Salem, IN (May 19, 2018) – Bassett, Virginia racer Josh Reeves survived to get a much unexpected win in Friday night’s WCIParts.com 100 for the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance, as part of the Rusty Wallace Automotive Group Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway Presented by Vore’s Welding. In an event that had several crashes, some extracurricular activity and a rain delay, a very excited Josh Reeves and the Wade Lopez Racing Team were able to celebrate in spectacular fashion in Bristol Motor Speedway’s victory lane.
It’s just unbelievable,” remarked Reeves in victory lane. “We qualified terrible at 18th, which was entirely my fault, I just bombed a lap. I knew we had a good race car that could win. We stayed out of trouble. I just rode, bided my time, and I guess with eight to go the leaders got into it and I immediately let off the gas. I knew something was going to happen like that. Patience is such a virtue in these races. I just knew that was the key to us winning tonight. We were building and encouraging each other and that’s what led us here.”
Originally from Martinsville, Virginia, Reeves recently moved to Bristol to work for the Henderson Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. He was given the opportunity to drive Wade Lopez’s car at the Last Great Colosseum. Previously, Reeves had made four ARCA Racing Series starts and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start, but he told Speed51.com that Friday night was his first time behind the wheel of a Late Model.
Reeves added, “This is the biggest win of my career, no doubt. Coming to Bristol, I was given an excellent piece of advice. It actually came from another driver, and it’s ‘you’re not here to race everybody else, you’re here to race the track.’ That was the mentality I had. We’re all David and this is Goliath, and we have to treat it with respect. That’s what I did.”
Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Mike Skinner was the events Lisa Thomas Salon Fast Qualifier, he drew a six for the events inverted start, putting Trey Craig on the pole. Craig took advantage of the pole position and grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag. Joe Graf Jr., quickly moved from his third place starting position to challenge Craig for the lead and made the pass on lap 8.
Graf Jr.’s lead would end in a spectacular crash when R.J. Norton spun in the middle of the backstretch on lap 13 leaving very little room for the Graf Jr. and 2017 event winner Cole Williams, who were battling for the lead, to squeeze buy. Graf Jr.’s car made heavy contact with Norton, tearing almost the complete body off the car, and making hard contact with the outside wall. Graf Jr. was okay after the wreck, but his day was done.
Williams took over the top spot on the yellow flag laps, but never got to officially lead a lap as his car slowed on the next restart with suspension damage caused by the contact with Graf Jr. after he had hit Norton’s car and squezzed Williams into the outside retaining wall. That gave the lead to Skinner, who battled hard with Jack Smith, with both drivers making some contact with each other and swapping the lead back and forth, but Skinner would pull away from Smith after his last pass.
Skinner looked to have the winning car until contact with Tyler Hufford while trying to pass spun both cars. Skinner retired from the event with front suspension damage. That incident handed the lead back to Smith on lap 72.
A lap 92 caution, when Colby Lanes car made hard contact with the wall coming out of turn two after a blown right front tire, bunched up the field. On the restart Justin South made contact with the left rear of Smith, the contact spun Smith and collected second place running Michael Clancy Jr. Both Smith’s and Clancy’s cars were too damaged to continue, South was penalized by series officials and sent to the tail of the lead lap cars. The incident handed the lead to Lopez under yellow.
During the clean-up of that incident, rain drops started to fall, bringing the remaining cars to pit road to wait out the brief shower. The track was quickly dried and the field went back green for the remaining eight laps. Lopez would cruise to his first ever JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour victory, which he first celebrated with a nice front-stretch burn out.
Jordan Miller came from his 13th place starting position to finish second, his best ever CRA finish. Miller earned the FLUIDYNE Cool Under Pressure Award. Matt Maurer came from his 21st starting position to finish third in his series debut. Maurer picked up the Wheel Chill Hardcharger Award, a Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award and his crew was awarded the PitBoxes.com Pit Crew of the Race Award for fixing Maurer’s car after a hard practice crash.
Brandon Curren would come from 14th to finish in fourth. South finished in fifth place. Perry Patino finished in sixth place in the WCIParts.com sponsored car. Mason Keller finished in seventh and earned the DGR-CROSLEY Rookie of the Race Award and a Hoosier Racing Tire Performance Award. Mandy Chick finished in eighth.
The next JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Presented by Chevrolet Performance event will be the $11,000 to win Masters of the Pro’s 200 at Birch Run Speedway on Friday, June 8th. More information on the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour is available at www.cra-racing.com.