Krahula edges out Rhyne in caution-free Firecracker 200!
Close racing… Of course
Controversy at the finish… Maybe
THE BIG ONE AT DAYTONA?!… NO
As Monday night’s Firecracker 125 neared midway THE GIANT ONE happened. An awesome sight of mangled steel and bent polygons which saw this driver/writer take a ride for the ages. Off the wall, off of Runkle, off the wall, off of Daigle, OOOOVER Davis… crashing back to Earth, one flip, off of Beverly, and we are flying again, Big Joe’s #1 car broke my fall, and we land back home. Nothing. But. Net. By the signs of the Facebook group, I wasn’t the only one with some sort of trepidation.
But when it was all said and done, the worry was for not. The Advocare Cup Series showed why they are in the top-tier of Premier Racing League as they it goes green all the way! At an average speed of 154.67mph James Krahula in the #24 Advocare Chevrolet fought his way from 3 place in the final 3 laps to lead his lone lap as the checkered flag dropped. Krahula’s Unacceptable teammate Tommy Rhyne made a strong run coming off the 4th turn and closed the gap at the line but fell 0.021 seconds short. The closest finish in Advocare Cup Series history!
The Steel Horse Racing TV Firecracker 200 was led to the Green flag by the #6 Chevrolet of Tommy Ryhne with a time of 47.441 seconds. The top 16 cars were separated by .059 seconds! As the drivers took the green you could sense that Monday’s race was on their minds. Racing was hard, but cordial up front with #07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet of Woodrow Mahan leading the bulk of the first stint. When the field rolled onto lap 20 the Steel Horse Racing (#11 Caddell, #14 Marshall, #21 Kohan) team bailed from the pack and went for a short pit strategy for the night. That would be their strategy for the whole night pitting on laps 20, 40, 60. At lap 24, the bulk of the field decided hold there breathe and bring them in as a group. It was pit lane where most of the mistakes would happen over the night. With a rash of penalties for safe entrances plagued the field. After the first set of stops this is where the field turns from 1 pack to 4 little packs, and it will take generally your entire fuel run the bring everyone back together.
Past half way Hardin and his Michelin was off strategy and was going to end up being short of fuel. Begging, pleading and hoping the Nascar officials were there to call a “debris” caution, but in race admin Karson Aube, was unable to hear his cries. Hardin and his Chevrolet was forced to turn over the field to #7 Rich Jette with 8 laps to go. Lapped cars of Eckrich #70, and Mahan #07 were leading the charge for the leaders. A very precarious situation began to unfold. The lapped cars of Mahan and Eckrich began to catch cars for position while racing in a pack with the leaders. I’m not really sure what racing etiquette says, but all drivers kept their foot on the loud pedal(Yaczik), raced their way to finish. With #7 of Rich Jette being a lone man against Unacceptable Racing’s Krahula and Rhyne, his summit was too tall to reach and wound up on the short end of the stick to finish 3rd.
#87 Drew Carroll and #21 Nick Kohan rounded out the top 5. 10 driver lead a lap with the Michelin Man Ricky Hardin leading the most at 26. 14 cars finished on the lead lap out of the 26 that started the race.
The top 9 in points remains unchanged as Drew Carroll added a few points to his 18 point lead over #11 Johnathon Caddell. With Jette’s 3rd place finish he will move into the Top 10.
As the drivers and crews head home to spend to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends. There is a monster waiting around for them in 2 weeks. COTA. Tune in next week as I preview the race and pick a winner(Jake Wright).