Hours after ARCA announced they would be acquired by NASCAR the cars were back on track. A quick 4-day turnaround from last Sunday in Salem to Friday in Talladega the series regulars came to play. ARCA at Talladega is always an experience, wrecked race cars, young drivers learning the draft and typically races that seem like they will go on for infinity.
Friday night was no different. 7 cautions for 38 of the race’s 87 laps certainly slowed things down in typical, wonderful ARCA fashion. MDM Motorsports and Venturini Motorsports continued their season-long battle for supremacy in the ARCA series. Both teams have won all 3 races heading into Talladega and MDM would come out on top again.
Zane Smith survived a hectic last few laps at Talladega that were marred by cautions and a huge wreck involving teammate Chase Purdy, more on him soon. Smith beat Clay Bryant Racing’s Joe Graf Jr. to the line by literal thousandths of a second like they were recreating a Ricky Craven v. Kurt Busch.
— SPEED (@SPEED) April 28, 2018
Zane Smith picked up his second win of the season, his first came three weeks ago in Nashville. Flashforward to Talladega and the California product has established himself as the ARCA Championship favorite assuming he can find enough funding to run the entire season.
As for the rest of the ARCA field, it was a very ARCA like race. Middle-aged dad fan favorite Natalie Decker slapped the wall harder than Don Vito hitting Johnny. Her race was done sending the family back to the coach lot looking for some Marlboro Reds.
For most the race, however, ARCA acted liked a respectable well-trained racing series. Then the final laps came and everything went to shit so fast. In ARCA if the caution comes out on the white flag lap they restart the race, unlike NASCAR. Of course, you knew this because only ARCA fans would click on an ARCA race recap 24 hours after the finish.
Zane Smith’s teammate Chase Purdy brought out the caution on the first white flag lap as his Dale Jr. inspired #8 took a hard hit into the turn 3 wall. The crash was eerily reminiscent of Dale Sr.’s wreck at Daytona.
Purdy would need help to the ambulance after the hit. He tweeted out Saturday that he would miss three weeks because of a bulging disc in his back that sent him into spinal shock. Thankfully he’s ok after a gigantic hit with Bo LeMastus. Side note, Bo has no business being on a race track.
The race would see one more caution on the next restart thanks to a crash on the backstretch. Sheldon Creed in the #28 hooked the #18 of Riley Herbst and sent him into Sean Coor in the #46. Both drivers would be fine but out of the race.
That would set up the final restart and ultimately the side by side finish between the #41 and #77.
We’d be remiss to not mention the passing of James Hylton and his son Saturday night in Georgia. The two were involved in a highway accident that claimed both of their lives. The Hylton Motorsports #48 suffered oil pressure issued Friday night but that team was a mainstay in the ARCA series. James won the NASCAR rookie of the year in 1966, he is the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Cup Series race. They didn’t have the most money but they had the most stories. RIP to both James’ and condolences to their families.
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