Salem, IN (June 26, 2017) – To say Saturday night’s Parallax Power Supply Redbud 400 Presented by Mitch Smith Auto Service and Perfecto at Anderson Speedway was a battle would be an understatement, is was a war, as too of the best short track racers in the country battled it out over the last portion of the event, including a final five lap shoot out that settled the war with former NASCAR competitor Stephen Wallace getting the ARCA/CRA Super Series Powered by JEGS win over 2016 CARS Super Late Model Tour Champion Raphael Lessard.
“Man what a race,” remarked an excited Wallace in victory lane. “That was some tough short track racing tonight. This is a big win for me, my dad and my uncle tried to get a win here in this event, but the best they ever finished was second. Lessard and I both leaned on each other a lot there at the end. I wasn’t going to just let him pass me and get the win, I was going to do whatever I needed to get back around him and get the win!”
Three time ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion Johnny VanDoorn was the EDCO Welding Fast Qualifier and took the lead at the drop of the green flag from his pole starting position and led the first nine laps before Florida driver Jeff Choquette powered by to get the lead on lap nine.
Choquette looked to have the dominate car leading until a lap 125 restart, when VanDoorn managed to get by, but Choquette passed VanDoorn to regain the lead on lap 131 and pulled out to the largest lead anyone would enjoy all night. VanDoorn quickly faded and would then go to the pits for several laps for repair work on his car before returning to log laps before retiring from the event with a 13th place finish.
Choquette was working through the back of the field when he made contact with Jack Smith, who was the last car on the lead lap, resulting in both cars spinning and Choquette making connect with the outside wall ending his day on lap 179.
Florida racer Stephen Nasse took over the lead and led until Lessard went to the front on lap 213. Lessard would lead until pitting under yellow on lap 265. Wallace had pitted earlier and took over the lead on lap 266 and would stay out front, while from second on back was a constant battle over the next 100 laps.
A late caution set up the final run to the finish on lap 395. Lessard would get past Wallace on the first restart, but the caution flag flew, with the field going back to the previous lineup with no green flag scored, giving the point back to Wallace.
The pair took the green for what would be the events last restart, Wallace choose the outside where he would have more momentum and grip, giving the inside to Lessard. The two were side by side throughout lap 396. Slight contact between the two gave the lead to Lessard on lap 397, Wallace would then use the bump and run to grab the lead back on lap 398, from there Wallace would go on to get the win with both competitors cars showing signs of the tough battle.
“He’s a wild son of a gun,” Wallace said of Lessard after the race. “He raced me pretty clean, it was just the last five laps. I’m not going to turn over on my back and say, ‘Hey, you go win.’ We raced the hell out of each other, beat the crap out of our cars, but they’re all in one piece and we won the race.”
Besides the $10,000 first place payoff, Wallace also picked up a $5,000 bonus put up by Anderson Speedway if the event winner had never finished in the top five of an ARCA/CRA Super Series or JEGS/CRA All-Stars Toru race at Anderson Speedway before the 2017 season. Wallace picked up the AR Bodies Cool Move of the Race Award for his pit strategy that got him the lead. Wallace also picked up the Earnest Performance Lap Leader Award for leading the most laps.
Lessard would get passed by several more drivers after the contact from Wallace and ended up in fifth place.
“We had it won on that last restart,” remarked Lessard. “We both raced hard, but he hit me really hard and got me sideways after I took the lead, that’s the way he likes to race I guess. Will come back better and I’ll remember how he raced me next time!”
2011 Redbud 300 winner Steve Dorer would finish in second place, with his car showing the most damage of anyone in the top five. Dorer picked up a Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award. Stephen Nasse would hold on to get a hard third third place finish and picked up the FLUIDYNE High Performance Cool Under Pressure Award. JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour competitor Jack Dossey III would finish in fourth place after battling back from a near spin after contact from Lessard that cost him a bunch of positions.
Eddie Van Meter would finish in sixth place after making several pit stops during the second half of the event to work on his race car. For all their hard work to keep Eddie on the lead lap and a sixth place finish, Van Meter’s pit crew received the PitBoxes.com Pit Crew of the Race Award.
Fred Hopkins would finish in seventh place, coming from his 21st starting position, which earned him a Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award and the Hamner Racing Engines Hardcharger Award. 1997 series Champion Kenny Tweedy finished in eighth place, the last car on the lead lap, it was his first race with the series since 2013. Rookie Logan Runyon finished in ninth place and picked up his second Senneker Performance Rookie of the Race Award for the 2017 season.
The next ARCA/CRA Super Series event will be the Circle City 100 on Friday, July 21st at Lucas Oil Raceway. More information on all the CRA Series is available at www.cra-racing.com.