Stephen Wallace knocked out the family goliath Saturday night, winning the ARCA/CRA Super Series Redbud 400 in dramatic fashion at Anderson Speedway (IN). Wallace used a bump-and-run move on Canadian driver Raphael Lessard in the closing laps to score the victory.
The two drivers shared opposing feelings about how the race concluded. From victory lane, Wallace felt like he couldn’t let Lessard have an easy win.
“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 s--- out of our cars, but they’re all in one piece and we won the race.”
Lessard, on the other hand, was not shocked by Wallace’s tactics.
“At the end we had that race won," Lessard told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. "I passed him on that last restart, and then he did what Steve Wallace does. I pretty much knew he was going to do that. In fifty laps I could have passed him very easy. Could have touched him very easy. On that last restart he almost dumped me. It is what it is, we’ll come back stronger. I’ll keep this in mind, I’ll remember what he did to me. If I have to do it next time, we’ll see.”
The Redbud 400, extended 100 laps since last year’s running of the annual event, saw a quick field with 22 cars within .6 seconds in qualifying. Contact would become the storyline of the night’s racing at the quarter-mile bullring in Anderson, IN.
Jeff Choquette dominated early, pulling away from Johnny VanDoorn before catching lapped traffic. But those slower cars battling for position would end Choquette’s night in the second quarter of racing. Choquette was erased after making contact with Jack Smith, ending his night early
Choquette told Speed51.com powered by JEGS that he would have done something differently if he had been the lap car.
“Several lappped cars tried to race really hard. I don’t know if that’s something normal here, but they raced me hard hard," Choquette explained. "I got to Jack Smith, and I don’t know if he couldn’t choose a lane, but I tried to roll the outside but I was on the brakes so hard and got in the back of him. Turned him right in front of me and had nowhere to go, collected me up into the wall. Sucks to lose a race racing a lapped car.”
After the leaders cycled through pit stops, Lessard and Wallace would lead. The two battled throughout the second half of the race, but the racing got much harder following a late caution. With five green flag laps to go, Lessard and Wallace traded paint heavily through the turns. Wallace was able to use the high line to his advantage to close out the win, while contact with Lessard sent the Canadian driver back to fifth place.
“We had a good car. I don’t show a lot of speed early in races. The longer a race is, the better my stuff handles. It was just wild as hell," Wallace stated. "You’re here at a quarter mile bull ring, what else do you expect? That was good old beating and banging there for the last five laps for the win.”
The win is one that he can now hold over his uncle Kenny Wallace and father Rusty Wallace.
“Well my dad tried here a bunch of times, and my uncles, and everybody, and that was the Redbud 300, this was the Redbud 400. I was talking to my uncle Kenny last night, he said his last time he was here he ran second to Dick Trickle in 1987, my dad tried here in 1989. To have one up on my old man is pretty cool.”
According to Speed51.com’s The Third Turn, Kenny Wallace finished second to Dick Trickle in the Anderson 400 sanctioned by ASA. Rusty Wallace finished second three consecutive years, in 1982, 1983 and 1984.
“All my boys busted their tails and turned the car around in eight hours. Worked until three or four in the morning. Our truck broke down four times on the way back up here. To come out of here with a win is pretty cool. You’ll see us up here at all these Triple Crown races.”
Race fans can watch an on-demand replay of Saturday's Redbud 400 broadcast on the Speed51 Network by clicking here.
The ARCA/CRA Super Series continues on, with its next visit at Lucas Oil Raceway Park (IN) on Friday, July 21. Super Late Models will then return to Kil-Kare in Ohio on Sunday, July 30.
-By Patrick Hahe, Speed51.com State Editor IN / MI / OH
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Redbud 400 Results
Anderson Speedway (IN) - June 24, 2017
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