Diablo Media – (Daytona Beach, FL) Superspeedway packages were in full effect for Tuesday’s Sam Maxwell Customs Cup Daytona 200 as the Twitchy Race Reports ASRS Premier Cup Series returned to action. Drivers and teams prepared their vehicles for the 80-lap event, expecting close quarters racing with limited room for error.
Of the 55 drivers attempting to qualify, Brandon Wilkinson (06) would post a lap time of 47.777s to secure the pole position in his first start of the season. Drew Carroll (85) would line-up on the outside of the front row, edged for the top spot by 0.005s; it would be Carroll’s 4th race starting from the 2nd position.
With a push from Brian Yaczik (55), Wilkinson would lead the field into Turn 1. Both drivers would harness the speed of the inside line, with Yaczik changing lanes to capitalize on the momentum building from the outside line’s Drew Carroll. It would be enough for Yaczik to lead the first lap, but Wilkinson would fight back to take the top spot for the majority of the next 10 laps.
By Lap 12, the tandem of Yaczik and Carroll were able to power ahead of Wilkinson and move their partnership to the lower lane. Yaczik would continue to lead as the number of cars using the outside line lessened, opting for grip near the yellow line.
A multi-car accident would erupt on Lap 15, as the lead car of Yaczik would make a sharp turn to the backstretch wall off of the bumper of Carroll and trigger ‘The Big One.’ Among the many cars involved was series points leader Jeff Ward (90), who would suffer heavy damage and ultimately retire from the event early.
Following pit stops, Carroll would remain in the lead, holding the top position as the green flag waved. With grip falling off, many of the drivers seemed to have a more immediate need to blend into the lower lane. In the shuffle, Zac Calloway (2) would come down on David Howard Jr (14), triggering another multi-car wreck.
On the next restart, 6th-place Steve Ritter (16) would miss a shift, causing following cars to stack up. Despite damages incurred to some teams, the race would remain green. Michael Chrobok (72) would procure the lead with help in Drew Carroll while Tim Knott (41) and Woody Mahan (40) mounted a charge from the outside lane. Knott and Mahan would be unable to overtake Chrobok, falling back in line soon after.
Caution would fly again on Lap 37 as Allan Young (24) would take a ride through the backstretch grass after a bump-draft incident with Edward Bray (66). The break in action would benefit drivers that had lost the lead pack in the previous incident and allowed teams limited time to fix damaged sheet metal.
Steve Ritter would inherit the lead for the next green run, holding strong in the top position until Lap 50 when Chrobok would return to P1. Chrobok would come under immediate pressure from Mitch Brown (81) and the outside lane, but would maintain the lead as Brown would end up falling into line.
At 20 laps to go, caution would fall on the speedway again with John Kennedy (89) hooking the bumper of Jay Graves Jr (8) on the backstretch and turning him into the wall.
Mitch Brown would lead the brigade off of pit road and find himself battling Woody Mahan for the lead within a handful of laps. Mahan would utilize help from Drew Carroll to get around Brown on the outside line and take the lead.
With 13 laps to go, Anddy Veltman (97) would trigger the final caution flag, turned into the outside wall by Ty Hester (36). Drivers would elect to remain on the track, Mahan remaining in the lead.
Woody Mahan would get the jump on the restart, with Drew Carroll slow getting to the throttle in the outside line. Michael Chrobok would give Carroll a bump, allowing him to keep pace and fall in behind Mahan. The lead pack remained single file until 4 to go when Chrobok would mount a charge from the outside line. Chrobok’s attempt would quickly dismantle, as his drafting help would duck back into the inside line.
Drew Carroll would peek to the outside coming to the checkered flag, but overall Mahan would remain unchallenged in the final run, collecting the race win and tallying 16 laps lead. Carroll would finish 2nd, with a total of 7 laps led. Mitch Brown would lead 4 and finish in 3rd. The race polesitter Brandon Wilkinson would score a 9th place finish after holding the top spot on 8 laps. Steve Ritter, Michael Chrobok, and Brian Yaczik would also receive bonus points for leading laps.
Following the shake-up from Daytona, Drew Carroll jumps 5 positions to gain the points lead with Jeff Ward falling to 2nd, just 3 points behind. Jared Mogard (01) makes the jump to 3rd place, another 2 points back. Anddy Veltman makes the biggest gain of the week, up 25 spots in his first start of the season, while Jarred Haggerty (6) falls 7 spots for the largest position loss.
Next week begins a 4-week hiatus for the TRRPCS as the ASRS Sam Maxwell truck series will take center stage Tuesday to begin their 2018 series. Cup series cars will return March 13th for the Auto Club 200 at Auto Club Speedway in California. Race coverage will be provided by series partner Prime Time Racing TV.