UCORA Throwback Cup Series Takes on The Rock
The second ever round of the UCORA Throwback Cup Series took the racing action to Rockingham Speedway for what turned out to be a, pardon the pun, rocky race.
The last time there was a sanctioned NASCAR race at the Rockingham Speedway in real life was in 2013 when the NASCAR Truck Series visited the track. The last Cup Series event to take place at The Rock was in 2004, a race that saw Matt Kenseth hold off Kasey Kahne in a photo finish.
Setting fast time in qualifying was Erik Jeffers with a lap of 21.231 seconds. Breathing down his neck, though, were Justin Kirby, Justin Burns, and Curtis Preston. All four drivers clocked times within four one hundreths of a second of one another.
The race, scheduled for 197 laps or 1 Hour and 50 Minutes, took the green flag and ran several laps with no issue, then the cautions started. Despite the plague of cautions, there were a few times when the race entered a green flag pattern, allowing drivers to move through the field as tires started to wear. One driver that was a blast to watch during these runs was Todd Laribee.
Laribee, who started in the 17th position, seemingly was able to put his car wherever he pleased as he muscled his way through traffic. Other drivers such as Justin Weaver, Bruce Pearson, and Andrew Ratcliff also were able to make their way from starting outside the top 15 to battle in the top 10.
As mentioned above, the race was no stranger to the yellow flag. With frequent cautions, the race changed from 197 laps in length to a time certain race. The race length would become dependent on how many laps could fit into the 1 Hour 50 Minute time window. With every extra caution lap run, the race length would begin to drop.
The race entered the final minutes of the race, around the lap 160 mark, as the caution flew for what would be the final time. Prior to the caution, the two front runners, Joseph Hassert and Curtis Preston, tussled for the lead, with contact being made between the two, as seen below.
Following the restart, Hassert jumped back to the lead. But as the field came out of turn four to see the whit flag, it was Preston who was looking to take the top spot from Hassert. Preston dove to the inside of Hassert and on to the apron with a full head of steam. With neither driver wanting to give an inch, contact was made sending both cars out of control into turn one. The accident can be seen in the gallery below.
Somehow, Erik Jeffers made his way under the spinning Hassert and the limping Preston to take the lead as the accident behind claimed at least a half-dozen cars. Jeffers would take the win while Todd Laribee took home a second place finish. Despite the incident, Curtis Preston held on to finish in the third spot.
As the League readies to take on Richmond in two weeks time, it also readies for a switch to the brand new 1987 Thunderbird and Monte Carlo being introduced by iRacing in conjunction with the recent release of North Wilkesboro. It will be interesting to see who gets up to speed in the car and who struggles with the change next time out.
By Todd Rose