by Jacob Hord, @HordRaceWatcher
It’s been 693 days since Byron Reed has visited victory lane, that’s July 12, 2019 for those of you scoring at home. For the first 29 laps of the feature, it looked like the count would make it to at least 700 days. But, as the old racing adage goes, the most important lap to lead is the last lap, and that’s exactly what Byron Reed did.
Due to mechanical gremlins, only 14 of the 16 410’s in attendance made the call to the feature, which saw Cole Macedo and Byron Reed on the front row of the 30 lap feature. The classic “young hot-shoe vs. wily veteran.” Looking to extend his Attica points lead on double points night, Macedo rocketed out to the lead on the initial start over Reed and Craig Mintz. Going into Lap four, Macedo enjoyed a 1.119 second lead over Reed, who had an almost equal gap back to Mintz. The top three were all content to run the top in the beginning stages of the race.
By lap seven, Macedo extended his lead by a little over a half-second, but there was traffic on the horizon. Macedo had a moment on lap 10, going off the backstretch, but he collected himself and continued to lead by 2.5 seconds. A few laps later, Macedo started searching around the track for a possible better line to work through traffic, but he would eventually stay up top. The lone yellow of the race came on lap 17 for fourth-running Chris Andrews, who had a tire let go. This erased a now 2.767 second lead for Macedo, but it got him out of heavier lapped traffic.
On the restart, Macedo jumped right to the top, and gapped Reed by 1.124 seconds. Five laps later, that lead had grown again to just over two seconds. Again, lapped traffic loomed for Macedo. The lapped cars were battling side-by-side in front of Macedo, and that lead slowly started to shrink those last five laps. According to a Facebook post by Macedo, a mag box started to let go at this time as well.
“I saw the 18 was changing his lane and struggling a little bit. Occasionally in turns three and four, it seemed like he could make some time on the bottom. I tried to keep him [Macedo] in my sight and run as hard as I could, in hopes that something would happen,” said Reed.
Reed was licking his chops as Macedo got closer and closer those last eight laps. On lap 28, the lead had been cut to 1.184 seconds, and coming to the white flag, Reed was at the tail tank of Macedo. Macedo didn’t get the drive out of turn two that he needed, and Byron got a big run down the backstretch. Coming into turns three and four, Reed slid by Macedo, and it was a drag race between those two and Mintz. Reed took the win in the familiar all-black No. 5 car, and Macedo barely held on to second over Mintz.
“Lapped traffic usually comes into play in a feature at Attica,” Reed said. “With this few cars, we didn’t get a lot of traffic. We had just enough there at the end, and they were running side by side. When I got closer, I made a really good corner coming off of turn two and had a lot of speed going down the backstretch. He kind of went in the middle, and I had a lane under him and made it happen.”
“I’ve been beaten my fair share of times this way, so it’s good to win a few this way,” concluded Reed.
305 Feature: If you look up the definition of “Rocket Ship” it would be a picture of Jamie Miller and the RFR 26 car going eighth to first in three laps. Luke Griffith held the lead for the first two laps until Miller came sailing by on the top. It was Miller’s to lose after that point. Even in heavy traffic, Miller held a 2.378 second lead over Dustin Stroup. A yellow on lap 11 got Miller out of that traffic, and back into clean air.
Dustin Stroup took his shot at Miller on a lap 17 restart, but Miller was too good. Stroup would bow out a couple laps later. This bumped Mike Keegan and Paul Weaver up a spot each. Weaver would work around Keegan for second and see what he could do with Miller, who was over a second ahead. Miller did bobble on lap 24, but it wasn’t enough, as Miller cruised to his fifth win of the year, his third at Attica.