By Ken de la Bastide CNHI News Service
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Michigan driver Johnny VanDoorn came to Anderson Speedway intent on winning the Stoops Freightliner Redbud 300 for the CRA Super Series and accomplished that goal.
Van Doorn led the final 146 laps to win the 40th running of the Redbud 300. With the victory, he took another step closer to winning the JEGS Triple Crown Challenge and the $100,000 bonus.
By winning the Redbud 300 and earlier in the year at Berlin Raceway, VanDoorn has assured himself of a $20,000 bonus. A win in the Winchester 400 will earn him the $100,000.
Although VanDoorn led the final circuits, he was pressed the entire distance by T.J. Reaid, who was never more than a couple of car lengths off his rear bumper.
Defending champion Ross Kenseth finished third followed by Eddie Van Meter and Travis Braden.
Greenfield’s Kenny Tweedy drove to a sixth-place finish after starting 25th.
“I’m not thinking about the money,” VanDoorn said. “During the winter we talked about winning the longer races. Finished in the top three but never got a win. Anytime you can win a short-track race with all this history is special. It takes the car, driver and crew to win.”
VanDoorn said his tires were starting to fade over the final 25 laps, which allowed Reaid to close to within a half-second.
“We were set up for the short runs, and we had a 75-lap green-flag run,” he said.
Reiad said his car was a little bit off the set up, and the right rear tire was worn out.
“I needed to be a little bit better,” he said. “We had no forward bite to complete the pass.”
Kenseth said his car got tight after the sun went down.
Braden led following the break by taking no tires, but it was a decision that sent him rapidly down the scoring list.
VanDoorn took the lead on a restart on Lap 154 following a two-car incident, by using the outside line to get around Braden on the back straight. Over the next three laps, Braden was passed by VanMeter, Reaid, Kenseth and Terry Fisher Jr.
VanMeter took the early lead from Kenseth following a restart on Lap 51 after a multi-car accident in Turn 2.
Kenseth took the lead from the pole position after the fastest six qualifiers were inverted for the start.
VanMeter went to the outside entering Turn 1 and led until the mid-race break.
After passing Kenseth, VanMeter was challenged by VanDoorn and Reaid, the fast qualifier. The final 72 laps went caution free until the mid-point break.
The front four drivers maintained a comfortable margin over Joe Beaver, who ran unchallenged for the fifth spot.
The first caution flag came out when rookie of the year contender Brandon Oakley spun after making contact with Beaver in Turn 2 and collected the car of Bubba Pollard, who suffered right front damage.
The second caution flag flew on Lap 53 when the 2011 race winner Steve Dorer made contact with the Turn 3 wall. The final caution of the first half came on Lap 70 when J.R. Roahrig spun through the infield grass and hit the Turn 3 outside retaining wall.
The race was slowed six times by caution flags for a total of 46 laps.
There were three lead changes among four different drivers.