BRANDON, S.D. – Misfortune for Justin Henderson played to Austin McCarl’s benefit Sunday night during the return of weekly racing to South Dakota’s Huset’s Speedway.
After Henderson, who led the first 19 laps of the Casey’s 410 sprint car division feature on Rosenbauer America Night at the three-eighths-mile dirt track, got into the back of a lap car and spun out of the top spot, McCarl took over and controlled the remaining distance.
The Altoona, Iowa, native pulled away from Dominic Scelzi over the last six circuits and took the checkered flag 1.734 seconds clear in his familiar, family-owned No. 17a sprint car.
It marked the fifth career Huset’s victory for McCarl, who started eighth, and it was his first win at the track since Sept. 7, 2014 – also a Sunday night show.
“What you saw those last six laps, that was because I knew I had Scelzi coming from 14th, man,” tipped McCarl in victory lane. “This is his forte, this style of racing, and that’s why I wanted to go out to California … was to get better at this type of thing. We’ve got a lot of racing out there to do still. But this was a good one tonight. What a crazy track. When we got here, I was like, ‘Man, maybe they’re being a little excessive on the water,’ but it turned out to be a great race.
“The curb made it tricky. Every time I’d get behind somebody, I’d get so plugged into the right front and get tight, and I just had to find a way to stop doing that in traffic,” McCarl continued. “These races are won and lost in traffic. And Justin did a great job. He did nothing wrong. I hate that happened to him because, obviously, you just want to race to the finish with someone like that, but we’ll take it. I thought we ran him down pretty well there. But those last six laps, I just knew the restart was going to be key and getting into clean air, because your car changes so much.
“I was on the hammer those last six laps. We got to traffic a little bit sooner than I thought, but that’s why this place is fun and I’m happy to do it from eighth.”
Henderson drove off the top side on the initial start and appeared untouchable through the early stages, opening up a four-second advantage in just three laps before reaching the back of the field on the fifth rotation.
His lead was cut in half at lap seven, but it was a lap later that the first of two yellow flags waved for a spinning Brant O’Banion in the middle of turns three and four, erasing a 2.376-second advantage for Henderson.
Racing resumed after that with Chris Martin giving chase, but a roaring restart by McCarl catapulted him from fourth to second as Henderson held a one-second advantage through the halfway point of the 25-lapper.
McCarl then began cutting into Henderson’s lead as traffic again became a factor, moving to within half a second with 10 laps left and finding himself just shy of Henderson’s rear nerf bar when Henderson spun to a stop in turn four after contact with Riley Goodno coming to five laps to go.
That sent Henderson to the tail of the lead-lap cars and left McCarl alone out front with clear track ahead of him over the final six laps.
Scelzi gave chase in the Lunstra Motorsports No. 3, but could do no better than second in the end. His run to second from 14th, however, was good enough for hard-charger honors in the 24-car field.
Matt Juhl, Brooke Tatnell and Carson McCarl closed the top five, with Henderson ending up a disappointing 13th in the final rundown after dominating three-quarters of the main event.
Jesse Lindberg won the 20-lap Wyffel Hybrids Racesaver sprint car feature, while Cory Yeigh claimed the 20-lap late model street stock race.
1. 17a-Austin McCarl, 2. 3-Dominic Scelzi, 3. 2ks-Matt Juhl, 4. 16-Brooke Tatnell, 5. 27-Carson McCarl, 6. 81-Jack Dover, 7. 44-Chris Martin, 8. 51a-Elliot Amdahl, 9. 22-Riley Goodno, 10. 35-Skylar Prochaska, 11. ACE-Dusty Zomer, 12. 11m-Brendan Mullen, 13. 7-Justin Henderson, 14. 101-Chuck McGillivray, 15. 12-Tyler Drueke, 16. 4-Cody Hansen, 17. 0-Alex Schriever, 18. 20a-Jordan Adams, 19. 05-Colin Smith, 20. 9n-Wade Nygaard, 21. 14-Jody Rosenboom, 22. 47-Brant O’Banion, 23. 2-Dylan Opdahl, 24. 8-Jack Croaker (DNS).