Connor Okrzesik scored a breakthrough win, taking the checkered flag and shocking a star-studded field of Super Late Model drivers in the ARCA/CRA Super Series 200-lap feature to close out CRA SpeedFest 2019 at Crisp Motorsports Park (GA).
The 17-year-old Alabama driver who had routinely competed with some of the best Super Late Model drivers in the Southeast and Gulf Coast region picked up a signature victory, holding off NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch on a late-race restart for the win.
The caution flew with seven laps remaining in the event after Tate Fogleman spun off the race track in turn three and collected the tire barrier. On the ensuing restart, Okrzesik held off Busch to take the win.
“It means an absolute ton for us to get this win,” Okrzesik told Speed51. “We’ve been chasing wins. Thirds, seconds all over the place. We just hadn’t been able to quite pull off that big win. That win came today in really big fashion. I’m really, really ecstatic that we got this win. It means a ton for us.”
The win is especially sweet for Okrzesik, competing with some of the big-name drivers and teams in Late Model racing as a young, up-and-coming driver.
“It feels good,” Okrzesik said. “I’m like, half the age of Busch or something like that. There’s a lot of older drivers out there. Being on a low-budget team, not a shoestring but a lower budget than KBM, Toyota Racing, or any of those guys, it’s really sweet to get this win.”
Kyle Busch finished second in the race, making an appearance in an event he has won three-times. Busch rebounded from a suboptimal qualifying effort to score the runner-up finish.
“We were really bad in qualifying,” Busch said. “Our car was terrible there. A couple of guys ran some really good laps in the .70s and we were stuck in the .90s. I knew we were going to have a struggle in qualifying, but once the race started I knew we had a good race car. Guys worked really, really hard this weekend. The Mobil 1 Camry was good, we just could never get it exactly where we wanted it.
“It was always just a little too tight or a little too loose,” Busch added. “We tried everything, we wholesaled it, we threw the kitchen sink at it on both pit stops trying to make improvements.”
Busch was congratulatory towards Okrzesik on his first career Super Late Model win.
“The 14, Connor and those guys did a great job,” Busch said. “They were hauling butt today. Fun to see these younger guys going fast and doing well, and sucks to finish second to them. Overall, we had fun and that’s what it’s about.”
Race fans who missed CRA SpeedFest 2019 have several methods to see Saturday’s action. Click here to view our Trackside Now updates from the day. A full, on-demand broadcast of the event will also be available Monday on Speed51.com.
Alternatively, an enhanced broadcast of the race, including on-board cameras and pit reports, will be shown on Speed51’s Short Track America on MAVTV at a later date. Stay tuned for more details regarding that broadcast.
ARCA/CRA Super Series CRA SpeedFest Super Late Model 200 Unofficial Results
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com