Jake Crum and his Fathead Racing No. 8 Late Model Stock Car had the magic potion Saturday night to keep Josh Berry from a second-straight win in the Bobby Isaac Memorial 150 at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway.
That special strategic concoction put Crum, a Tennessee native, in the right position to overtake Berry on a restart inside of 20 laps remaining and cruise to victory. After starting from the pole, Crum fell back into the top five early on before using a late surge and a strong restart on the high side to claim the victory in the 39th annual running of the prestigious event at Hickory.
“(Berry) chose the outside on every restart, but he chose the bottom (on the final restart) and it played in our favor,” Crum told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the race. “I just drove it for all I had. I was sitting there thinking with five laps to go, I said with my luck the caution’s going to come out before I take the white flag. We took the white flag and I was kind of relieved that we had an eight, 10 car length lead.”
Crum added the Bobby Isaac Memorial to his short track resume that already included a victory in the prestigious Martinsville 300 Late Model Stock Car race. To win this one, however, it took the right combination of patience and confidence that helped Crum be in position to take the win late.
“I just got out front and started riding a little bit, but (Berry) started pressuring me like I figured he was going to and set his own pace; just play cat and mouse. I just let him go and I was going to let the 00 (Shane Lee) go, but (the crew) didn’t tell me that there were five or six cars in line, so I raced him hard and got around him. We just ran our pace. He got under us a couple times and I’d go for two or three laps and get away from him. We got that caution and I told Jamie (Yelton, crew chief and car owner) we were going to get to lap 110 and try to run the 88 down.”
Crum rode in Berry’s tire tracks until a late caution with 17 laps remaining. Once Crum was able to hang on Berry’s outside upon the green flag’s return, he pedaled his No. 8 car out in front and boosted his momentum going into a big Late Model double header at Hickory later this month.
“We’re going to come up here for the CARS race and try to win the big deal with the Super and the Late Model, so we were just using this as a practice,” admitted Crum. “This is a great way to start that off.”
Fifteen-year-old Tyler Ankrum used a late surge to get past Berry in the closing laps to land a second-place finish. Berry soldiered home third, while Travis Swaim and Charlie Watson rounded out the top five.
To recap the Speed51.com Trackside Now coverage presented by PFC Brakes, click here.
51 Network subscribers can hear more from Crum by clicking here for a video one-on-one interview. The 51 Network will have full race highlights from the Bobby Isaac Memorial in the coming days.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield
– Photo credit: Speed51.com