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No Shortage of Competition During Friday's SLM Heats at Wilkesboro

Super Late Model racers battled for starting position on Friday night at North Wilkesboro Speedway.


If Friday's heat racing from the Super Late Models at North Wilkesboro Speedway is any indication, we can expect a very competitive feature race on Saturday. The ARCA/CRA Super Series and Southern Super Series Super Late Models contested 10-lap heat races Friday night at North Wilkesboro to set the lineup for Saturday's 75-lap feature race. Justin Crider, Sammy Smith and Tyler Tanner all scored wins in the heat races, and all three expressed how important it was to be up front for the main event

Justin Crider won the first heat race after setting fast-time in qualifying. He will start fifth on Saturday following a redraw of the top two finishers in each heat.

Crider outdueled Super Late Model veteran Augie Grill for the victory after they battled door-to-door for most of the heat race. For the Statesville, North Carolina native, Friday's accomplishment was just as much about competing for a win at North Wilkesboro as establishing good starting position for Saturday night.

"This is incredible, dude. I appreciate Augie racing me clean. I wanted to start from the pole. We earned that pole through time and I wanted to stay up there.

"I know it's just a heat race, but to do it at North Wilkesboro, this is something special. I love my guys, I love everyone here. Thanks to all the fans for coming out, we can't wait to see y'all tomorrow."

As fate would have it, Sammy Smith and Stephen Nasse battled for the win in the second heat race, and they will lead the field to green on Saturday following the redraw. Nasse claimed the pole on the redraw, but it was Smith taking the checkered flag in the heat race.


For Smith, it was a balancing act between battling for track position and saving tires, and he believes Saturday will be another case of walking that tightrope.

"I think that was a good battle. The top was pretty good, but the longer we ran, the bottom was better. I feel like we've got a good car for tomorrow, so we'll see.

"Track position will be important, but tire management will probably be more important. Hopefully, we can do that and be up there tomorrow."


Tyler Tanner echoed Smith's sentiment after winning the third heat race. While tire wear will be a factor at the venerable racing facility, he expects everyone will be fighting for grip at the end of 75 laps and track position will be crucial. "It's really hard to judge whether this will be a track position deal or saving tires. Hopefully we can do a little bit of both and keep what we've got now, because it's pretty good.

"We're definitely going to lose tires in a hurry and have to manage it. I think there are enough good cars here that you're going to have to stay in front of them. We're all going to be out of grip at the end of it. It's going to be who is in the right spot at the right time at the end."

Starting Lineup - 75 Lap Feature 1. Stephen Nasse 2. Sammy Smith 3. Tyler Tanner 4. Hunter Robbins 5. Justin Crider 6. Augie Grill 7. Jake Finch 8. Casey Roderick 9. Bubba Pollard 10. Michael Hinde 11. Jackson Boone 12. Rich Clouser 13. Daniel Dye 14. Albert Francis 15. Jared Irvan 16. Dusty Williams 17. Tyler Church 18. Ricky Anderson 19. Dylan Caldwell 20. Billy Van Meter 21. Lee Tissot 22. Eddie Van Meter 23. John Coffman Friday Results Heat Race #1 1. Justin Crider 2. Augie Grill 3. Jake Finch 4. Michael Hinde 5. Daniel Dye 6. Dusty Williams 7. Dylan Caldwell 8. Eddie Van Meter Heat Race #2 1. Sammy Smith 2. Stephen Nasse 3. Casey Roderick 4. Jackson Boone 5. Albert Francis 6. Tyler Church 7. Billy Van Meter 8. John Coffman Heat Race #3 1. Tyler Tanner 2. Hunter Robbins 3. Bubba Pollard 4. Rich Clouser 5. Jared Irvan 6. Ricky Anderson 7. Lee Tissot


-Story by Racing America

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