Giovanni Ruggiero was stout all race long and with a last lap banzai move into turn three on the final lap took home the ASA STARS Tour win at Hickory Motor Speedway in the Tar Heel 250.
“Not how I wanted to win the race, but I didn’t come here to finish second,” Giovanni said in his victory lane interview. “We were good on the long run there. I think we had something for him. I think I just burned it up for those last ten laps, but I got it done. So that’s all that matters,” he added.
Runner-up William Byron wasn’t pleased at all in his post-race press conference. The 24 was one of the classes on the field all night but just wasn’t able to get the job done.
“I didn’t see much. I saw the whole right side of his car in the left side of mine about 20 times on the restart…I mean the left side is destroyed,” Byron said. “I don’t know man, I guess that’s how a kid like that races…Just bad racing.”
WHAT A FINISH@Gio_Ruggiero1 BEATS @WilliamByron AT THE LINE pic.twitter.com/awESh9vzdn
— ASA STARS National Tour (@racewithstars) May 26, 2023
Cole Butcher, Ty Majeski, and Caden Kvapil rounded out the top five. Cup Series champion Chase Elliott just missed out and finished sixth.
While some of the ASA STARS shined, others hit major problems throughout the night. Bubba Pollard climbed his way through the field after starting 14th on the night and got as high as second earlier in the race. However, with 57 to go, Pollard’s car shot up the track in turn two and came to a stop. In the pits, he reported to Racing America broadcast that the car had a steering failure. The North Wilkesboro winner was none too pleased with the track.
“Damn racetrack comes apart so much,” the late model start said on pit road as the crew worked over the no. 26 machine.
Issues also hit the points leader Casey Roderick with 49 to go. He and the no. 7 of Jackson Boone made major contact on the backstretch. The contact sent Boone into the air a bit and destroyed the left rear quarter panel of the no. 18.
Roderick was able to continue and finished 12th on the night. Boone came home in the 19th position, 10 laps down.
Race Results from the Tar Heel 250 at Hickory Motor Speedway
|12||18||Casey Roderick||249||1 lap||15.035|
|13||90||Ross Strmiska||248||2 laps||15.146|
|14||23||Billy VanMeter||248||2 laps||15.285|
|15||54||Matthew Craig||247||3 laps||14.795|
|16||33f||Albert Francis||247||3 laps||15.306|
|17||33s||Dustin Smith||245||5 laps||15.402|
|18||65||Tyler Tanner||244||6 laps||15.452|
|19||7||Jackson Boone||240||10 laps||15.209|
|20||98||Blaine Rocha||239||11 laps||15.250|
|21||14h||Carson Hocevar||238||12 laps||15.250|
|22||45||Kodie Conner||200||50 laps||15.089|
|23||26||Bubba Pollard||193||57 laps||15.133|
|24||51f||Jake Finch||149||101 laps||15.363|
|25||08||Tony Elrod||80||170 laps||15.508|
Up next for the ASA STARS Tour is the Father’s Day 100 at the Milwaukee Mile on June 18th.