Former ARCA/CRA Super Series champion Greg Van Alst topped the charts in practice with a time of 12.324. The Anderson native put down his lap during his last run of the day as practice was winding down.
Van Alst won his first-career Super Late Model race at Anderson back in May, despite it coming four days after the checkered flag flew due to a failed tire test for Dalton Armstrong. Two months removed from that maiden win, he looks to knock down the big race at his home track.
“This car’s pretty good and it might be a little bit better tomorrow when we sticker up. The CB Fabricating Chevrolet is pretty good, it seems to rotate the center pretty good,” Van Alst told Speed51. “I’m pretty happy with it.”
Reigning ARCA Menards Series West champion Jesse Love trailed just behind Van Alst in the Wimmer Motorsports No. 21. While Van Alst has ample experience at the quarter-mile, Love had not seen the facility until Sunday’s open practice.
Love has been on a hot streak as of recent, winning with ARCA West and a local Super Late Model feature at Slinger Super Speedway. He hopes to continue that momentum with a strong run at the Redbud.
“I’m really looking forward to it, we have a great race car. The track was weird with the rain and we went out a little bit later when it was fast,” Love said. “It should be a great field of race cars and I think it’ll be a fun race tomorrow. The track’s really cool, I had fun on my first laps around the track.”
Kody Swanson is another driver with tons of experience at Anderson – just not in a Super Late Model. One night removed from a Glen Niebel Classic win in a Sprint Car, the three-time Little 500 winner jumped into the Team Platinum No. 26 for his first laps around Anderson with a fendered car.
While the Redbud will be his first Super Late Model race at the facility, he isn’t worried about the extra distance given his past experience with USAC Silver Crown races and the Little 500.
“I think just the length of the race, I mean it’s 100 laps shorter [than the Little 500] but with it still being longer, it’s still about taking care of your equipment and tires and staying out of trouble is important on your mind,” Swanson stated. “I’ve only gotten a few laps here in a Late Model and it’s definitely different even just getting around the track by yourself. I’m sure traffic will be a challenge but I’m looking forward to the race and learning it. Hopefully we can keep our nose clean and be up front at the end.”
Defending race winner Carson Hocevar did not turn a single lap all practice despite being in attendance. He had brought out the TK Racing No.71 just before a passing shower passed over the track, but the team opted to stay put once the session resumed.
He has yet to lose a race while driving the TK Racing machine, having won last year’s Redbud 400 as well as the Winchester 400 and the Money in the Bank 150 with the team. With Sunday’s limited practice, Hocevar believes it will ultimately play to his advantage.
“We brought the same car and the same sort of setup. I think the limited practice is only going to help us out, we’ve got such a good baseline here and the less time for everyone else to catch up, the better. We rushed out just before it started raining just with new brakes, new clutch, a few other new things on the car just to shake it down.”
Monday night’s ARCA/CRA Super Series Redbud 400 will be broadcasted live on Speed51.TV. Click here to watch live.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo