Chase Purdy didn’t expect to win Tuesday night’s ARCA Midwest Tour Dixieland 250, but he did anyway. The Meridian, Mississippi driver took the lead from Midwest racing veteran Dan Fredrickson on a restart with 50 laps to go and never looked back on his way to scoring the $10,000 victory at Wisconsin International Raceway.
For Purdy, an 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver who competes full-time in the ARCA Racing Series, the victory was the biggest of his Late Model career.
“It was so unexpected. I never thought walking into this place that I’d have this happen to me,” Purdy admitted after the race. “This is such a surreal moment for me. I’m just in pure shock right now. I can’t thank all the guys behind me enough. Crystal and Anthony Campi, my family, the Lord above, it’s just a really cool moment for me right now.”
After qualifying 11th in time trials, Purdy benefited from a 12-car invert and started Tuesday’s race from the front row. The Anthony Campi Racing driver took command early before giving up the lead to Fredrickson on Lap 8.
NASCAR Xfinity Series racer Ty Majeski charged from his 12th starting position to take over the lead on Lap 48, but he fell off the pace on Lap 53 with a drivetrain issue, giving the lead back to Fredrickson.
Chris Weinkauf and Brent Strelka both had time at the front of the field during the middle stages of the race before Fredrickson vaulted back into the top spot on Lap 160. Fredrickson led until the caution flag waved on Lap 198, setting up a restart with less than 50 laps to go.
On the restart, Purdy jumped out to a big advantage over Fredrickson before another caution bunched up the field again with less than 30 laps to go. However, that proved to be no obstacle for Purdy, as he hit the gas and pulled away from the field to win the Dixieland 250.
“It’s just we had to start back and it was all heart. It was everything I had, especially for those last sixty laps. But that restart with thirty to go was the race deciding factor,” Purdy claimed. “That’s why I decided it was go time and had to make a move and do what I needed to do there.”
Despite having the dominant car over the final 50 laps, Purdy made sure not to count his chickens before they hatched.
“If no cautions came out, yes,” Purdy said when asked if he thought he had control of the race. “But in the back of my mind, I just kept thinking there’s gonna be a caution, there’s gonna be a caution. When there was about two to go, that’s when I thought I had it in the bag.”
After leading more laps than any other driver Tuesday night, Fredrickson settled for a disappointing second-place finish. At the conclusion of the race, he voiced his frustration about the restart with 50 laps to go that allowed Purdy to take over the lead.
“I was leading the whole race. If I jumped the guy by a foot or two they (race control) flipped out. Just because I took the outside, they’d treat me like I was the second-place car,” Fredrickson began. “Then he comes down the back straightaway and sees that they won’t let me set the pace all race, so he’s smart enough to know that he can do whatever the f--- he wants. Takes off down the back straightaway, comes down (into turn three), runs me out of the track bite and stands on the f------ throttle and looks like a hero. And they don’t throw the yellow back out.”
Fredrickson admitted that Purdy had the better car late in the race, but he was confident that he could have held him off for the victory.
“He was a little better than I was but he couldn’t pass me,” Fredrickson claimed. “I gave him the bottom nine times and he couldn’t do nothing with it. He was better than I was but he wasn’t gonna do nothing with it.”
When approached by Speed51.com, ARCA Midwest Tour officials declined to comment on the restart.
After pitting later in the race than many of the leaders, Brent Strelka charged to a third-place finish. Andrew Morrissey and John DeAnagelis completed the top five.
Other notable finishers include: ARCA Midwest Tour point leader Austin Nason (7th), defending Dixieland 250 winner Casey Johnson (16th), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter (20th) and NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ty Majeski (23rd).
Race fans can watch a full on-demand broadcast of Tuesday night’s race now on Speed51.com.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speeed51.com Editor – Twitter - @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Dixieland 250 Results
Wisconsin Int’l Raceway - August 7, 2018
1 81 Chase Purdy
2 36 Dan Fredrickson
3 52S Brent Strelka
4 39 Andrew Morrisey
5 7D John DeAngelis Jr.
6 11 Bobby Kendall
7 14 Austin Nason
8 77 Jonathan Elien
9 5B John Beale
10 75W Chris Weinkauf
11 10 Andy Monday
12 45B Rich Bickle Jr.
13 12 Sam Mayer
14 119 Dalton Zehr
15 44 Justin Mondeik
16 5J Casey Johnson
17 9C Kyle Calmes
18 8M Billy Mohn
19 34 Maxwell Schultz
20 5S Johnny Sauter
21 7S Paul Shafer Jr.
22 51 Steve Apel
23 91M Ty Majeski
24 12M Nick Murgic
25 9K Derek Kraus
26 8B Chad Butz
27 76W Jason Weinkauf
28 45V Jeff VanOudenhoven
29 43K Matt Kocourek
30 42P Dennis Prunty