Armstrong Locks Into CRA Championship Race With Winchester WinScott Menlen
Speed51.com Story – Dalton Armstrong hasn’t had the best of luck so far this season in the ARCA/CRA Super Series, but on Monday afternoon at Winchester Speedway he finally received a little bit of help from Lady Luck. Armstrong used the misfortune of another driver to take the lead late and win his first ARCA/CRA Super Series race of the season.
With the win, Armstrong locked himself into the championship race at the Winchester 400 next month. He inherited the lead on Lap 74 after Cole Rouse had suspension issues and held off Travis Braden to pick up the win.
“I was trying to save something and not burn anything up trying to pass him (Rouse). Just waiting for something to happen and it happened, I got lucky I guess,” Armstrong told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “At the end there (Travis) Braden had a good run. I was paying attention to how far he was so I could save something just in case he got to me, I could try to pull away. I’m glad to be back in victory lane, it feels like it’s been a long time. I’m just really happy for my guys, and happy that we locked ourselves into the Winchester 400. We’re going to work towards that and see if we can get that one.”
There were multiple cautions early in the 100-lap race, but the race went the final 85 laps caution-free. Terry Fisher Jr led early, but mechanical problems knocked him several laps off the pace. Rouse would take the lead at Lap 23 and lead the middle stages of the race before a suspension issue just before the three-quarters mark forced an early exit, giving the lead to Armstrong. Armstrong took the lead on Lap 74 and led the rest of the way.
After going to the back early, 2016 Winchester 400 winner Travis Braden battled back for a second-place finish.
“Phenomenal car. We typically like to work on the bottom groove, and that wasn’t working too well for us. We went up top, thought why not, we had nothing to lose. And the top groove really started to work for me. It’s a lot of fun. I just wish he had five or six laps just to see if we could race and pass him (Armstrong).”
2016 CARS Tour champion Raphael Lessard also went to the back early in the race after a trip down pit road. He was able to rebound and finish third.
“I had a very good car. I can’t thank David Gilliland Racing enough,” Lessard said. “We had a good race going on at the beginning, but something happened on a restart, but we can’t do anything about that. We came back strong, came home third. We were too free after what had happened. It was fun, I love this place and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
With his win on Monday, Armstrong becomes the first of four ARCA/CRA Super Series drivers to lock a spot into the championship race at the Winchester 400 next month.
“It feels good. I kind of wish we would’ve had this last year because I would’ve won the points,” Armstrong said. “I’m glad that that’s how it is this year. We really deserved it; my guys have worked really hard but we’ve had nothing but bad luck. We showed speed and finally got a victory, so it feels really awesome.
The next race of the ARCA/CRA Super Series Chase will be at the Toledo Speedway (OH) on September 16 as part of the Glass City 200. That will be the final race before the championship race in the Winchester 400.
Race fans can find on-demand Trackside Now coverage of Monday’s race by clicking here.
-By Koty Geyer, Speed51.com Midwest Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com