Matt Craig sails to CARS Tour SLM victory at Hickory

Matt Craig scored the win at Hickory

The Solid Rock Carriers CARS Super Late Model Tour made its way to the Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday evening for the Cloer Construction 250. Along with the CARS Late Model Stock Tour, the two divisions would each contest 125-lap feature events to make up the full race distance. At the end of the night it would be Matt Craig who stood tall in victory lane and collected $10,000 for the SLM division win at the historic North Carolina facility.

Craig is the defending CARS Tour champion and currently leads the series standings.

In previous years, this race has featured a throwback theme with cars decorated in wraps resembling those of famous racers from the past. However, CARS Tour officials opted not to employ that theme in 2020 due to the uncertainty related to COVID-19.

Trevor Noles was fastest in Super Late Model qualifying on Saturday afternoon around the .363-mile paved oval when he turned a lap in 14.932 seconds to beat out Matt Craig, Justin Crider, Jeff Batten, Jeff Fultz, T.J. Duke, Sammy Smith, Tyler Church, Kris Wright and Kodie Connor.

It was the fourth pole for Noles.

At the start of the 125-lap feature Noles went to the early lead ahead of Craig, Crider, Fultz and Smith. But it did not take long for Craig to assert himself as he moved around Noles for the top spot by the end of lap 2.

Fultz also moved forward by taking second from Noles on the fifth circuit. Further back, Duke and Church got around Batten for fifth and sixth respectively.

On lap 12, Fultz grabbed the lead by passing Craig. But his gain would prove to be short lived as Craig took the top spot back.

At lap 30, the top-5 of Craig, Duke, Fultz, Noles and Church ran in close formation as each driver appeared to be logging laps in anticipation of the caution that would come after 40 consecutive green flag laps.

During the race’s second segment everyone again appeared to bide their time awaiting another planned caution. One driver in particular who was saving tires was Kodie Connor as the No. 45 machine ran in the back half of the top-10 throughout that segment.

With Craig and Church showing the way following the lap 80 restart, Noles and Kvapil fought over third by running side-by-side for multiple laps. At the same time, Connor began to march forward by passing Smith for fifth.

Craig slipped away from his pursuers while Connor came rushing through the top-5 until he reached the runner-up position. But in the end, it was Craig who would sail under the checkered flag for the win.

Feature Finish: 1. Matt Craig, 2. Kodie Connor, 3. Trevor Noles, 4. Carson Kvapil, 5. Tyler Church, 6. Sammy Smith, 7. Jeff Batten, 8. Justin Crider, 9. T.J. Duke, 10. Dylan Smith, 11. Kris Wright, 12. Jeff Fultz, 13. Michael Ritch

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