Following a late race restart, Kyle Crump of Brighton, MI pushed race leader Austin Nason up the track with two laps remaining and pulled away to claim the biggest victory of his career.
“What a race at the end, man. I was even with him on the straightaway, he kind of ran me up in three and four and opened the door up for me to get him back. What a finish. I can’t believe this. Someone asked me what it would feel like to win this race and I honestly had no idea. This is so amazing. You watch this race as a race fan, a race car driver.” – Kyle Crump
“On that restart, he stuck to my outside and we rubbed a little bit. But I guess rubbing is racing and racing isn’t the same as we do in the Midwest,” Nason said of the contact. “You don’t just drive into one and root the guy out of the way. I guess we’ll race that way the next time we come here and we’ll win it.”
For the majority of the 400-lap race on Monday night, former race winner Dalton Armstrong appeared to be the driver to beat. After taking the lead from defending Redbud winner Carson Hocevar on Lap 89, Armstrong dominated the middle portion of the event before lining up next to Hocevar on a restart with 30 laps to go.
On the restart, Armstrong and Hocevar made contact as they crossed under the green flag. The two cars continued to make contact down the fronstretch into turn one, which resulted in Hocevar spinning into the outside wall. After reviewing the incident, Champion Racing Association (CRA) officials penalized Armstrong for the incident and put him as the last car on the lead lap.
“We had a dominant car, definitely the fastest car. We dominated the whole race,” Armstrong told Speed51. “Pretty much the 71 (Hocevar) jumped the start, we were side-by-side racing hard, he gets close to the wall and comes down on me. It’s just a racing deal or whatever and they penalize me and take me all the way to the back with not many laps to go.”
“Everybody is going really hard and we’re all fighting. It’s a tight little bullring, we’re all fighting really hard. Things happen and people make mistakes. I feel like I got threw up in the fence. It’s no big deal in the sense that I’m going to be mad and want to fight him or anything. It sucks for Tom; he has a junked race car. We didn’t have the car to win; (Armstrong) did. I didn’t think he really needed to do it. I think it cost him more than it did me in the sense of winning the race.”
It wasn’t over there. Armstrong began driving his way back to the front of the field before making contact with Stephen Nasse while battling for the runner-up position. After contact from Armstrong sent him up the race track, Nasse retaliated by getting into the back of Armstrong and sending him for a spin cycle in turn three. Nasse was penalized by CRA officials for his role in the incident.
“It’s unfortunate the mishaps the 5 (Armstrong) had there to have to go to the rear, but you’ve got to know you can’t drive through the field like an idiot and run people over,” Nasse said. “You’ve got to be able to race around them, and I think he had a fast enough where he could’ve passed me three times over again. When he goes in there and lifts me off the ground three times, it’s going to end up pissing me off. I don’t know what he was thinking, and I knew he knew it was coming probably. I wish he would’ve hit that fence a little bit and messed that car up more.”
“I had a way faster car than everybody and everyone wants to be a little baby when they don’t have a fast car,” Armstrong said. “I get out of their way when it’s their turn to win. (Nasse) spins me out and I don’t get my position back.”
The altercation between Armstrong and Nasse gave Kyle Crump, who at one point in the race was a lap down after stopping on the track with a flat tire, a chance to line up to the outside of Nason for the final restart. The two drivers remained side-by-side for the first half of the lap before Nason nudged ahead after making slight contact with Crump in turn three.
As the lead duo crossed the line with two laps to go, Crump snuck in behind Nason’s No. 14 and shoved him up the race track in turn one. As Nason veered towards the wall, Crump dove to the bottom of the race track and drove away to the checkered flag.
“We had a really great piece. It wasn’t as good as the 4 car (Armstrong) on the long runs, but we just kept fighting and fighting and fighting,” Crump said. “We got a flat tire and I thought our race was over, but the good ol’ Redbud 400 with a ton of cautions, we were able to get our lap back.”
Sammy Smith snuck through the late-race chaos to finish second, while Nason held on to complete the podium. Former ARCA/CRA Super Series champion Greg Van Alst finished fourth and Stephen Nasse bounced back from his late-race penalty to round out the top five.
A full race replay of the 55th Annual Redbud 400 at Anderson Speedway will be available to watch Tuesday morning on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Director of Content – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51