For the second time this year, Hunter Baize parked his car in victory lane, and this time he did so in dominating fashion. Baize started from the pole and led almost all of the 125 laps at Michigan’s quarter-mile oval of Flat Rock Speedway.
“This was awesome for us and our whole crew. I’m really happy that we got it done again tonight,” Baize told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.com
He qualified fifth, but started from the pole thanks to the five-position invert. Grant Quinlan set fast time for the second straight race and pulled the pill out of the bag to determine the inversion.
Baize, the 17-year-old rookie from Kentucky, quickly established himself at the front of the field over Dan Leeck. Then he made sure he stayed out front.
He faced challenges from Brian Campbell all race long, and another challenge from Leeck in the closing laps. But he was able to survive each one to score his second win of the season.
“They’re some of the best drivers in Late Model racing,” said Baize. “I have to thank them so much for running me cleanly. They could have put the bumper to me but they didn’t.”
Leeck, the 2014 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour champion, made a rare appearance in the ARCA/CRA Super Series and it was a successful one for him, as he heads home with a second-place finish.
“I believe in clean racing,” Leeck said. “The only way to win that one was to give him the bumper. The bottom was the preferred groove the whole race. I saved my stuff there, so it wasn’t like I used everything up. I think we were a little better, but he already had the position and he was on the bottom. I’m happy with a second place run. It was a great effort for our first time being here.”
After taking home the checkered flag, Hunter Baize closed the gap between himself and points leader Grant Quinlan with just five races remaining. Baize is now just 18 points behind, when going into the event he was 30 points to the negative of Quinlan.
“We’d love to win the championship,” Baize said. “Grant is a phenomenal racer. We’ve been battling him all year, so we’ll see what we can do. But I’m just glad to get win number two.”
For an on-demand replay of Saturday night’s Trackside Now coverage presented by PFC brakes from Flat Rock Speedway, click here: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-arcacra-super-series-at-flat-rock-2/
Speed51.com will have highlights from Saturday night’s race in the coming days on the 51 Network.
-By Mikayla Kugler, Speed51.com Correspondent – Twitter: @MikaylaKugler
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
ARCA/CRA Super Series 7-UP 125
Flat Rock Speedway, Carleton, Michigan
|9||33||Wes Griffith Jr|
|10||23||Eddie Van Meter|