Chad McCumbee Victorious in Icebreaker at Florence
Chad McCumbee held off Josh Berry in a four-lap shootout to score the victory in the Icebreaker at Florence Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
McCumbee started in the second position and led the first 15 laps and the final 45 laps of the race on Saturday. However, he had to hold off Josh Berry in a sequence of late-race restarts after the caution came out with four laps remaining – first for a spin involving Bob Saville then a wreck involving Brandon Pierce and David Roberts, among others. McCumbee chose the outside line on both restarts and was able to drive away from Berry to claim the win.
“I’m very proud of our effort,” McCumbee said in victory lane. “I’m not going to be able to run a full season of Late Models this year but this is one race I had on my calendar that I wanted to do. Certainly got the season started off right. Those guys are so strong. Late Model Stock racing in general, as I’ve said for the past year, the competition level is out of control, the depth throughout the field. We got beat in November, and we came back with a lot of different stuff trying to get better. We certainly are better, I don’t know if we’re good enough yet.”
McCumbee had pulled away late prior to the late-race caution, which upended what he thought was a perfect strategy, but he was confident he could hold on when he chose the outside line on the restarts.
“I was sick to see that caution come out with four to go because I thought my strategy worked out really well,” McCumbee stated. “Luckily we still had enough so that told me we’ve made some gains. This place is slick and I think being able to keep that momentum was important. I really appreciate Josh racing me clean there. That made all the difference.”
Berry, who is the reigning NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national champion, was forced to settle for the runner-up position just as he had to do last fall in the South Carolina 400, which was won by Ty Majeski.
“It was tough,” Berry said. “We were good, but we just lacked a little bit there. The top was a lot better than the last race here and it just got hard to pass. We needed a little bit of a longer run, but I think Chad fired off a little better than us.”
Two-time CARS Tour champion Bobby McCarty finished third while Matt Cox and Kaden Honeycutt rounded out the top-five.