by Ken de la Bastide
ANDERSON – For 149 of the 150 laps Dalton Conner battled for the lead, but had to turn back a challenge on the final lap to win the Street Stock feature.
For the first 75 laps of the Champion Racing Association’s Street Stock race at Anderson Speedway, the final event in the Four Crown Series, Conner battled for the point with Brett Hudson.
Eight times during the opening stanz of the Central Indiana Honda Dealers event Conner and Hudson took turns swapping the top spot.
Fast qualifier Andrew Teepe and James Kirby III tangled on lap 44 while batting for fourth. After a pit stop Kirby started climbing back through the 23-car field and was running tenth when his night ended on lap 57.
After the halfway break Conner continued to hold down the point chased by Hudson, Allan Williams Jr. and Chuck Barnes Jr.
Barnes took the lead on lap 120 following a restart but Conner was back in control two laps later. While Conner stayed on the point Hudson, Williams, Hudson and Calvin Parham battled for the second spot.
The final tenth and final caution flag waved on lap 132 and within two laps of the restart Barnes with what appeared to be the fastest car moved into the second spot and set his sights on Conner.
On the final lap Barnes was able to get underneath Conner entering turn three and the two made contact. Conner got sideways but was able to recover to win by a half-second over Barnes with Williams, Teepe and Blaine Akin rounding out the top five. Hudson settled for sixth.
With the victory Conner also captured the $2,000 Four Crown title over Barnes by one-point.
“I want to thank everyone who ran be clean,” Conner said in the Peterman Brothers Victory Lane. “This is by far my biggest win ever.
“Everybody on the team worked countless hours in the shop every week,” he said. “Finally it has paid off.”
Barnes said Conner out drove him.
“You never knew what you had tonight, until you got onto the bottom,” he said. “I got to the 20 (Conner) with a couple of laps to go and had to give it a shot.”
Barnes attempted a bump and run on the last corner and when Conner got sideways backed out of the throttle.
“I hit him and got him totally sideways and I just stopped,” he said. “I would rather finish fourth than wreck him for the win.”
Williams for the second 150-lap race at Anderson finished in top five.
“We had a good piece,” he said. “We come coming up here with a good race car. Every time I get up here they door shot me and force me up the track.
“I just needed a groove,” Williams said. “I don’t know if I would have got him, but would have had a shot.”
Race Statistics: Time of Race: 1:53:04.146; Winning Margin, 0.527; Lead changes, 10 among three drivers; Lap Leaders, Brett Hudson, 1-13; Dalton Conner, 14-15; Hudson, 16-19; Conner, 20-43; Hudson, 44-62; Conner, 63-67; Hudson, 68-69; Conner 70-119; Chuck Barnes Jr., 120-121; Conner, 122-150; Cautions, 10