HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Rookie Caleb Edwards held off challenges from his younger brother and over came several restarts to claim his first NCRA Southern Sport Modified feature Saturday night during the 56th annual Hutchinson Grand Nationals atop the Kansas State Fairgrounds.
Edwards started on the pole for the 15-lap feature and jumped out into the lead as the green flag fell. Third starting Robert Elliott fell into the runner up position but would fall back into third when eighth starting Kinzer Edwards passed Elliott for the runner up position one lap later.
C. Edwards would open up a five car length lead before the first of four caution flags fell on lap three when defending series champion Chad McNamara came to a stop at the top of turns three and four with a flat right front tire.
It was during this time that the top two drivers in the current series point standings, Travis Johnson and Todd Decker, would also come pit side to change tires.
After another minor caution appeared one lap after the restart, C. Edwards again motored out front while behind him, K. Edwards and Elliott battled for the runner up position. Elliott would make a strong move for second on lap eight driving underneath K. Edwards entering turn two with both drivers making contact.
Elliott got the worst end of the deal and would slide to a stop at the top of turn three with a flat right front tire.
A couple more cautions would slow the pace of the feature event but after the final caution would wave on lap nine, the last half of the $1,000 to win feature finale would go none stop as C. Edwards continued to set the pace.
C. Edwards kept a three to five car length advantage over K. Edwards, who finished fourth last year in this event as a rookie, and would keep the pace the rest of the race to claim his first career series victory and lay claim as the third driver to become Hutchinson Grand Nationals champion in southern sport modified competition.
“Hutch Nationals has such a long history being one of the biggest races to win and is definitely the biggest win of my career, hands down,” said C. Edwards. ”Our Shinook Racing Engines stayed at 200 degrees and wasn’t a factor. I have to also thank my Papa, Dad and Kinzer for all their help this year.”
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