By Tom Giannini
(JOLIET, IL) The racers were out in Joliet, Illinois for the final race of the 2017 Sam Maxwell Customs regular season. For several drivers in the midst of the points battle for the Chase clinching 8th position, there was an added level of anxiety mounting before the drop of the green flag. After the shocking pre-race announcement that Sam Maxwell would step aside from Chase competition due to a conflict of interest, the Chase bubble seat got red hot with Tom Giannini and Kevin Mingus chasing Michael Atkins and Jonathan Holstein for the final two spots in the Chase.
The race could not have started better for Atkins as the driver of the #44 put his Jim Foose Motorsports Chevrolet on the pole for the afternoon’s race. Jordan Ashelin would flank Atkins to the outside of row one followed by Mitch Brown, Devin Serra and Jake Douglas.
The race would prove to be a competitive one as 6 drivers would pace the field for at least one lap.
Trouble would find three of the four bubble position competitors as Michael Atkins and Jonathan Holstein were both involved in wrecks throughout the event. Tom Giannini would be caught a lap down during a strategy move to short pit. Giannini would finish 12th, Mingus 13th, Atkins 17th and Holstein finished 26th. Combine Holstein and Atkins’ lead over Giannini and Mingus with Giannini and Mingus’ sub-par finish, the race for the final two transfer positions went to Holstein and Atkins.
The real story on the night would prove to be the epic race for the lead in the closing laps. Jake Douglas and Dominic Lee would have fans on their feet as they traded the lead (and some paint) in the closing laps. Douglas would come out on top with his first win of the 2017 season. Douglas, who is not in the Chase field, would play the role of party crasher as he celebrated in Sunoco Victory Lane.
We caught up with Douglas in Victory Lane:
“Man, what a great truck. Obviously I learned a lot from last night in the Cup series race which led me to find a good line for sure. Great race guys!”
Finishing second to Douglas was Devin Serra, followed in third by Dominc Lee, 4th went to Jordan Ashelin and Allan Young rounded out the top 5.
Without further adieu, here is your 2017 Sam Maxwell Customs Chase field:
Brad Cross: 2 wins, 3 top 5, 6 top 10
Michael Atkins Jr: 1 win, 4 top 5, 6 top 10
Mitch Brown: 1 win, 5 top 5, 8 top 10
Jason Stewart: 1 win, 3 top 5, 8 top 10
Jim Foose: 3 top 5, 8 top 10
Devin Serra: 7 top 5, 9 top 10
Allan Young: 8 top 5, 9 top 10
We at ASRS would like to congratulate our field of 8 drivers as they duke it out for the Sam Maxwell Customs trophy. We will see the boys in action next week in New Hampshire. Tune into OCTV on Youtube to catch all the action!