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McCaskill seeks third ‘200’ win

Deac McCaskill is the second most-winning driver when it comes to South Boston Speedway’s big pre-Fourth of July racing event, the Dr. & Mrs. Maresca of St. Lawrence Radiology Present The Thunder Road Harley Davidson NASCAR Late Model 200.

The Raleigh, N.C. driver has won the event twice, the first time in 2008 and again in 2010, and he’s hoping to make it a third triumph when the region’s top NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division drivers and teams converge on South Boston Speedway Thursday for 2014 edition of the race that pays $5,00 to win.

McCaskill showed his capability of being a frontrunner for the win in Thursday night’s race by winning the first 75-lap race of last Saturday night’s Whelen Night NASCAR Late Model twin 75s at South Boston Speedway.

The two-time defending North Carolina state NASCAR Whelen All American Series champion said winning Thursday night’s race would be a big boost to both himself and his team.

“It’s always a special race and it would be really neat to win it,” remarked McCaskill, who finished as the runner-up in the chase for the 2013 NASCAR Whelen All American Series national title chase behind Lee Pulliam.

“It would be huge. The $5,000 first prize will go a long ways for us.”

McCaskill went back to a proven formula that has worked well for him over the years at South Boston in last Saturday night’s opening race when he went to the top groove to take the lead from Philip Morris and drove to victory.

The problem with that, however, was McCaskill’s tires wore badly up top and he didn’t have much left in the way of his tires for the night’s second 75-lap race.

Still, McCaskill is looking forward to Thursday night’s 200-lap marathon race.

“It (the 200-lap pre-Fourth of July race) has always been good to us,” McCaskill pointed out, “but I’m going to have keep tires on the car, that’s for sure. It was a good practice for us. We learned a lot.”

Running the top groove at South Boston Speedway is a tough thing to do, McCaskill says.

“It has its advantages and it has its disadvantages,” McCaskill said of taking the high groove at South Boston Speedway. A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to run up there. You’ve got to be so precise. When you run up top like that it takes a toll on the tires. I can’t run up top like that for 200 laps.”

The key, McCaskill said, is being able to get his car setup so he can be good on the bottom and be in a position to move up late in the race.

“I’ve got to get the car working better on the bottom, and maybe at the end of the race I’ll have enough tires left to get up top,” McCaskill remarked.

“You just can’t run up top for 200 laps and expect to have anything left at the end of the race.”

Tire management, McCaskill said, will be pivotal not only for himself, but for everybody that competes in the 200-lap event.

“From what I saw tonight, I think tire management will be very important,” McCaskill said following last Saturday night’s twinbill at South Boston Speedway. 

“You look at Josh (Oakley) and Myatt (Snider), they run fifth and sixth the first race and then run one and two most of the second race. I don’t know if they might have been saving their tires the first race or not. But, I feel like you’re going to have to conserve a little bit, especially if the race is going to be a straight 200 laps.”