Carrier's last-lap pass at K-C denies R.J. Conley
By Scott WolfeK-C Raceway
ALMA, Ohio (May 23) — Eddie Carrier Jr. got to the front just in time at K-C Raceway. Starting 11th in the O'Reilly All Star-sanctioned Pepsi 50, the Salt Rock, W.Va., driver battled door-to-door with race-long leader R.J. Conley on the final lap before nosing ahead at the checkered flag to lead his only lap of the race.
"If the fans didn't like that race, then I don't know what they would like. What a race!" said the 38-year-old Carrier, who grabbed second from Jason Montgomery after a mid-race restart. "Before the last caution I wasn't gaining anything on R.J., so I started moving around. I changed my line, and maybe I just started driving a little bit harder."
Carrier's extra effort paid $5,000 as he became the third winner in four events on the first-year O'Reilly All Star Series. The polesitting Conley, of Wheelersburg, Ohio, finished a disappointing second while Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., the April 18 series winner at K-C, rallied from 13th to finish third. Jason Montgomery, a two-time track champion from Jackson, Ohio, was fourth and outside front-row starter Dave Hess Jr. of Waterford, Pa., rounded out the top five on Veterans Appreciation Night.
The polesitter Conley pulled away in leading Wayne Chinn of Bradford, Ohio, early in the race, but Montgomery took the second spot following the a lap-19 restart and took up the chase. Carrier was soon up to third and following the next restart on lap 27, he edged past Montgomery to grab the runner-up spot.
The third and final caution of the night bunched the field on lap 34 when the leader's father, Delmas Conley, tangled with Jackie Boggs and Steve Shaver in turn three, leaving Shaver's car partially atop Conley's No. 71. With the final 16 laps remaining, Carrier summoned a late-race charge.
With five laps remaining, Carrier found the low groove to his liking and pulled under Conley exiting turn four on laps 46 and 47. Conley edged lower to protect the lead on the next lap, but Carrier made up enough ground to pull alongside on the final lap. Carrier just nosed Conley at the checkered flag for the victory.
Notes: Carrier's Rocket Chassis has a Grover Motorsports Engine and sponsorship from Engines Inc. ... Carrier and Boom Briggs shared hard charger honors by advancing 10 positions apiece. ... Bart Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio, ran as high as fourth before finishing eighth. ... Davey Johnson slowed on the 19th lap to draw the first caution, and also brought out the second yellow eight laps later. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Doug Drown, Ralph Withem, Tim Dohm, Shannon Thornsberry and Carrie Mason.
Pepsi 50: (1) Eddie Carrier Jr., (2) R.J. Conley, (3) Boom Briggs, (4) Jason Montgomery, (5) Dave Hess Jr., (6) Jared Hawkins, (7) Wayne Chinn, (8) Bart Hartman, (9) Duane Chamberlain, (10) Jared Miley, (11) Rob Blair, (12) Rod Conley, (13) Ben Adkins, (14) Matt Lux, (15) Eric Wells, (16) Devin Friese, (17) Audie Swartz, (18) Coleby Fry, (19) Rick Combs, (20) Jackie Boggs, (21) Delmas Conley, (22) Steve Shaver, (23) Davey Johnson, (24) Keith Berner. Fast qualifier (among 35 cars): R.J. Conley, 14.532 seconds. Heat race winners: R.J. Conley, Boggs, Chinn, Hartman. Consolation winners: Rod Conley, Shaver.