Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ryan Reed Takes Delayed ARCA Crosley 150 at Kentucky

Ryan Reed (right) enjoys Victory Lane at Kentucky with Crosley CEO Bo LeMastus (left)
For the first time this season in races I've been working for ARCA, we actually got a postponement due to weather. Xfinity Series regular Ryan Reed swept to Victory Lane in the Crosley 150 at Kentucky Speedway to snag the second win of the season for Lira Motorsports The race was originally supposed to be run Friday evening September 26th but got washed out and even Saturday afternoon the 26th, Reed had to dodge more raindrops to make it to Victory Lane. A brief sprinkle around lap 40 created a caution which had all the teams wondering about strategy and whether the race would run the full distance of 100 laps. But the "moisture" didn't amount to much, the track quickly dried and the racing resumed with about 45 laps to go.

Grant Enfinger was all business at Kentucky: Fear the Finger indeed
Reed drove to the front late in the race after Xfinity Series regular Daniel Suarez led for most of the first third of the event on Kentucky's bumpy asphalt and then youngster Austin Cindric led the middle third. Cindric had tire problems twice that hurt his finish, and the second time a flat put him into the wall as the checkers flew. Reed had to fend off a stout challenge from Rookie Of The Race Travis Braden - the winner at Lucas Oil Raceway earlier this summer in his first ever ARCA start - who nearly went two for two on the season in his first ever superspeedway start. Another rookie, David Levine, had an excellent third place finish ahead of Ross Kenseth in Ken Schrader's car and season points leader Grant Enfinger. Another Xfinity Series regular, Daniel Suarez looked strong but could only muster sixth ahead of Kyle Weatherman. All Enfinger needs to do now to win his first ARCA title is to start the final race at Kansas October 16th and he will be the champ for 2016. That seems only fitting in a season where Enfinger has consistently racked up wins with six on all kinds of tracks and only Reed was able to get more than one, with Kentucky his second victory out of two starts. This year ARCA has seen an incredible number of first time winners with 10 new faces finding their way to the winner's circle. It's been great to be a part of documenting these milestones all season for ARCA and I hope I've captured some memories for all the participating teams and drivers.

Daniel Suarez (15) and Travis Braden battle at the start
I had an interesting weekend with the unexpected extra time for editing of Friday's practice and qualifying action. I still have to hustle to get through everything after the race is over, and you wouldn't believe how fast a 100 lap race can seem when you're following a strategy to shoot and move every 10 laps. I was on pace to set a record high for steps on my pedometer Friday as I had topped 22,000 before the race and then I added another 14,000 on Saturday when we finally did race, so I got my exercise! The rainy and overcast conditions did keep the temperatures at a moderate level so it was not unearthly hot as some of the other ARCA races I've worked this summer. I decided at the last minute to start the race in the flagstand to get a start shot and I'm glad I did, as there was a guest from race sponsor Crosley waving the green flag and I got a sequence of the big wreck in Turn 3 on the first lap that I couldn't have gotten from anywhere else. I don't think anyone else got the crash sequence so I hope folks will buy some from the ARCA website! Help a brother (and the series) out, you know!

Austin Cindric (99), Kyle Weatherman (22) and race winner Reed mix it up
Going to Kentucky Speedway this year was also a little bittersweet for me. I've been there many times for both Indycar and Sprint Cup racing, but this was the first time I have been back since Indycar ran there last in 2011. That was also the last time I saw Dan Wheldon alive as he lost his life just two weeks later at Las Vegas. It was good to be back and shoot a race again, although I do think it's a shame that Indycar doesn't run at Kentucky anymore since it's a perfect track for Indycars and they consistently delivered photo finishes that were a thrill to photograph. Kentucky Speedway also does a tremendous job of taking care of us photographers and I love working with them. Now if we can just get the winning drivers to climb out and face the photographers first, we will have it nailed. But we still have Kansas in a couple of weeks so maybe the PR people can work on that! See you there!

No comments: