Dalton Armstrong led every one of the 50 laps in Friday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of the North/South Super Late Model Challenge, but down the stretch Travis Braden made him earn the victory.
Braden stalked the Indiana driver in the closing laps, getting to Armstrong’s back bumper in the waning circuits, but Armstrong held him off at the checkers for the first points-paying Super Series race of the 2016 season.
“I could see in my rear view mirror that (Braden) was driving in (the turns) deep, so I was trying to beat him off the corner and I was able to hold him off,” said Armstrong. “I had a decent lead. Every time someone would lean up towards me, Id just run a little harder without abusing the car. All in all, we had a pretty decent racecar.”
Braden, even as he reeled in the leader, knew that the old racing adage that catching Amrstrong was one thing, but passing him would have been another.
“I felt like my pace was the same but every now and then he’d fall off, but then he’d take off again,” said Braden. “I kind of knew there was no way I could drive past him. I knew we were clear behind us, so wherever we start tomorrow would be pretty good, so if something happened I’d take it. I honestly didn’t think I could pass him.”
With their one-two finish Friday, both Armstrong and Braden will have prime up-front starting spots in the 75-lap North/South Challenge combination feature with the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco, which held their individual 50-lap event following the CRA show Friday.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” said Armstrong. “All these (crew) guys put a lot of hard work into this car. I’m satisfied that we were able to start off the year with a win and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
“The car felt really good all day and we had decent speed, but track position is everything and hopefully finishing second helps us for tomorrow,” added Braden. “We’ll have a good enough car to hopefully run for the win.”
The top-12 in the ARCA/CRA Super Series event Friday transferred to the 75-lapper Saturday with the remaining drivers left to hope to qualify through Saturday’s last-chance race. The last-chance event as well as the 75-lap main event, the North/South Super Late Model Challenge, can be viewed via a live video stream on Speed51.com.
To recap the entire day’s action at Nashville, click here to replay the Speed51.com Trackside Now coverage.
-By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @mattkentfield
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Bruce Nuttleman