JOLIET, Ill. – NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Ryan Reed dominated en route to winning Saturday’s Scott 150 ARCA Series at Chicagoland Speedway.
Not only did he lead 70 of the 100 laps, Reed beat series regular Grant Enfinger to the finish line by a commanding six-plus second winning margin.
It was Reed’s first win in the ARCA series in 15 career starts, and his first ARCA race since the 2012 season.
“It was a lot of fun,” Reed said. “My job was easy in this thing. From the moment I hopped in it, we put a little wedge in it and called it a day. I just cruised and was real happy to get a win for these guys.”
Also, it was Reed’s second overall win of 2015, having won the Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona in February.
“I really hadn’t won since my diagnosis (of diabetes) and I wondered if I would ever win a race,” Reed said. “It’s really a special moment to sit back and think when you were told you’d never drive a race car again, and here I am racing for Jack Roush and Carlos Lira.”
This is a brand new team and it was Lira’s first win as an ARCA team owner.
Reed’s celebration in the ARCA Victory Lane Saturday was short-lived, however.
He had to shift over for the evening’s main event, the Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race, for which he was slated to start from the 14th spot. However, a fast approaching rainstorm was expected to delay the start of the second race of the evening.
Will Kimmel finished third, followed by Matt Tifft in fourth place and Frank Kimmel in fifth.
Sixth through 10th were Matt Kurzejewski, Josh Williams, Sarah Cornett-Ching, David Levine and Tom Hessert.
There were two incidents of note in the 100-lap event.
* On Lap 64, Xfinity Series rookie Daniel Suarez had to exit his car quickly when his Toyota went up in flames. He had just come off pit road when his car burst into flame in Turn 1.
* Pole-sitter Cody Coughlin spun out on Lap 14 of the scheduled 100-lap event, getting spun from behind by Tifft, who was driving the same Ken Schrader-owned Chevrolet that Ross Kenseth won in last week at Michigan International Speedway.
Then about five laps later, it appeared Coughlin cut down another tire and wrecked hard on the frontstretch, knocking himself out of the race. What started as a promising day ended in disappointment.
Travis Pastrana will attempt to make his first NASCAR Cup series race on February 19 with the grandaddy of them all, the Daytona 500, but his road to get there will not be paved and his car will have only two fenders as he tackles Florida Speedweeks and the DIRTcar Nationals.
“It’s good,” Pastrana said in a press release. “We’re going to go down, we’re going to go hangout with [NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion] Matt Crafton, one of [Black Rifle’s] drivers, we’ll go to Modified races and watch all the Late Models. We’ll watch the racing, and we’ll bring [United States military] veterans down and hangout with [Steve] Arpin.”
But there is a saying among dirt track fans that goes, ‘asphalt is for getting to the track; dirt is for racing’ – and Pastrana is taking that to heart.
After racing on the snow in Nitro Rallycross February 4-5 in Calgary, Alberta, the original plan was to head to Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida to watch the modified and late model races. Until Crafton called him out for not racing.
Pastrana relayed the conversation: “I told Crafton [I was coming to watch] and he goes, ‘Ah, too much of a sissy to drive?’ I called Arpin, and said, ‘So, Longhorn, I heard you guys have vehicles that can kick the crap out of Crafton’s vehicle.’ [Arpin] said, ‘Yeah, if you don’t suck, you can beat him.’ I said, ‘Alright, I’m in.’”
The DIRTcar Nationals run from February 6-18. The first week features six UMP Modified Mains each night they run, on Monday (Feb. 6), Friday (Feb. 10), and then the prestigious Gator Championship race on Saturday (Feb. 11). Pastrana hopes to run every night in one of Arpin’s cars, also with sponsorship from Black Riffle Coffee.
And this is not just for bragging rights; there is money on the line. Pastrana and Crafton have a $1 bet on who has the best finish.
It took a day for Pastrana to get comfortable in the modified. And it took a little coaching from Arpin, who has experience in both dirt modifieds and rally cars to make him fast.
“[Arpin] showed up the second day after hearing how bad the first day was,” Pastrana said, which is confirmed in the Instagram post embedded above. “But he just told me, until you commit, it’s not going to work. Once I committed, it started making a lot of sense. But coming in, if you’re lifting off the gas while trying to turn, it just doesn’t turn and all your natural instincts say, ‘Don’t get on the gas.’ So, yeah, I feel like it should suit my driving style because I’m more of an aggressive sideways type of driver, but it was very difficult. Turning and sliding, I’m fine. Getting it there is not the easiest.”
Pastrana has one previous start in a dirt late model that came in the 2010 Prelude to the Dream. He finished 23rd in the 27-car field and was three laps off the pace. He wasn’t the only driver having difficulty getting a feel for the car that night; Jeff Gordon finished on the same lap, only one position ahead of him.
The price of the weekend could well exceed the dollar he may lose to Crafton.
“It’s going to be an expensive weekend,” Pastrana said. “Not everything is covered. If I crash anything, it is going to be all on me. This is one of those things where I want to come down and have fun. I want to hang out with the crowd, I want to sign autographs and give high fives. Especially for the Modified crew, that’s the grassroots racing that I love and some of my friends are involved with. We’ll be camping down there with Arpin and all the Longhorn guys, just hanging out. I feel like that’s a great opportunity for us to bring a lot of [US] veterans and bring people that are into racing and aren’t into racing, friends and family, and just have an awesome time.”
And it’s not out of the question that Pastrana could add another top-10 to his record book in the DIRTcar Nationals. After the rocky first day, Pastrana gained speed. Enough so that Arpin’s confidence was raised.
“We’re pretty confident Crafton is going to have to run hard to keep his dollar,” Arpin said.