ANDERSON — After watching a comfortable lead eliminated by late caution periods, Kentucky driver Brett Hudson held on to win the CRA Street Stock 200 at Anderson Speedway.
Hudson posted the second quickest time Saturday for the third of the Four Crown events and started seventh in the field as a result of the inversion.
He worked his way up to the second spot behind race-leader Jason Atkinson on Lap 86 by making an inside pass of Jacob McElfresh.
Hudson settled for the second spot at the halfway break but took the lead from Atkinson on the 108th circuit with an inside move entering Turn 3.
Hudson started to pull away from the rest of the field while Atkinson, fast-qualifier Chuck Barnes Jr., James Kirby III and McElfresh fought for the second position.
The third caution flag waved on Lap 182 when Cory Adams and Dallas Frueh spun on the front straight, bunching up the lead-lap cars.
Hudson maintained the lead over Atkinson on the restart, but the race was red-flagged on Lap 197 when McElfresh’s car erupted in flames while the Elwood driver was running fifth.
That set up a three-lap shootout aborted after the initial restart when Atkinson spun on the front straight.
For the final three laps, Kirby — running the outside groove — was looking to steal the win away from Hudson. But his car slipped coming off the fourth corner on the final lap, denying him the victory.
Hudson won by .156 of a second over Kirby followed by Atkinson, Josh Poore and Barnes.
“I was saving the car for the end,” Hudson said in the Star Financial Winner’s Circle. “I knew there could be some late-race cautions. I appreciate that James (Kirby) raced me clean at the end. I’ve won this race before when the final 100 laps went all green.”
Kirby, who started third, ran in the top five for the entire race and was in a position to record the victory.
“We had a fast car all day,” he said. “At the end, the outside groove was a little slicked up, and I couldn’t get the grip needed to make the pass.”
Atkinson, who led from Lap 52 to 107, was less than pleased with the third-place finish.
“We made some tire adjustments at the break,” he said. “I didn’t appreciate getting spun out with three laps remaining.”
Andrew Teepe led the first 39 laps before Kirby led for one circuit, and Teepe went back out front until he surrendered the point to Atkinson.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.