Salem, IN — Veteran Indianapolis racer R.J. Norton Jr. survived a wild night for the Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Powered by JEGS at Anderson Speedway Saturday night, to pick up his first ever CRA win. Nine of the 15 event starters were involved in at least one yellow, but one of those was not Norton Jr. who was in the right place to pick up the win.
“I didn’t know if we had a car good enough to win,” Norton Jr. said of his first career CRA victory. “I’d rather be lucky than good and we were lucky tonight.”
2015 series rookie of the year Tony Brutti took full advantage of his pole starting position after Allstar Performance Fast Qualifier Jeff Marcum drew a five for the inverted start to grab the early lead. Brutti pulled away from the field to get a sizable lead while fifth place starter Marcum , the defending Anderson Speedway Late Model Champion, began to come through the field. Brutti held the lead for one restart, but on the second one at lap 25 Marcum powered by on the outside to grab the lead.
While several cars running in the top five had issues resulting in several yellow flags, Marcum was able to hold off all challenges over five restarts and built a straight away lead over Norton Jr. when disaster struck on lap 65 when Marcum’s right front tire went down. Marcum did a great job to keep his car out of the wall, his crew then made a quick tire change and got him back out for the lap 66 restart, but there just weren’t enough laps left as Norton cruised to the win. Shawn Bonar finished in second. Marcum fought his way back through the field over the last ten laps to get a third place finish. Brutti finished in fourth, with Thomas Hufford in fifth place. With his second straight top five finish, Hufford has now taken over the series points lead after two events in 2017.
Series rookie Jason Neal would finish in sixth. Former series Champion KC Spillers finished in seventh. Curtis Chapman finished in eighth in his series debut, the last car on the lead lap.
The Vore’s Welding CRA Late Model Sportsman Powered by JEGS will back in action on Sunday, May 28th in its return to Mount Lawn Speedway. More information on all the CRA Series is available at www.cra-racing.com.
-CRA Press Release
-Photo Credit: CRA