It wasn't the most exciting race at North Wilkesboro, but it was a blast for the three drivers who dominated the show. There was only five cautions, four occurring in the first half of the event, propelling the drivers who had the right setup underneath to lap the rest.
On lap 3, Ryan Heuser took the lead from pole-sitter John Battista. Matthew Dominique would steal the spot by staying out after a Scott Drake spin, but it was deemed early that Ryan had a chassis to win.
Tyler Scott received a bump from John Tharp on lap 47. That bump turned into a serious accident, causing Tyler's #17 to smash the turn-1 entry-wall to the outside of the track. He came out okay, but the Action-Ice team nearly lost their second driver to a serious injury.
Ryan would pass Matthew on lap 96 after getting trapped behind lapped traffic. It would be short lived for now, as the attention turned to the next couple of accidents.
After getting clipped by his brother Alex earlier, Adam Crapser and Tony Long made contact out of turn 4. Adam spun into Philip Parker, who spun rear-first into the pit wall, ending his day. The #4 was smashed by Donald Stewart on the right side, causing him to flip into the path of John Battista. All three cars were destroyed, with Adam joining Phillip in the garage.
The excitement wasn't over for John Battista. He and Donald Stewart made contact out of turn 2, drifting up into Scott Deutsch and getting slammed in the rear by Jimmie Stevens. Sitting in the middle of the track, Cristian Torres had nowhere to move and flipped the #39 over. With the roof caved in, JB could only limp to 34th.
Ryan Heuser avoided the Battista crash by diving onto pit road, handing the lead to Tony Pizzaro. He was mired in heavy lapped-traffic, but once he got free he stole the show. During the next 160-lap fuel run, he led all the laps with Scott Jackson mired in second.
By lap 260, Ryan was able to pass all of the lead-lap cars except one. With a sensational pit stop, he was able to come out in front of Pizzaro, only for lapped traffic to bog him down. He lost the lead on lap 279, but grabbed it back on lap 330 after racing Scott Jackson for several laps.
Dalton Lucas blew up in front of the field, causing Philip Parker and Zach Michael to crash in front of Rick Jackson, who lost a lap slowing down for the incident. The yellow flag came out with only Ryan, Tony, Scott, and Alex Crapser in line for a 28-lap shootout for the win. Pizzaro was able to pass Scott, while Crapser flew by both of them ready to make a charge at the QSM powerhouse.
Crapser's run would come to a halt as Pizzaro's tires came in, losing the second spot with 19 laps to go. The distance grew a half-second by the white flag, and Ryan was able to coast to a well-fought victory and tie Wimpy Brown for 9th on the all-time N.O.R.L. Extravaganza wins list. Congrats to Ryan, crew chief Mustard Mahoney, and the entire Quicksilver Motorsports team for an excellent victory!
First Union 400, Part 1
First Union 400, Part 2