JAMAICA, VA (ASCOC) – Just as Monrovia, Indiana’s Justin Peck was about to secure a second consecutive FloRacing All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 victory, a mere 100 yards from Virginia Motor Speedway’s flagstand, disaster struck in the form of a flat right rear tire forcing the Attica Spring Nationals champion to surrender the point to three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, and now six-time All Star main event winner, Tony Stewart. The victory, Stewart’s first with “America’s Series” in 2021 and his first at the Virginia speedplant, earned the Columbus, Indiana-native a $12,000 payday; his first Series triumph since his $26,000 Rayce Rudeen Foundation Race score at 34 Raceway in 2019.
Stewart, who started eighth on the feature grid by way of heat race victory, and an eventual eighth-place dash finish, not only took advantage of Peck’s misfortune by being in the right place at the right time, but the pilot of the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing No. 14 sprint car also survived a 30-lap battle with tire wear, as an abrasive racing surface made navigating Virginia Motor Speedway’s high-paced oval plenty risky. Adding to the drama, the final lap of the race was conducted in green-checkered fashion, as a caution on the final circuit forced the field to restack for a final lunge toward the finish.
Knoxville’s Kerry Madsen, who started 12th, followed Stewart by Peck to secure the runner-up spot just before the flagstand. Peck ultimately limped across the line to finish third, blown tire still intact, followed by Chase Dietz and Paul McMahan, who each advanced 12 positions over the 30-lap contest.
“We weren’t the fastest car by any means. We kinda figured out early that it was going to be a tricky surface and ultimately a challenge for tires. I just tried to run my car straighter than those guys ahead of me,” Tony Stewart said, who now owns All Star victories at six different facilities. “We could see that (Justin Peck’s) tire was getting pretty worn. I could see the cords so I told myself if he can run the car that hard and make it work, good for him. Being second while trying to save tires was going to be a good night for us.”
Although Stewart and Peck were the focal point for the final lap dash, Cory Eliason was the man in charge for much of the main event and led the first 25 circuits before a cut right rear tire forced the Rudeen Racing entry to go to the work area. As aforementioned, the top spot was inherited by Peck, who had battled his way to second from sixth around the likes of Anthony Macri and Ian Madsen, just to name a few. Before Eliason’s misfortune, and on several occasions, Peck pressured Eliason’s back bumper, making a few attempts to dive below Eliason’s No. 26 in turns three and four.
“I got to second and that is when I knew I was as good as Cory (Eliason). I thought maybe I could get a run on him, but then he had that tire go down so we really didn’t get the opportunity to really race for the lead” Justin Peck explained, who remains in control of the current All Star Circuit of Champions title chase. “My team really had me hooked up tonight. That allowed me to do what I needed to do.”
The All Star Circuit of Champions will continue their Mid-Atlantic takeover with three consecutive stops in Pennsylvania, kicking things off with the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at the world-famous Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg on Friday, April 16. Action will continue on Saturday, April 17, with the $10,000-to-win Keith Kauffman Classic at Port Royal Speedway, followed by the Johnny Grum Classic at Bedford Speedway on Sunday, April 18.
For those who can not witness the All Star Circuit of Champions live and in person, FloRacing.com, the official media partner and broadcast provider of the All Stars, has you covered. To access live and on-demand racing action from the All Star Circuit of Champions, visit FloRacing.com and become an annual PRO subscriber. Race fans can see all the USAC and dirt late-model action they want in addition to Eldora Speedway’s slate of races and those of the All Star Circuit of Champions. The subscription unlocks access to premium content across the entire FloSports network. Watch the events across all screens by downloading the FloSports app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and Chromecast.
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