Daniel Hemric used a call to change four tires at the halfway break of Saturday’s Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300 at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway – plus a little luck – to score the $10,000 ARCA/CRA Super Series victory.
Hemric received damage in a first-lap crash that hurt the handling of his Carswell Motorsports No. 98 Super Late Model in its first 150 circuits. Hanging onto a top-10 spot at the halfway break, Hemric and his crew decided to put four new tires on, which would restart his car behind the cars that took fewer tires, such as Bubba Pollard.
Pollard had been in command both before and after the race’s halfway break, but decided to take two tires in order to hold his track position. Pollard restarted second, on the outside of Rick Turner, and reclaimed the lead quickly.
Hemric restarted outside the top-10, but picked up more than a handful of positions when several cars crashed in turn three after the race’s halfway point. With some of the cars separating Pollard and Hemric being taken out of contention in one incident, Hemric had less real estate to make up with his fresh tires. He took the lead from Pollard with 22 laps to go and held off both Pollard and a hard-charging Travis Braden for the $10,000 victory.
“In the first 150, we had lost five or six spots on restarts being really tight,” said Hemric. “We took the four (tires) and we only lost three or four spots of track position and we thought at the end of the race it was going to pay off. The way my row fired after the break, it really enabled us to roll the bottom and get by cars. The next thing I know I’m up to sixth or seventh. It was really just good fortune that we were on the bottom when everyone got together on the top with about 100 to go.
“(Bubba) was really good, but I got to a point where I was catching him slowly but surely. I was on the bottom and I stalled out. I couldn’t go any further forward. I kind of started easing off and when I got to the top, we started clicking off (lap times) a quarter of a second faster. That was really the difference for me – being able to blow the top off and use it at the end of the race.”
Hemric withstood a few bumper-taps from his Southern Super Series rival in the final five laps, but held strong.
“I was a little nervous on the last restart. He was doing all he could do to get by me and I was doing all I could to get away from him. It was a heck of a show.
“To win a race nowadays means a lot. I’m really fortunate to do it with Jake and Deanna Carswell. It’s huge to win this race. I’m just really fortunate to be in this position.”
Pollard was passed by Travis Braden in the final laps, leaving him third. The strong No. 26 car for Pollard was the class of the field for most of the 300-lap affair, but the two-tire call and some attrition aided in his defeat.
“If the whole field wouldn’t have crashed, it would’ve been fine,” said Pollard. “Hell the whole field crashed and he’s sitting there fourth with four tires. What are you supposed to do? I don’t mind getting out-run when someone’s got a better racecar than I do. That’s part of racing. I can get better. I can handle that. I can’t handle getting beat by tires. That’s why I’m frustrated.”
Pollard, who has won championships and races throughout the Southeast, has put a focus on proving his meddle in races north of the Mason-Dixon Line in recent seasons. He’s run well at races such as the Redbud 300 in the past, but Saturday’s best shot at victory still wasn’t enough to hold off Hemric’s four tire stretch run.
“I’m going to win up north. It’s just a matter of time,” Pollard said matter-of-factly.
2013 ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion shook off past bad luck at Anderson to score a second-place finish.
“I thought it was cautions quit counting at 10 to go instead of five,” said Braden of his late hustle to the runner-up spot. “If that would’ve been the case, obviously I would’ve gotten by Bubba and I would’ve had five laps to chase Daniel down. It would’ve been hard and at the best I think I would’ve caught him on the last lap. He’s a good racer and I wouldn’t have wrecked Daniel, but for (a chance at) $100,000, I’d have to do something. It would’ve been cool to see anyway.”
Former Redbud 300 winner Steve Dorer finished fourth with Brandon Oakley in fifth.
The ARCA/CRA Super Series returns to action on Saturday, June 28th with the JEGS 125 at Ohio’s Columbus Motor Speedway.
– By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director – Twitter: @MattKentfield
|Unofficial Redbud 300 Finish
ARCA/CRA Super Series
Anderson Speedway (IN)
Photo Credit: R&S Photos