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Matt Craig Snaps Southern Super Series Drought in Rumble by the River 125

(From Racing America)

Matt Craig snapped a drought lasting more than two years in the ASA Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco on Saturday night at Montgomery Motor Speedway, winning the Rumble by the River 125.

Ironically, it was in this race in 2019 when Craig scored his first Southern Super Series win. However, 896 days had passed since Craig's victory in the 2021 All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

That time away from victory lane only made Saturday's win that much more special for the North Carolina driver.

"This win means a lot," said Craig. "We have been struggling for the past two years, really. My dad couldn't make it. He hurt his back last week and didn't want to ride down. Shoutout to my family at home watching, I love y'all. I don't know what to say."

Craig took the lead on lap 84 from Michael Hinde, and led the rest of the way for the victory. The only thing that went wrong for Craig was his post-race celebration, which left him stalled in turn one after a clutch failure.

"I tried to give y'all a little burnout, but I guess I forgot how to do it," joked Craig. "I think I blew the clutch out of it. It was a little embarrassing, but, hey, the car was phenomenal. I couldn't ask for a better car.

"As soon as we unloaded yesterday, I knew we had something special. We kept tuning on it, tuning on it, getting it a little bit better. That was probably the best race car I've ever driven, and I've been doing this a while."

After a hard-fought battle for second place, John Bolen and Stephen Nasse were poised to both finish on the podium. However, the two drivers came together on the final lap.

Instead, Dustin Smith dodged the incident to finish second, with Billy Van Meter taking the third position. Smith's car was also wounded when it arrived on the frontstretch, overheating visibly as Smith conducted his second-place interview.

"We've been working hard for this," said Smith. "I might have to buy a new motor. I wasn't coming in, it was running 300 [degrees] and there were six laps to go. Oh, well.

"We definitely had to work for this one, for sure. The car's a little beat up, but hey, it's replaceable. Hopefully, we can go to Pensacola and Mobile in a couple of weeks and do one spot better."

Van Meter rallied from a disappointing qualifying effort and a mid-race spin to take the third position.

"Hitting the wall in qualifying and having to start last, getting dumped and finishing P3, I'll take it," said Van Meter. "I was happy with a fifth. We rallied back. The crew brought me a good car, and I just screwed up in qualifying. I'm just happy I made up for it."

Hinde led the first 83 laps before surrendering the top spot to Craig. Hinde's strong run came to an end on lap 107 with an apparent mechanical issue, which led to a tangle between Bolen and Gio Ruggiero.

Next for the Southern Super Series will be a doubleheader weekend on the Gulf Coast, with races at Five Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway on April 26-27.

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