ANDERSON – Kentucky driver Chuck Barnes Jr. finally got that anticipated win at Anderson Speedway. Barnes Jr. has knocked on the door to victory lane several times in the past when the Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks Powered by JEGS competed on the high-banked quarter mile oval. The win in Saturday’s Tom Wood Honda 150 for Barnes Jr. came about when misfortune struck three other drivers with less than 10 laps remaining in the opener for the Cowboy, Come Canning & Distillery Four Crown mini-series.
New Castle's Jason Atkinson took the lead following the half-way break at lap 76 passing Alan Williams Jr. who had led the first 75 laps of the 150-lap event.
With the laps winding down the seventh and final caution flag waved on lap 133 when Cole Baxter blew a right rear tire entering turn one and contacting the car of J.P. Crabtree.
That put Jimmy Kirby, Andrew Teepe, Barnes Jr., Ryan Amonett and Williams all right behind Atkinson to battle for the $3,000 pay day for the Four Crown event sponsored by Cowboy, Come Canning & Distillery Four Crown.
Teepe grabbed the lead from Atkinson, who's tires were going away on lap 140 with Kirby running third and Barnes in the fourth position.
On the next circuit Atkinson got inside of Teepe entering turn four and those two and Kirby rode up toward the outside retaining wall, allowing Barnes Jr. to drive underneath and into the lead.
At the finish Barnes Jr. won by 1.97-seconds over Amonett with series rookie Dalton Connor coming home in third followed by Atkinson and Williams.
The red flag came out on lap 114 when Anderson's Dawson Phillips spun in turn three collecting the cars of Chad Pendleton, Josh Poore and Amonett. Only Amonett was able to continue.
Barnes Jr. used a tire saving strategy for the first 75-laps before starting to work his way to the front after starting tenth in the 30-car field. Barnes Jr. was the Allstar Performance Fast Qualifier and drew a ten for the event's inverted start.
“I wasn't really happy with the way things weren't going our way,” Barnes Jr. said in the Riley & Son Victory Lane. “We had a really good car. “I was able to drive to the inside, which was not expected. I finally got a win here. It was a tough field of cars, and the racing was very aggressive, especially when the laps started winding down!”
Amonett said his crew worked really hard on making the repairs after he was caught up in the lap 114 accident.
“I got into someone else's mess, but that's racing,” he said. “We had some bad luck and some good luck at the end, good luck we've been looking for all year.”
Rookie Connor started 12th in the field and ran in the top ten for much of the race taking advantage of the melee at the end to earn a podium finish.
“I thought we had a 15th place car until the last ten laps,” he said. “Whatever happened up front, helped me. We need to get the car a little bit better.”
Alan Williams Jr. led the first 75 laps with Atkinson running a comfortable second with Brett Hudson, Teepe and Kirby holding down the top five positions at the halfway break, then the action really picked up in the last 75 laps of the event.
The next Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks event will be the second Cowboy, Come Canning & Distillery Four Crown mini-series event on Saturday, July 30th at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Additional information on all the CRA Series is available at www.cra-racing.com.
-CRA Racing Press Release
-Photo credit: David Sink