SPARTA, Ky. — Austin Theriault held off Sheldon Creed and Zane Smith over a green-white-checkered finish to win the wild Crosley Brands 150 Friday night at Kentucky Speedway. It was his seventh ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory of the season.
“We had good position on the bottom and could run wide open down there,” said Theriault. “You could run two, three, four wide for a while but eventually the speeds were too high to sustain it. The guys above us were taking the air off each other. Fortunately, we got the lead before anything else happened. Thanks to the 22 (Shane Lee) for giving us the good push Daytona style to help get the lead.”
The four-wide scramble happened on a restart with 14 laps to go. Riley Herbst came to the line as the leader but soon found himself three-wide with Dalton Sargeant and Chase Purdy headed off into turn one. With those three cars bouncing off each other, another hole opened up on the bottom through which Theriault, to make it four-wide, charged into the lead. With the leaders washing up the track, cars began wrecking behind them to bring out yet another caution, one of seven during the race.
Then on the next restart, Herbst spun after making contact with the left rear corner of Creed, which triggered another multi-car wreck and set up the thrilling green-white-checker finish. Back under green for the two-lap shootout, Creed got within a few feet of Theriault’s rear bumper in turn three coming to the checkered flag, but drove in so hard he washed up the track and opened the bottom up for Smith, who dived underneath Creed for second. Smith, in the No. 8 LaPaz Margarita Mix-MDM Motorsports Toyota, got to within two lengths of Theriault coming to the checkered flag, settling for second, his third runner-up run of the season.
“That final lap…that was the best we ran all night,” said Smith. “On the final restart, that thing was pretty hooked up, especially in dirty air. I never heard ‘four-wide’ more from my spotter than I did tonight.”
Smith recovered nicely from a brush with the wall in opening laps that got the Huntington Beach, Calif. driver behind early on.
“I made a lot of mistakes tonight…hate it for MDM. They gave me a great car. I really wanted that one. I touched the gray on the initial start…it was like ice up there. Maybe I’m just trying too hard.”