Coming from a lap down, Angola, Indiana native Scott Hantz won Sunday afternoon’s 35th Annual Ed Martin Auto Group Winchester 400 on the famous High Banks of Winchester Speedway.
second championship with the 10 year old series. Hantz started in the 20th position of the 33 car-starting field. Hantz steadily worked his way to the front and lead the event starting at lap 209 until lap 303 when he pitted.
Hantz was working his way to the front again when he spun his car to avoid Jeff Lane’s car, which had slowed with a broken rear end. Hantz’s car suffered some damage but he also flat spotted his tires, which affected the cars handling, which caused him to lose a lap to the leaders.
Scott Hantz won Sunday's Winchester 400 at the legendary Winchester Speedway in Indiana.
(James MacDonald photos)
Hantz stayed on the track trying to survive until the end, his plan worked when leader Chris Gabehart and second place running Clay Jones wrecked while battling for the lead on lap 380. Jones had made up two laps and worked his way into second inside of 50 laps to go in the event. Gabehart and Jones battled side by side for several laps with Jones visibly faster in the turns, with Gabehart faster in the straight a ways.
Jones car seemed to slip in turn two on lap 380 making contact with Gabehart’s car, which sent both cars hard into the back stretch retaining wall. Both cars were totally destroyed, but both drivers were okay.
Birmingham, Alabama native Augie Grill finished in second, despite making contact with the turn two retaining wall several times during the event.
Grill was making his first ever start at Winchester Speedway. Indianapolis, Indiana’s Tommy St. John finished in third, he finished second in the 2006 CRA Super Series point’s race. Muncie’s Jim Crabtree Jr. finished in fourth place and Indianapolis native John Heck finished in fifth, his best ever finish in a CRA Super Series event.
Chris Gabehart (#17) raced for the lead with Clay Jones (#15) (top), but both wrecked and Jones was left with his head in his hands.
Hantz came from a lap down to get the win when the only two cars running on the lead lap crashed together on lap 380 eliminating both cars from the event. Hantz was the only car a lap down and assumed the lead on lap 382 and cruised to the victory, his first with the CRA Super Series at Winchester Speedway.
"This is the biggest win of my career," stated Hantz in victory lane. "This is the Daytona 500 for guys like me, to be mentioned with names such as Mark Martin, Mike Eddy, and the others that have raced and won here is an honor. We didn’t have the fastest car here this weekend, but we survived and got a little luck to get the win.”
Hantz claimed the 2006 CRA Super Series points’ championship by starting the Winchester 400, it is his
1999 Winchester 400 winner Brian Ross was eliminated in a lap 48 accident. Brian Rievley looked to be the car to beat until his motor expired on lap 215 after leading 130 of the first 215 laps. Teammate Eddie Van Meter lost several laps in the pits making repairs after leading 39 laps of the event. Van Meter finished in 8th place 18 laps down.
2006 CRA Super Series Rookie of the year set a new track record on Friday to set on the pole of Sunday’s event. His dad, Dave Jackson, set on the pole of the last Winchester 400 ran in 2003. Jackson would also survive several altercations to get a sixth place finish.