because my car was a little too loose and I felt like the longer we ran, the worse it would get," Lemons explained in victory lane. "I felt like Deac would come back up to us, and he did. That's the hardest we've run all year long. It felt like we ran 100 qualifying laps. This place beats on you pretty good, but this is just awesome.


"We worked our butts off after we fought the car yesterday and never really were happy with it. We made some adjustments overnight and it was the right way to go. We just needed to be a little bit better. You can't ever let your guard down when you come to these events and we'll work just as hard going into Concord."


Due to a nearly two-hour rain delay and an extended super late model feature, the late model stock contest was shortened to 100 laps in order to meet a "courtesy curfew" of midnight the track attempts to keep for all events.




Tanner Thorson's CARS Tour debut was only his second career asphalt stock car race. Thorson is a graduate of the Keith Kunz Motorsports USAC dirt midget program, the same program that produced multi-time CARS Tour winner and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series star Christopher Bell. He started the night 11th and climbed to third, a gain of eight spots during the night. He was driving a David Gilliland Racing prepared Toyota Camry.

A handful of drivers captured their career best CARS Tour finishes in addition to Thorson who set the bar high in his first start. Lucas Jones (SLM - 4th), AJ Frank (SLM - 6th), Christian Eckes (LMSC - 3rd), Layne Riggs (LMSC - 4th) and Craig Moore (LMSC - 5th) were among those who set personal bests during the time racing with the CARS Tour.
SLM point leader Raphael Lessard succumbed to a bent rear end during the middle portions of the race. But with attrition, what appeared to be a night where he would lose his points lead turned into a satisfactory performance, finishing 11th where his closest point pursuer, Brandon Setzer, was only able to finish 7th. Quin Houff and Cole Timm both crashed out before halfway. Lessard spent nearly a dozen laps in the pits making repairs to finish the event and received a few "free passes" to gain some laps back by the finish because of mid-race caution flags.

The defending Orange County Speedway track champion, Craig Moore, was making his first start in a late model stock car after capturing the track title one year ago. Moore was recently diagnosed with cancer and after completing treatments, Saturday's event was his first time back behind the wheel of a racecar. Before ever firing his engine for the event, he considered the day a win, saying "I'm just happy to be here and be healthy enough to race." He spun while inside the top five early, narrowly avoiding contact from others, and then clawed his way from the tail to a top-five finish.




CARS Super Late Model Tour powered by VP Fuels
Summertime Showdown 250
Orange County Speedway - July 30, 2016

1. 51 Stephen Nasse 125
2. 55 Dalton Sargeant 125
3. 97T Tanner Thorson 125
4. 16 Lucas Jones 125
5. 22 Trevor Noles 125
6. 15F AJ Frank 125
7. 6 Brandon Setzer 125
8. 58 Tyler Ankrum 125
9. 98M Jody Measmer 125
10. 29 Spencer Davis 125
11. 99 Raphael Lessard 115
12. 26 Chandler Smith 78 Accident
13. 54 Matt Craig 78 Accident
14. 67 Clay Jones 76 Accident
15. 57 Cole Timm 57 Accident
16. 16M Vinnie Miller 57 Mechanical
17. 7 Tyler Church 34 Mechanical
18. 8 Tate Fogleman 14 Accident
19. 33 Preston Peltier 14 Accident
20. 17B Tanner Berryhill 14 Accident
21. 17 Quin Houff 14 Accident
22. 96 Wade Day 14 Accident
23. 49 Jeff Batten 14 Accident


CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Summertime Showdown 250
Orange County Speedway - July 30, 2016

1. 27 Tommy Lemons, Jr. 100
2. 08 Deac McCaskill 100
3. 1 Christian Eckes 100
4. 99 Layne Riggs 100
5. 1M Craig Moore 100
6. 12M Austin McDaniel 100
7. 41 Chase Purdy 100
8. 88B Scott Bishop 100
9. 88 Chris Davis 100
10. 28 Chris Hudspeth 100
11. 31 Thomas Beane 100
12. 74 Ronald Hill 99
13. 16S RD Smith 96 Mechanical
14. 7 Justin Crider 96
15. 98 Stefan Parsons 68 Alternator
16. 12 Ryan Wilson 43 Accident
17. 42 Craig Stallard 43 Accident
18. 2D Chris Denny 10 Accidento

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