NEWTON, N.C. – A back-to-front charge, capped by a side-by-side run to the finish line, saw Michael Womack pick up the victory in Saturday night’s 30-lap U.S. Legends Car feature at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Womack edged out Zack Miller by inches as the twin checkers waved, erasing the sting of a throttle cable failure earlier in the day that cost him a strong run in the qualifying heat race.
“That was an insane last lap, man!” the teenager exclaimed in victory lane. “I knew he (Miller) was faster on the outside, because I knew his car was way better when it was wound up. The inside lane just wasn’t helping the car, so my job was to try and keep him as high as I could to try and work him over … and somehow, it worked.”
“I had inches to spare, but I got away with it. I got one hour of sleep last night because this car was wrecked at Anderson (S.C.), but we put it back together and man, this feels good.”
Austin Reed led the field to green from the pole but only spent the first lap out front before Canadian Braden Langille went to the top of the board and asserted his early dominance out front.
A caution on lap nine, for a spin by Ryan Heim on the frontstretch, did nothing to slow Langille’s momentum as he leapt back out to the point when racing resumed.
But a second yellow one lap after the restart, for a multi-car incident in turn one, allowed Miller to charge forward and assume the lead on the 12th round.
Womack was coming, though. He was up to third from the back by halfway and moved into the runner-up spot following the race’s final restart with 10 laps to go, passing Langille and setting his sights on Miller.
While Langille faded with a flat right front tire, Womack charged forward. He dove underneath Miller to take the lead with four to go, but Miller fought back and retook the point coming to the white flag.
That set the stage for the photo finish, in which Womack hooked the bottom in Turns 3 and 4, leaving Miller hung on the outside and ultimately, just short.
“My car just got so tight after I took the lead that I couldn’t even get through the middle of the corner,” Miller explained after the race. “He just kept rolling the center, and that was where he could gain on me. I was trying to hold him off as long as I could.”
“I was going to try and fall back into line, but I figured … (it’s the) last lap; let’s give the fans a show and run it on the outside to the finish. I had a lot of fun and I hope the fans enjoy it, but it doesn’t take the sting away for coming so close.”
Ryan Mackintosh completed the podium finishers in third, followed by Austin Reed and Gracie Trotter.
RESULTS: U.S. Legend Cars International; Hickory Motor Speedway; April 15, 2017
U.S. Legends Car Feature (30 laps): 1. Michael Womack, 2. Zack Miller, 3. Ryan Mackintosh, 4. Austin Reed, 5. Gracie Trotter, 6. Austin Teras, 7. Jessica Dana, 8. Ryan Heim, 9. Thomas Everson, 10. Braden Langille, 11. Vincent Midas.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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