Jason Atkinson knew he had a good car on Saturday night at Anderson Speedway (IN), but he didn’t know it would be as dominant as it was. Atkinson, who entered the night as the CRA Street Stocks powered by JEGS points leader, led wire-to-wire to take the Anderson 75 victory and pad his lead in the championship standings.
He expressed surprise at his dominant performance in victory lane.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that good,” said Atkinson. “It wasn’t very good at the beginning. I was just trying to save and save, and about two cautions from the end, it really came on. We must’ve hit it right for the end of the race.”
Atkinson led the race from the beginning after quick-time setter Calvin Parham drew a five-car invert for the feature, fending off multiple challenges on restarts to maintain his lead.
Atkinson admitted that restarts were critical.
“You can’t let the guy pin you down on the bottom and take your momentum away, and you just can’t get up off of the corner,” said Atkinson.
James Kirby III overcame a poor qualifying effort and vehicle issues to finish in second.
“At the start, (the car) wasn’t running very good, but I just drove it,” said Kirby. “A manifold pipe broke, and it started backfiring pretty bad, but I just kept driving it, because it didn’t lose oil pressure. I drove up to second, and just took the spots I could.”
When asked if he had anything for Atkinson, Kirby III was brutally honest.
“No… (The car) wasn’t fast enough to catch Jason (Atkinson),” said Kirby. “He was pretty fast, and it wasn’t handling good enough, either.”
Parham would come home in third.
“We had a pretty good night,” said Parham. “We started off with fast times, in practice, fast qualifier. With the invert, we got a five. The car didn’t stay under me as good as I’d like it to.
“There at the end, I had a start on the restarts on the outside every time, and I just couldn’t get enough grip up there. I’d spin the tires, or I just didn’t have anything getting off.”
Despite being unable to capitalize on a fast car, Parham remained optimistic.
“I got third place. We’ll take it,” said Parham. “I’ll come back for the 200, and maybe I’ll set it on the pole again and hopefully get that $3000 check.”
Five cautions fell during the night’s second 75-lap, including three cautions during the final 12 laps. The red flag fell once on lap 64, giving track workers time to clean up leaked oil from the No. 29 of Mason Keller.
The Stealth Trailers CRA Street Stocks Powered by JEGS will return to Anderson Speedway on June 27 for the Pull-A-Part 200, race three of the CRA Street Stock Triple Crown Series.
-By Aaron Bearden, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com