Lucama, NC – For Tyler Hughes racing in North Carolina does not seem to want to come easy for the Maryland native. Two weeks now in a row now the driver and his crew have faced some type of adversity. Now of course you will have that in this sport but an electrical issue that could have taken you out of the features all together one week and a post race technical inspection the following is not something a team wants to see happen week in and week out that is for sure.
After splitting a set of races the prior week with Louis White, Hughes found himself yet again on the road traveling to Southern National Motorsports Park. Leaving most of the electrical problems back home this weekend, Hughes entered the twenty plus car field feeling pretty good about the car, the crew, and himself. “The car was decent,” Hughes spoke about the car during practice. “We worked hard on it all day just fine tuning. We didn’t want to get to far away from what we had the week before. We still had a small miss but it was only little pops, nothing major that we were going to worry about.”
Apparently the fine-tuning was just what the car needed because he would go on to set the pole in euro style qualifying with a time of 15.790 (91.197 mph). Michael Fose, Tyler Matthews, Ricky Jones, III, and Clay Jones would round out the starting five.
“By fine tuning I knew we had a decent piece,” Hughes told The Weekly Racer this afternoon after an announcement was made about the official results. “But I didn’t know how good of a car we actually had until we started racing in that first race.” Good enough to lead wire to wire and pick up his second win in that many visits to SNMP in 2016. After, lets call it an unlucky start this season at Dominion Raceway, the back to back wins is something much needed for the team as a reminder they still have what it takes to win.
David Polenz, Louis White, Tal Davidson and Ricky Jones rounded out the top five. Brenden Queen, Clay Jones, and Michael Fose completed the top eight – the importance of that can be found bellow.
An eight-car invert was set for race number two later on in the evening as the sun went down and the track cooled off. A note to make, sixth place finisher Brenden Queen, had to give his third place starting position up after a fire broke out under the hood of the car as he was leaving the scales forced the team to the back up car and to the back of the field for the start of race two.
With twin races running in the sun and then under the moon we asked Tyler if the crew went to work during the break to change things on the car to make it any better. I think he was pleasantly surprised when swapping some tires around was all that was needed.
“We inspected tires and moved them around to where we felt it would benefit us the most for race two,” Huges commented about the adjustments. “It didn’t take us to long to get back up to the front and into the lead either.”
Hughes would go on to win the second feature of the evening and grab what he thought was going to be his third victory at the high-banked oval. Chris Chapman – who at one point was the division points leader – would finish second followed by Louis White, Clay Jones and Brenden Queen.
I am just so proud of this whole team for how hard we have worked and how much effort has gone into making the cars fast.” Hughes said about his team. “For only our second season of working together I cant think of anything better than to win four races in nine starts.”
The wins certainly did not come easy this weekend for Hughes as he learned at the completion of the night that one of the fellow competitors in the field had protested his motor. The team was ordered to submit their heads for further inspection. The team removed them from the car and a representative from G2 Racing along with the protesting team meat with officials in the tech shed. After the initial inspection passed the party that filed the protest requested further measurements to be taken which the track did not have the tools to complete. The heads were then taken to the NASCAR R&D center, which they had no issue with and officially handing the win over the Hughes.
“We let the head tech official keep the heads and take them to the R&D center,” Hughes told use over the phone Monday evening. “They went through every single test they could run and check on the heads and we got the phone call telling us we were 100% legal. Protest can become heated between teams sometimes but this was all 100% professional. From my team, to the track officials, to the protesting team, we all worked together and in the end, got rumors cleared up.”
Hughes went on to explain he is happy to show people what they do is by the book and that is what his team is about. They want to be known as a humble, fair, and fast competitor and Hughes hopes that message was delivered this past weekend.
~ Justin Kern