- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Deac McCaskill is no stranger to using the outside lane to hit paydirt at South Boston Speedway. The Raleigh, N.C. driver used the outside line to his advantage in winning South Boston Speedway’s annual pre-Fourth Of July 200-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock Car race two years ago.
Last season he used it to edge Justin Johnson in a dramatic event at South Boston Speedway.
After biding his time riding behind race leader Philip Morris and Lee Pulliam for the first 175 laps, McCaskill went to the top side in Friday night’s NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200.
He first overtook Pulliam and then sped past race leader Morris with 18 laps to go. There was no touching McCaskill after that as he sped away to edge Pulliam by just over a second to claim his first win of the season at the .4-mile oval.
The win, one of the biggest of McCaskill’s career, was an emotional one.
“I was crying hard,” McCaskill said afterward.
“I couldn’t talk. I had to take a minute and catch myself. It’s awesome to win a race like this and to see your kids here. They know how hard it is to win races. It’s priceless. When you can pass somebody on the outside and win a race like that, it’s just cool.”
The win was cool enough, with McCaskill taking home a $5,000 first prize in the race that featured a field of 30 of the regions’ top NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division drivers and teams.
“Every time I win a race here at South Boston Speedway I take it like it might be the last one,” McCaskill said.
“I don’t win a lot of races up here, so a win like this is huge.”
Pulliam got past Morris with 15 laps to go, but wasn’t able to catch McCaskill in the waning laps. Despite a solid performance, Pulliam was disappointed.
“It’s heartbreaking to lose one like that,” said Pulliam, who had started the night by winning the pole in qualifying and was no lower than second throughout the race.
“I felt like I had the best racecar all night. I just rode behind Philip and let him wear his stuff out. If we had had one more caution, I think we would have gotten him (McCaskill). I was running him down but I knew the laps were going down quick. We got into lapped traffic and he pulled away from me just a little bit. That pretty much ended it.”
Josh Oakley of Rougemont, N.C. started 13th and raced his way to a third-place finish, passing Morris, a three-time and defending NASCAR national champion, with five laps to go to secure his best finish of the season at South Boston Speedway.
“This is like a win the way my season has been going,” Oakley said with a huge smile.
“I was coming as fast as I could trying to get involved in it. I couldn’t quite get to the 3 (Lee Pulliam) and the 08 (McCaskill) but, luckily I caught the 26 (Morris). My hat’s off to him. When I got under him, he gave me room and I went on. I really appreciate that.”
Morris finished fourth to claim his fifth top-five finish of the season here with former South Boston Speedway and NASCAR national champion Peyton Sellers of Danville, driving a car owned by Steve James of Clarksville, finished fifth, the last driver to finish on the lead lap.
David Quackenbush of Lorton, C.E. Falk III of Virginia Beach, Jonathan Cash of Oxford, N.C., Dennis Holdren of Roanoke and Leigh Caruthers of Wake Forest, N.C. completed the top ten finishers.
South Boston’s Stacy Puryear raced in fourth place for most of the race, but was sidelined with a mechanical failure and finished 19th. Jeb Burton of Halifax qualified an impressive fourth but finished 20th.
Seven-time winner Johnson, the track and Virginia state NASCAR points leader, retired after 146 laps after encountering mechanical problems. He finished 21st, opening the door for McCaskill, who entered the race in third place in the track points standings, to gain some ground in the track points championship chase.