NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Riggs Notches Truck Top 10, Another Late Model Win in Impressive Weekend
Aug 1, 2022
Ryan Newman has driven by Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway for over two decades but never imagined actually having the chance to race on it. On Tuesday night, he drove a Tour Type Modified owned by Hermie Sadler to Victory Lane.
To be more literal, he rode to Victory Lane.
That’s because the debut Racetrack Revival event was able to operate the iconic lift that transports the winner from the infield to the rooftop Victory Lane. There, he was greeted by a large crowd that included Dale Earnhardt Jr., Marcus Smith of Speedway Motorsports and promoter Barry Braun of XR Events.
It was a celebration that Newman dedicated to the Parsons family who had never stopped believing that the legendary short track could still host marquee racing events.
"This is really special," Newman said. "I drove by this place for years watching the trees grow up. I didn't know if it would ever be open again. It's a special place. It holds so much history with NASCAR and the Cup Series.
"I dedicated the win to the Parsons family because it meant so much to Benny Parsons to get this place back, to try to get this place back open. It means so much to Terri Parsons and when it's from someone who has become family to you, it becomes personal to you too. To be a part of this, with all the sponsors and people that made it happen, it's a special feeling."
The extremely abrasive surface at North Wilkesboro produced a de facto pack race with everyone racing two-by-two in the pursuit of making their tires last through lap 50. The exception was Spencer Davis, who was penalized for pouring ice water on their right rear after time trials, a misunderstanding from NASCAR rules to what is allowed in the SMART Tour.
The Uncatchable Moonshine 50 was contested under SMART rules.
As a result of the penalty, Davis had to immediately drive through the 33-car field but was leading by Lap 8. He led the most laps until he was overtaken by Ryan Preece on lap 35. But Preece couldn’t hold it and was back to fourth two laps later.
Davis would again hold the lead through Lap 44 when he was passed by Newman, who would lead the final six laps to score the first win at North Wilkesboro in a decade.
"I let the rabbits do their thing and I had no idea it would be that slow to start," Newman said. "It worked, so it paid off, I guess. But I’ve never seen that slow a pace for a race with so few laps in my career.
"We had that caution and red flag and coming out of that, everyone hit the green light switch. I was using Hirschman as a gauge because he’s so good in these Modifieds. When he started coming, it was time to go, he got ahead of me, so I had to get him back. He’s a hard guy to pass but I’d rather pass the hard guy to pass when I’m usually the hard guy to pass."
Davis chalked up his penalty to a misunderstanding and wished he had been a little more aggressive working lapped traffic.
"We got to the lead and was just playing the game with Preece and Newman," Davis said. "I thought we had it figured out. I grabbed the lead when I wanted to and some lapped cars happened. Four wide in front of me and I was scared to get blasted because we were all out of tires.
"If Newman would have touched me, which you're supposed to do, I would have just slid up the track anyway. I hate it, falling back to third, got a run to get back by the 60 car so any time you can beat Hirschman, it's really cool."
As for Hirschman, the driver of the PeeDee Motorsports No. 60 ultimately wasn’t sure what pace to set in his first race in the foothills of the North Carolina High Country.
"It was always going to be tough tonight because no one had anything to go by," Hirschman said. "Now, tomorrow, everyone will have an opportunity to improve themselves. We redrew eighth and I thought that would be a blessing, but in hindsight, it hurt us because I was boxed in at times and couldn’t use the whole track.
"That hurt a little bit but overall, no excuses at the end because we weren’t just good enough."
Preece, who led a handful of laps said he’s got some work to do on these super abrasive southern short tracks after finishing fourth.
"I mean, I was saving the whole race," Preece said. "It was time to go, I don’t know, thought we saved enough but we need to go to work. We got to even out the rear tires a little better. This place is fun but this style of racing is so different than what we’re used to.
"I’m sure dirt racers get to go to different parts of the country and some of those tracks hold moisture better than others. Similar, any time you come south, the asphalt, whatever they put in the pavement rips tires apart.
"What I do up north works really well up there but when I bring it down here, I can’t get it off without hurting the tires too much. Matt, Newman won, but Matt is the bar when it comes to getting his tires to stay long and we’re working in that direction."
Preece would visit with Hirschman after the race to pick his brain about their tire conservation approach.
Meanwhile, there will for sure be a new winner in the second half of the Tour Type Modified Racetrack Revival on Wednesday as Newman has set sail for Indianapolis to compete in the BC39 USAC Midget Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
Racetrack Revival Tour Type Modified Race 1
North Wilkesboro Speedway
August 2 2022