WHEATLAND, Mo. — official release — Rob Kocak photo — For the 45th time in his career, Tim Crawley parked in Victory Lane with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV American Real, taking night one of the fourth annual Jesse Hockett / Daniel McMillin Memorial at the Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Mo.
Crawley’s third win at the “Diamond of Dirt Tracks”, the Mike Ward Racing No. 88 led from start-to-finish in Friday’s Protect the Harvest A-Feature event.
Challenged in the final laps by Jeff Swindell, the R&A Farms No. 94 slipped a nose under Crawley with two laps to run, but taking to the cushion, Crawley took off to a half straight-away advantage in the final laps..
“When you start on the pole, sometimes it’s your race to lose. You just can’t really tell what’s going on behind you.” commented Crawley. “I think the top just go so far around and I saw Jeff’s nose get underneath me – I done led this whole thing and I wanted this trophy real bad so I was going to get it back in front.”
Racing for second, Jeff Swindell and Wayne Johnson exchanged slide-jobs for a bit as the pair started to close on Crawley before a caution brought the field single file on Lap 13 for Aaron Reutzel, who stopped atop turn four with heavy smoke and fire under the hood of the No. 87.
Reutzel was ok, and was scored twenty-second at the finish.
With clear racetrack and a lapped car between himself and Swindell, the three time National Champion again jumped to a commanding lead. Racing to the back-markers on Lap 18, Crawley’s advantage shrunk as Swindell worked the bottom line.
Showing his nose to Crawley, the No. 94 shot nearly even exiting the second turn. Holding for a moment, Crawley’s run off the cushion was more than the low side could handle.
Changing up his line, Crawley split lapped cars on the final lap for the win while Wayne Johnson snuck by for second.
“Just to be locked in here is great. Jesse was a good friend of mine, and this means we have a shot tomorrow,” Johnson expressed. “We get to start in the first four rows of this thing, but we need to work on this car. It was dragging the left-rear too much on entry, and taking way too long to get going but hats off to Crawley, he was rolling there.”
Sam Hafertepe, Jr. also worked by the No. 94 on the final lap to claim the final podium step. Asked about the race with Swindell on the final lap, Swindell said he expected Swindell to hug the short way around.
“I thought he was going to stick to the bottom there, but I think his line just went away there. He tried to pinch it down into three, which is what you’re supposed to do, but I think Johnny was coming there too and made it all that harder to pull back around.”
From tenth, Johnny Herrera did work by Swindell for the final transfer into Saturday’s A-Feature. Swindell ended up completing the top five.
Brad Loyet settled for sixth with Jack Dover seventh. Roger Crockett crossed eighth with Jonathan Cornell ending up ninth, coming from thirteenth in the Elk Grove Ford No. 17. After taking a provisional into the A-Feature, Tony Bruce, Jr. climbed from twenty-forth to complete the top ten.
The fourth annual Jesse Hockett / Daniel McMillin Memorial continues Saturday, September 27 with races getting underway at 6:30 P.M. (CT).
For more information, log onto http://www.lucasoilspeedway.com.