After a wild week with the World of Outlaws and a double Kings Royal, things were back to normal this Friday night at Attica Raceway Park. Twenty-four AFCS 410’s signed in to do battle for a $4,000 payday. Well, $4,000 for everyone except Chris Andrews.
Before the 30 lap feature got rolling, Rich Farmer, car-owner and race night sponsor, made things interesting for the front row of Chris Andrews and Cale Conley. He offered them $5,000 for one of them to start at the tail of the feature. Neither of them bit. So, Farmer upped it to $7,500. They didn’t bite. It took $10,000 for Chris Andrews to abandon his pole position and start at the tail. That would be $14,000 for Andrews if he completed the Front Row Challenge.
It was Conley and Ricky Peterson who led the field to green, with Conley taking the early advantage over Peterson and Stuart Brubaker. Brubaker got by Peterson for second on lap four, but the leader Conley had already put 1.409 seconds on him. A lap seven caution would bunch the field back together.
After another quick caution, there wasn’t any change when the racing got back underway. Conley led Brubaker while Peterson and Attica points leader Trey Jacobs battled for third. Everything would hold steady, until lap 13 when the third yellow came out for Landon LaLonde. This wiped out a 1.156 seconds lead for Conley.
Things got dicey on the restart, as Chris Andrews had a great run on John Ivy going down the backstretch. Andrews ended up jumping Ivy’s left rear tire, sending Ivy for a spin and a tip-over, while Andrews was lucky to have not gone for a wild ride. Once again, things got wild on the ensuing restart, as Peterson made his move on Brubaker for second, which also allowed Jacobs to be in the mix as well. While these three waged war for second, Conley was out running his own race with a steady 1.3-1.5 second lead over that trio.
At the halfway point, Brubaker had fended off Peterson and Jacobs to hold on to second, for the time being, at least. A few laps later, on lap 20, Peterson and Jacobs had caught back up to Brubaker. Three more laps went by, and Jacobs made his move, going from fourth to second in those three laps. He then set his sights on the leader Conley. Unfortunately for Peterson, his strong run would end two laps later, as he smacked hard into the fence on the exit of turn four, bringing out the race’s second red flag with only six laps remaining.
This put Jacobs right on Conley’s tail, but it also put Conley in clean air. On the restart, Conley went up top, while Jacobs made time on the bottom. It took Jacobs a two or three laps to get rolling, but he was right with Conley with three laps remaining, when the final caution came out for Alex Bowman.
Conley knew where Jacobs would be running, but it also was going to take Jacobs two or three laps to get to Conley. Jacobs is so hungry for that first Attica win, while Conley was looking to get his season back on track. Something would have to give. On the last restart, Conley nailed the top, while Jacobs stayed on the bottom. As predicted, it took Jacobs a couple laps to get to Conley.
Going into turns three and four for the final time, Jacobs made his move. He threw a slider from Willard, and cleared Conley momentarily. Conley cut back underneath Jacobs and it was a drag race to the checkered flag. A drag race Conley won by .083 seconds to deny Jacobs of his first Attica win.
Fellow racer, Chris Verda was there as OhioDirt caught up with Conley, and wanted to know what went through Conley’s mind on that entertaining last lap.
“Sliding myself was option number one,” Conley said. “You think pretty fast when you’re out there. I thought about driving on the bottom, sliding across the track, and catching what little was left on top to launch to the checkers, and if Trey is good on the bottom, he’ll just hug the bottom and beat me off of four. At that point, it was haul the mail, hang on, and hope that the top holds you. I saw this bomb of a slider coming and I thought ‘Wow, he must’ve been right on my ass,’ because in my mind, I wish I had a ten car length lead. He had enough momentum to where I could hit the brake a little, get the nose pointed back down, and drag race him to the finish.”
For Conley, it was his second career Attica win, and one he certainly had to fight hard for.
“I saw Trey with the laps winding down and I tried to pick up my game a little and run the top a little more aggressive on entry. I didn’t know if I could hold him off or not. That red came out with three to go and he made it close. He’s really good here and I don’t know how he gets that speed around the bottom like that. I mean, I’m running the hell out of this car on the top and he’s hanging right there on the bottom,” said Conley.
“I’m really glad we came away with this one. We needed this for our momentum. This season has been so up and down and it feels like we’ve had more downs than ups. This win tonight sure is a high note for the year.”
“It was way too close, and I’m glad we came away with it. Starting out front helped, and I’m glad we didn’t take the front row challenge. There were too many good people, you could put a lot of people out front that could win the race,” continued the race winner.
Conley has been absent from Attica Raceway Park for a little while this summer, but he made his return a meaningful one.
“I’ve got two kids now, and work a full time job at home, and I always wanted to race for a living, and make this my job. But with life the last few years, it’s been tougher to commit to a three, or four race a week schedule. I was able to take my family to the beach last week, and it was awesome and much needed. I’m grateful to come back and race refreshed and pick up a win. The car was awesome, and Brian and Stacy Kemenah do a great job of giving me a well-prepared race car, and I’m very lucky to be able to drive it.”