by Ken DeLaBastide
ANDERSON, IN – For the fourth time this year Jeff Marcum emerged the victor on a late model race at Anderson Speedway, but it wasn’t a drive in the park.
Marcum set fast time Saturday during qualifications for the Champion Racing Association’s Vore’s Welding Late Model Sportsman 75-lap feature and started eighth as a result of the inversion.
Logan Hockeba took advantage of the inversion to grab the lead at the start but was passed for the lead by Charlie Keevan on lap seven. Meanwhile Marcum used the high groove to advance to the second spot by last seven.
Marcum was able to get inside of Keevan entering turn two on lap 16 and led the rest of the way having to withstand six restarts.
The driver on the move in the race was JP Crabtree, who qualified second quick but didn’t crack the top five until a restart on lap 17.
Crabtree was running second by lap 34 and applying pressure on Marcum’s rear bumper.
On lap 44 Crabtree was able to get underneath Marcum coming off the fourth turn and appeared set to take the lead when the caution flag waved for a Caleb Reschar spin.
That allowed Marcum to maintain the point and he continued to be pursued by Crabtree, who spun on lap 47 in turn four while running second.
That put Tanner Jack into the second spot, but Marcum was able to retain the lead.
Crabtree climbed back through the field and was fifth with seven circuits remaining.
On the final corner of the final lap Keevan made contact with Jeff Whaley II and collected the car of Cassten Everidge.
Marcum won by 3.8-seconds over Jack with Crabtree coming home in third followed by Huckeba and Reschar.
Keevan was scored sixth and Everidge came home in seventh.
“When you come there,” Marcum said of the high line in the Peterman Brothers Victory Lane, the cardinal rule is you have to trust it.
“It was just like JP (Crabtree) lining up along outside me on the restarts,” he continued. “Everybody did a a nice job of keeping the cars off each other. “It was hard racing.”
Jack said his car was really good on the restarts, but Marcum was really strong.
“We had a good car, I’m happy with it,” Jack said of the second-place showing.
Crabtree said the team worked on the car all day after struggling early in practice.
“I thought I had him,” he said of the pass that was voided by the caution flag. “I knew at the line it was going to be close.
“We were really descent on the outside, a little free,” Crabtree said. “Thought I would save the tires and the car just snapped around on me.”
Point leader Reschar finished fifth with Hockeba, second in the points coming home one position higher. Third place in the points was Greg Stilwell Jr. who finished 19th.
The race was slowed by six caution flags and there were two lead changes among three drivers.