Eight one-thousandths of a second. That’s all that separated the top two finishers Saturday night in the Brandon Ford Wheelman Sportsman Series 75-lap race at Citrus County Speedway (FL).
When the dust settled and scoring was reviewed, Brandon Morris scored the thrilling victory over Joe Winchell at the line.
In a race of attrition that started with 24 cars and finished with eight, fans that stuck around to see the finish got their money’s worth.
Restarting the race with three laps to go, Winchell led the field to green, pulled out in front and looked like he was ready to set sail to collect his first checkered flag of the season. But Morris had other plans, getting Winchell loose off of turn two to set up a drag race off of turn four for the win.
“I feel like Joe used me up off (turn) two, the tires were burned up at that point in time and we got a caution, so when we restarted, he cleared me. I feel like I barely got in the back of him,” Morris said in victory lane. “I feel like if he didn’t have the wheel so far turned to the left trying to protect the bottom, he would have not gone sideways and then he might have won the race.”
When asked if Morris knew if he had won, he didn’t have any doubt.
“Yeah, I know it was close,” he said. “I was looking at his left front and I knew I had a run on him, so thank God we did. I heard it was like eight one-thousandths of a second or something, I know it was close, but we got it. It is what it is.”
Joe Winchell was noticeably upset post race, feeling Morris used him up coming to the line.
“I just kinda feel like I got used up a little bit. I gave him the room and he just decided to do that, but I’m not crying about it,” Winchell said. “It’s hard racing, it’s a 75 lap race, everybody wants to win it and we just play hard. You know, Brandon’s a good racer and I should’ve protected myself a little bit better than I did. I thought I had him, but it is what it is. We came from 13th, we didn’t touch nobody and I’m proud of that and we got moved by somebody who did it a little bit different.”
Later in the evening, Winchell would be disqualified for a suspension infraction, giving the second-place position to Dillon Sivils.
“Well, the race was great. We definitely started off with a good car Friday night at practice,” Sivils said. “I had a lot of confidence in it and then going into it today of course, the same thing. The car held together, kept its mind right, so I was confident to start in the race, but of course we have heavy competition around here, so you can’t overthink it.”
The Brandon Ford Wheelman Series will return to Citrus County Speedway for round six of 12 on May 25 for 50 laps.
Race fans who couldn’t make it out to Citrus County Speedway Saturday night can watch a full on-demand replay of the broadcast, including the thrilling photo finish, on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @ajorgensen24
Wheel Man Series Race #5 Unofficial Results
Citrus County Speedway (FL) – April 27, 2019