ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – The inaugural SCOTT 160 was a memorable one at Road America Saturday, as defending ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards champion Chris Buescher passed two cars on the last lap to take the checkered flag.
“It was pretty wild, for sure,” Buescher said. “I think this shows how deserving we were of our championship last year.”
Buescher, in the Roulo Brothers No. 99 BeavEx-Reliance Tool Ford, capitalized on a last-lap tangle between the two cars in front of him, Chase Elliott and Andrew Ranger, to take the lead on turn five of the 14-turn road course. He then held on for the victory.
The field restarted with three laps to go after the only full-course caution of the race. Elliott, in the No. 9 Aaron’s-Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, came in contact with Austin Dillon’s car, causing Dillon to spin off course in turn one. Then, Elliott and Ranger battled side-by-side and exchanged the lead back and forth over the last lap. The two cars then came in contact in turn five and Buescher, running third, passed both.
“You could definitely see it happening, pretty much right from the restart,” Buescher said. “My spotter told me on the radio to be patient. I just didn’t want to get involved.”
Ranger finished second in the No. 53 WM Bagster Dodge, with Tom Hessert trailing in third in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports Barbera’s Autoland Dodge. Elliott recovered to finish fourth with Ryan Blaney finishing fifth in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge. Dillon, in Ken Schrader’s No. 52 Drive4COPD Chevrolet, regrouped and coasted around to finish sixth, the last car on the lead lap.
Elliott and Ranger exchanged the lead early on before Dillon took the lead on lap 16 of the 40-lap, 160-mile race. Dillon built a lead of more than 20 seconds and looked to be headed to victory lane before the only full-course caution of the race flew with just seven laps remaining. Most of the front-runners pitted, including Dillon, who maintained the lead coming off pit road. When racing resumed with just a few laps to settle it, the leaders got three-wide when Elliott and Dillon touched headed into turn one.
Elliott, who earned the SCOTT Rookie Challenge of the Race award, attributed the outcome to making a mistake.
“I’m pretty disappointed to be honest with you,” Elliott said. “I always talk about having mistake-free days and today I didn’t have that.”