Brandon McReynolds Scores First Career ARCA Victory at TalladegaBy Ashley McCubbin
Flash forward to today and Brandon McReynolds passed Matt Lofton on the last lap to win the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 at Talladega for his first career ARCA victory in his seventh career ARCA start.
“That was a good race,” the 21-year-old said. “I gotta thank Chad Hackenbracht. I just can’t thank Steve and Sandra Turner and everybody back at Turner Motorsports for this.”
On a restart with four laps to go, the 21-year-old worked his way past Hackenbracht to move up to second as he pushed Lofton into the lead. Then on the final lap coming through the tri-oval, he got a shove from Hackenbracht that pushed him by Lofton for the win.
“I didn’t know I had it,” McReynolds sys. “Tab, my spotter, he did a great job. We’re looking for sponsors. 58 gave me a big push and we brought it home. It was a great.”
It marked sweet redemption after McReynolds lost the lead at Daytona on the final lap earlier this year due to running out of fuel. He had also come close before at Talladega as he led late in the race last year, before being passed.
“That kid amazes me,” his father Larry McReynolds says. “He had a plan, he started making it 20 laps to go and he knew where he needed to be. I can only think that he gets that from his godfather Davey. We need to get something on those quarter panels. I couldn’t be prouder. Thanks to Steve and Sandra Turner for giving him the opportunity.”
Lofton would come home second after leading the majority of the laps throughout the day.
“We got a ton of experience,” he says. “We really needed this quality run here. We’ve had fast racecars, with the exception of Daytona. It shows all of our hard work with how we’ve come back from Daytona. Gotta thank Joe Coulter for this.”
Hackenbracht would finish third, which marked a solid finish for the family-owned team on a limited budget.
“I can’t thank the guys enough,” he says. “We’re way low in our budget; only have three people working for us. We’re working on it. I was lonely there at the front. I knew they were going to high or low, but I’m glad to get a finish that we deserve.”
Tom Hessert and Steve Blackburn would complete the top five. Will Kimmel would finish sixth, followed by Frank Kimmel, Brennan Poole, Brendan Davis, Sean Corr and Kevin Swindell.
The race saw two big incidents throughout the day, with the first happening on lap 11. The big wreck started when Steve Blackburn went for a spin after contact from Brennan Poole, causing a chain reaction that collected eight other drivers.
One of the drivers involved in the wreck was Bobby Gerhart, who has eight top 10s in 15 Talladega starts and is known for solely focusing on his Superspeedway program.
“Jason Jebb just notified me that there was a spin on the bottom and then got blocked up and there wasn’t too much I could do. I just got caught up there,” he says.
Another driver involved in the wreck was NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Joey Coulter, who was driving for the family owned team.
Other drivers involved include Alex Bowman, Milka Duno, Mike Harmon, George Cushman, Terry Jones, Mark Thompson, Drew Charlson and Donnie Neuenburger. The race was put under red flag for a bit to clean up the mess
The other incident came with 20 to go when Mike Affarano, who was making his first ARCA start, rolled over six times on the front stretch.
“I’d like to man up and say, ‘Oh, it was spectacular,’” Affarano says. “But I had my eyes closed. I was holding on for dear life and just saying, ‘Just nobody hit me.’”
The next race for the ARCA Racing Series is at Toledo Speedway on May 20th.