If you’re going to win your first race in a series as competitive as the ARCA/CRA Super Series, doing so in front of your hometown fans is the way to go. At least that was the case Saturday for Brandon Oakley.
The 20-year-old Oakley claimed his first CRA victory in front of a grandstand packed with his supporters Saturday at Kil-Kare Speedway in Xenia, Ohio about a 10 minute drive from Oakley’s hometown of Beavercreek.
Oakley had earned multiple feature wins in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model events at Kil-Kare in recent seasons, but his first touring series win in his 20th career CRA start came in dominating fashion, as he was quickest in practice and also set fast time for the 125-lap feature.
“This has been a long time coming, to win my first CRA Super Series Race here in front of all my family and friends,” said Oakley. “That’s what this is all about.”
“We’ve been trying so hard since we got into the Super Series and we had such a great car here today.”
Oakley started deep in the field after drawing a nine for the post-qualifying inversion, but it wasn’t long until he made his way to the front. Bill Burba lead the first quarter of the race until he and Rookie of the Year contender Paul Shafer made contact and were both sent to the tail of the field.
That opened up the door for Oakley to continue his mission to the front. The only thing stopping him was Germantown, Ohio driver Kyle Jones, who also is very familiar with the Kil-Kare oval. Jones showed the way until Oakley powered by on lap 67.
After clearing Jones, Oakley found that current CRA point leader Travis Braden was beating down his door in an attempt for his third victory of the season. In the final stages of the race Oakley gained ground and was able to bring home the victory in the short 36-minute race.
Braden, who finished second, was neither pleased nor disappointed with his runner-up finish.
“We had a good car, it was fast,” said Braden. “I think if we had been in the lead he (Oakley) would have had a hard time passing us like we had a hard time passing him.”
Braden lengthened his points lead over Ross Kenseth, who finished fourth.
“Our car just wasn’t enough today but I am still pleased with the efforts by my team,” added Braden.
The season continues with only two races left in the 2014 season for the ARCA/CRA Super Series. The next race will be at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, IN on Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28, for the McGunegill Engine Performance CRA Fall Brawl 100.
– By Mikayla Kugler, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent. Photo credit: Speed51.com