Alex Bowman wins Kansas Lottery 98.9 in thrilling late race pass; Chris Buescher wins championshipBy Ashley McCubbin
“Cool to get another one,” Bowman said in victory lane. “It’s been awhile. Good to have everyone at Cunningham Motorsports behind me.”
Meanwhile, Chris Buescher would come home solidly in the top 10 to win the championship. The 19-year-old becomes the youngest series champion, bringing home the first championship for the Roulo Brothers after having a consistant season. Buescher would win the championship, 75 points ahead of nine-time series champion Frank Kimmel.
“This is definitely exciting,” Prosper, Texas native said afterwards. “It’s definitely going to take a little while for this one to sink in. It’s hard to race that way, trying to conserve tires. We had a couple issues, but I was just trying to do everything I could so nothing crazy happened there. Hats off to the Roulo Brothers and Roush Fenway. David Ragan’s been a huge part of my career, and there are a lot of others that mean a lot to my career.”
On-track, it’d be Bowman stealing the headlines as he would win his sixth pole of the year with a new track record as a result of the repave. Bowman would lead the opening 60 laps, before falling back to eighth after a pit stop under caution. He would work his way through the field, passing Kimmel for third with 17 laps to go.
With 15 laps to go, Brennan Poole would get alongside Grant Enfinger for the lead off of turn four. As they came across the start-finish line, Bowman pulled down to the apron to make it three-wide. He would clear Enfinger going into turn one, and then cleared Poole in the middle of the corner.
There’d be a late caution with 14 laps to go as Chris Windom’s left rear tire flew off, causing him to make contact with Brennan Davis and then the wall. Windom’s loose tire hit Nelson Canache’s car, causing a crack in the lexan windshield, as well as hood damage.
“That’s a cool thing to win,” Bowman said. “We really thought we had a shot at the championship, but we had a lot of bad luck this year. Hopefully we can get some things lined up for next year.”
Kevin Swindell would pass Enfinger on the last lap to bring home his Venturini Motorsports Toyota in the second position.
“The first part, we were really worried about the tire game and trying to make sure we were there at the end,” Swindell said. “We knew we had a good piece once the fuel ran off. We got our self buried a little deeper than we wanted, but made it exciting at the end.”
Enfinger would finish third after being the only driver to take two tires on lap 60 under a round of yellow flag pit stops.
“We definitely wanted to be in victory lane right now,” Enfinger said. “We’ve worked so hard, but come so close. but a great run for us. Once we got up there, I felt we had a good car, but couldn’t get anywhere beyond fifth with the dirty air.”
Enfinger added that it was a good decision to take two tires, but he just couldn’t hold off the field.
There’d be a scary incident right off the top in the race as on lap three, Chad Boat would get a little sideways, come across the track and contact from Matt Lofton would send Boat up on his roof and over. Chad Hackenbracht was also collected in the incident.
“I just got loose on the outside of the 17 (Buescher) – I think the air of his car took the air off of my car,” Boat said afterwards.
“Well it looked like the 52 (Boat) got loose coming off of two,” Lofton said. “When he got sideways, he was just blocking up both lanes and didn’t really have anywhere to go.
“I’ve been disappointed in these plate races that the ARCA has ran this year. You have to run wide-open and it doesn’t bring the speed down much, making it hard to drive. When something like this happens, you don’t have any control in these situations. Glad to see he is okay.”
Ricky Ehrgott would also make contact with the wall on lap 60 after his right front tire went flat going into turn three.
John Wes Townley started the day in the top five and was running third when he got loose off turn four and got into the wall on lap 71.
“Just got really free,” Townley said. “I was complaining the run before about it being really loose. For whatever reason, we didn’t tighten the car up. We definitely had us a top three car. We definitely had a shot for the win.”