In a race that saw the top two point leaders experience problems from the lead, 24-year-old Justin Boston came out on top in the Herr's Live Life With Flavor 200 at Madison International Speedway. It's Boston's second career ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards victory. Boston had been running in the third position when the race changed drastically on lap 172 when Grant Enfinger's Chevrolet slowed and came to a stop. Enfinger had a rear gear issue and brought out the race's third caution flag. Prior to the issue Enfinger had a 10 second lead.Mason Mitchell held the lead. However, Mitchell slowed with a battery issue just a lap after the restart allowing Justin Boston to get the lead. Boston began to pull away from the field and led the last 20 laps in route to victory.
"I didn't think we had a shot at this thing either yesterday," Boston said. "It just worked out our way today."
The ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards race at Madison International Speedway wasn't the only race Boston ran during the week. Boston made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday morning. Boston finished 30th after an accident but team owner Billy Venturini believes the experience helped him win the Herr's Live Life With Flavor 200.
"Justin ran fantastic, the truck race Thursday helped him excel as a driver. He's great." said Venturini in victory lane.
Finishing in the second position was Kyle Benjamin with Brandon Jones coming home third. ARCA legend Frank Kimmel finished in the fourth position with Tom Hessert finishing in the fifth spot. Anderson Bowman finished sixth with Kyle Weatherman finishing in the seventh position. Austin Wayne Self finished in the eighth spot with Matt Tift coming home ninth and John Wes Townley finished in the tenth position.
The starting lineup for the field was set by owner points after rain washed out qualifying on Saturday afternoon. That meant Mason Mitchell and Grant Enfinger led the field to green. Mitchell led early and was putting distance between him and Enfinger. Meanwhile, towards the rear of the field, both Brennan Poole and Kyle Benjamin worked their way up through the field. Poole was up to eighth by lap 17 and Benjamin was tenth. Both drivers started towards the rear of the field.
Mitchell was leading when the races' first caution flag flew on lap 30 when A.J. Fike crashed hard Fike had significant damage and finished in the 24th position. A few of the lead lap cars would pit but the leaders stayed out. Under that caution, Brennan Poole had a brake fire on his #66 Venturini Toyota. The fire burnt up a lot of the undercarriage of the car and Poole was done for the day. He finished in the 21st position.
The race would continue on lap 36 with Mitchell and Enfinger up front. Enfinger shot to the lead but Mitchell fought hard on the initial start. By lap 45 Enfinger had the lead but Mitchell continued to stalk Enfinger. By lap 54 Mitchell got the lead from Enfinger and he led the field until the competition caution on lap 60.
The leaders would pit and Mitchell led the field off of pit road with Kimmel and Enfinger to follow. On the lap 67 restart Mitchell shot out to the lead but Enfinger got around Kimmel and began to stalk Mitchell for the lead. Enfinger got the lead on lap 71 and began to set a blistering pace on the field. Meanwhile, Justin Boston began to move his way up through the field. Boston was up to the fourth spot on lap 74 and by lap 86 Boston passed Kimmel for the third position. From there Boston began to set his sights on Mitchell.
Meanwhile, Enfinger's lead continued to grow. By lap 100 Enfinger's lead was five seconds and his lead grew to seven seconds by lap 140. Meanwhile Boston continued to work on Mitchell. On lap 161 Boston got Mitchell for the second position and tried to chop down Enfinger's lead. Enfinger, at that point, had over a 10 second lead. Enfinger's lead continued to grow until lap 172 when Enfinger had a major issue with his car. All of the sudden Enfinger's car slowed and it eventually stopped on the track causing the race's third caution flag. At that point there were only four cars on the lead lap but with Enfinger stopping it allowed two more cars to also be on the lead lap so the top six cars pitted for four tires and fuel.
The lap 179 restart began with Mason Mitchell and Justin Boston on the front row. Mitchell pulled away but his car slowed, letting Boston get the lead. Mitchell pulled his car into the pit lane. The #98 Ford had a battery issue ending his day in the 14th position. Enfinger finished 15th.
Meanwhile, Boston pulled away from the field and sailed to his second career ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards victory.
Other notables in the field included NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points leader Ben Rhodes in 11th as he was making his ARCA debut and Thomas Praytor in 13th. Emerson Newton John finished 23rd.
Mason Mitchell continues to lead the points by 25 points over Grant Enfinger after it breifly looked like he would take a commanding points lead out of Madison. Third in the standings is Frank Kimmel who is 140 points behind. Tom Hessert is fourth with Justin Boston in fifth. Austin Wayne Self is sixth in the standings with Thomas Praytor seventh in the standings. John Wes Townley is eighth in points with Karl Weber ninth and Spencer Gallagher tenth.
The next race on the ARCA Racing Series schedule is the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds on September 1st.
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