Tyler Matthews Continues to Ride Hot Streak Right Into Victory Lane At East Carolina Motor Speedway
By: Justin Kern
Robersonville, NC – It’s safe to say that winning on Sunday’s is what every NASCAR driver wants to do. Granted there is a little more to that sentence and usually is a reference to the Sprint Cup Series. This weekend however, Tyler Matthews rom Richlands, North Carolina, found a way to put his #63 machine in victory lane at East Carolina Motor Speedway to end the weekend on a high note.
After earning a victory and a place finish the night prior at SNMP, Matthews packed up and headed east to run ECMS’ Twin 40-lap features in companion with the Southern Modified tour, a race that was supposed to be on Labor Day weekend but was rescheduled due to Tropical Storm Hermine. East Carolina has been a track that Matthews has proven he knows how to get around all year long and did so again Sunday afternoon.
After qualifying second to current track points leader Brenden Queen, Matthews was able to battle through some thick racing to score a second place finish in the first set of twin features which not only allowed him to gain some ground on Queen in the State race, it also allowed him to start on the outside pole of race number two as the speedway deviated from their normal qualifying procedures.
Matthews did what few are actually able to do around that 3/8-mile high bank oval and that is make the top groove work. Powering around Bowling on the outside to lead lap one and that was just about all she wrote! With only three caution flags throughout the entire 40-lap feature, and one of them coming from contact between Louis White and Brenden Queen, there was not a car in the entire county that had anything for Tyler Matthews.
Though things were easy sailing for Matthews at the front of the pack things certainly were interesting behind him. With Matthews out front that left the trio of Queen, White, and Burbage to duke it out for position, and if you have been following East Carolina all season you know neither one of these drivers wants to give an inch. It actually would cost all three of them a few positions on the track when on a late restart Queen, on the low side, entered turn one with Louis White to his right, the two would make contact sending White around up the hill and left Queen with some heavy nose damage. Burbage, who in just my personal opinion, got the worst end of the deal, had nowhere to go bellow him and was forced up to the wall just behind the two. Burbage would have to start further back in the field because his car came to a complete stop.
With the two victories in four races over the weekend, the 2015 North Carolina Rookie of the Year was able to jump ahead of Queen in the State points by two and was overall pretty happy with how things played out.
“It’s been a pretty good weekend for us,” Matthews said in victory lane Sunday evening. “We unloaded at Southern National pretty sporty and sat on the pole and lead most of the laps. Bowling gave me a pretty good run for the money on the outside. The car was off just a little bit till the pressures came up and then the car came to me and we won.”
Matthews and crew would then have to head back to the shop and change the setup over to East Carolina as they are operating with just one car as we close out the NWAAS.
“The crew worked through the night,” Matthews explained. “We don’t usually do something like this. We are used to running one weekend and going to the house and working on it. We got her tuned up using out notes from this track and went out and sat on the outside pole. We just got hung up there on the outside and had to survive all that stuff going on in front and around us, that was a challenge in itself. Battled back to second and by that time Bowling was checked out.”
The second feature was later in the afternoon and probably more importantly after the 150-lap feature from the Southern Modifieds laying down a lot of different rubber. Matthews was able to tweak on the car to get it just right and the team hit on something good because once he got around Bowling on the outside there was not catching him.
“Once we got around him [Bowling] on the outside we just got out there clicking laps off,” Matthews said. “According to Race Monitor Louis White was coming though. I never saw him but my spotter was letting me know he was coming. We were just trying to stay consistent and save tires. We were able to push go when we needed to and survived all the restarts. I just couldn’t do this without my crew and family, of course the fans, just everyone that puts this thing on for us, its been a great weekend.”
1. #63 Tyler Matthews; 40
2. #83 Matt Bowling; 40
3. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 40
4. #12 Wesley Johnson; 40
5. #7 Louis White; 40
6. #03 Brenden Queen; 40
7. #12 Dean Shiflett; 40
8. #9 Thomas Burbage; 40
9. #91 Justin Carroll; 40
10. #33 Ryan Haddock; 40
11. #5 Paul Williamson; 29
12. #26 Eric Winslow; 15
13. #67 JT Jackson; 12
14. #10 Madyson Mulligan; 10
15. #88 Thomas Marks; 5
16. #01b Mark Wertz; 5
17. #83x George Brunnhoelzl, 5
18. #0 Justin Snow; 3