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Giovanni Ruggiero wins the Tar Heel 250 After Late Race Dive Bomb on William Byron

Gio Ruggiero William Byron Hickory ASA STARS National Tour Tar Heel 250 recap
Gio Ruggiero William Byron Hickory ASA STARS National Tour Tar Heel 250 recap
Gio Ruggiero took the race win in Thursday’s ASA STARS National Tour event at Hickory in a contact-filled finish against William Byron. Photo Credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

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.”

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

Pos.No.DriverLapsDiffBest Lap
122Gio Ruggerio250--14.951
224William Byron2500.03614.898
328Cole Butcher2500.59615.107
491Ty Majeski2501.72315.153
532Caden Kvapil2501.89515.146
69eChase Elliott2502.23515.118
751nStephen Nasse2502.53115.151
814nAustin Nason2503.06715.221
950Jett Noland2504.04915.099
1069Michael Hinde2504.91715.204
1120Jesse Love2507.69815.062
1218Casey Roderick2491 lap15.035
1390Ross Strmiska2482 laps15.146
1423Billy VanMeter2482 laps15.285
1554Matthew Craig2473 laps14.795
1633fAlbert Francis2473 laps15.306
1733sDustin Smith2455 laps15.402
1865Tyler Tanner2446 laps15.452
197Jackson Boone24010 laps15.209
2098Blaine Rocha23911 laps15.250
2114hCarson Hocevar23812 laps15.250
2245Kodie Conner20050 laps15.089
2326Bubba Pollard19357 laps15.133
2451fJake Finch149101 laps15.363
2508Tony Elrod80170 laps15.508

Up next for the ASA STARS Tour is the Father’s Day 100 at the Milwaukee Mile on June 18th.

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