After a wild accident Sunday afternoon at Five Flags Speedway, Connor Okrzesik walked away from his beaten and battered Pro Late Model, straight to victory lane.
Okrzesik took the win in Sunday’s Allen Turner Pro Late Model season finale at the Pensacola half-mile, crossing the line just ahead of Jake Finch in a photo finish. Okrzesik and Finch collided while battling for the win, with their cars both coming to rest in turn one.
Okrzesik took fault for the incident after walking from his damaged machine in turn one to victory lane for the post-race photographs and interviews.
“I didn’t want to get into the 81 car [of Finch]. That’s my bad,” said Okrzesik. “I got loose off the corner and just freaking held it wide open trying to get there.”
As track crews loaded Okrzesik’s car onto a rollback, the Alabama native lamented not being able to properly celebrate the thrilling win.
“We got the win and can’t do a burnout because the car is torn up. That sucks. We won the race. Thanks to Mike Garvey, Sea-Tow, my guys. We finally pulled it off after so many years of trying here.”
For Finch, the son of longtime NASCAR Cup Series team owner James Finch, his Allen Turner Pro Late Model debut nearly ended with a win. Finch charged to the front in the closing laps, nearly taking the lead before a caution with two laps to go.
“The car really came to life with 30 to go,” said Finch. “With two laps to go, we were chasing him down and got to his bumper off of one and two. We were about to complete the pass, in my opinion, and the caution came out.”
Finch battled alongside Okrzesik on the final restart, coming up just short after the contact between the two combatants.
“We had that restart, chased him down, my best restart of the day. I pinched him down a little bit off of three and four to get to his door, he just got into me. He said he got loose, whatever. We’ll get after it next week. We can’t bum on it for too long.”
Stephen Nasse finished third after winning the Blizzard Series finale earlier Sunday afternoon, while JoJo Wilkinson and Charlie Keeven rounded out the top five.
Although Chris Davidson did not make it to the finish of Sunday’s 100-lapper, his 14th place finish was enough to secure the Allen Turner Pro Late Model championship over young gun Grant Thompson.
Stay tuned to Speed51.TV for post-race coverage of the Allen Turner Pro Late Model finale, including highlights and a recap of the event.
Allen Turner Pro Late Model Finale