Atkinson Takes CRA Shady Bowl Four Crown RaceZach Hiser
DeGraff (OH) – With just five laps to go in the Spring Has Sprung 150 lap contest at Shady Bowl Speedway Saturday night, Jason Atkinson would muscle his way to the top spot when then leader Brett Hudson got stuck on the outside of Buck Purtee, the last car on the lead lap. With Purtee as a pick the trio sailed down the back stretch three wide into turn three as Purtee would push up and Hudson would make slight contact with the outside concrete wall as Atkinson stuck on the bottom and just drove right on by. From there it was just hit his marks and Atkinson would gather the checkered flag for the Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks first Four Crown event of the 2021 season.
“This is a big win for me and my team,” noted Atkinson. “It was so really hard to pass on the outside here tonight, but the track was really good, simply hard to pass. All these cars are great cars, it’s tough to beat these guys,” finished the Indiana native driver.
Chad Pendleton would set fast time of the 38-car Allstar Performance qualifying session with a lap of 14.825, as Atkinson was second quick with a lap of 14.943, the only two cars under the 15 second mark. Pendleton would draw an eight for the inversion putting Matt Barnes on the pole with Hudson on the outside of the front row.
Hudson would fire off to the top spot from the get-go as Barnes tried to stay up in second, but it was short lived as Ryan Amonett and Andrew Teepe both sweep by into the top three positions. Just ten laps in and Pendleton had sailed from eighth to second and bared down on then leader Hudson. A yellow flag would force the mandate double file restart and from the outside Pendleton forced his way to the lead and immediately opened as he willed his way around the famed Ohio oval.
Ultimately, Pendleton would tow the field to the pit area at the lap 75 halfway ten minute break for the crews to make car adjustments and add fuel, but no new tires allowed. 22 of the original 30 starters would realign for the money half of the contest with as the ten-minute break was now the record books and off they would go as Pendleton squirted out on top with Atkinson second and Hudson right there in third. Just two laps in and Atkinson would look to the outside of Pendleton and Hudson would squeeze into the hole Atkinson left at the bottom just getting into the back of Pendleton getting him out of shape. As Pendleton slid up taking Atkinson with him Hudson drove on by now the new leader. The yellow would drop again when a car made hard contact with the front stretch wall, and Pendleton would charge into the pit are with a flat tire.
A quick tire change and Pendleton would restart on the tail. At one point, as Hudson was out front, Atkinson would drop to third before regaining his composure and first regain the second position and then reel in Hudson. Not long after the fated move with the Purtee car doomed Hudson and Atkinson took full advantage and never looked back. Pendleton would charge from the tail for a third-place finish behind Atkinson and Hudson, earning the KRJ Race Products Sweet Move of the Race Award. Teepe would finish fourth as Alan Williams Jr. rounded out the top five from his 14th place starting position.
“The longer we ran the better we were, we just needed the long green flag runs. I knew the longer we ran they would come back to me. Big win especially coming off the win at Anderson (IN) Speedway, we have finished second here in this race three times. So, to finally win feels good. I have to thank all the people that helped me get here. Without them this would not be possible. We plan to run all the CRA races this year,” finished Atkinson.
Brian Hopkins was the winner of the 15 lap last chance race to transfer in to the field along with second place Dallas Frueh. James Wayne and Matthew Parsons were additional starters added by track promoter Rick Young.
The next Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks event will be the GAS/CRA Challenge at Salem Speedway on Saturday, May 15th. More information on all the CRA Series is available at www.cra-racing.com.
Story – Todd Ridgeway
Photo – John Lund