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Tyler Courtney in victory lane at Volusia Speedway Park. (Paul Arch photo)

Last-Lap Move Pushes Courtney To Victory

BARBERVILLE, Fla. — Friday night’s round three of the Volusia Speedway Park DIRTcar Nationals was by far the wildest NOS Energy Drink World of Outlaws sprint series feature of the week.

There was a huge crash that left the frontstretch littered with mangled sprint cars and Tyler Courtney made a final turn pass to win the feature with the checkered flag waving.

After shadowing Rico Abreu for the entire distance, Courtney rode the low groove to victory lane when the rim-riding Abreu got tangled up in the cushion with a win scant yards away.

“I wasn’t really surprised when Rico jumped the cushion,” offered Courtney as he enjoyed his third career WoO win. “He’d been running out there all night and it was treacherous up there. I committed to the bottom after Brad Sweet showed me a nose down there and in the end, it all worked out for me.”

Teenager Landon Crawley led the field to green by virtue of his Toyota Dash win, but his front row companion Abreu blew around him as they hit turn one with the third starting Courtney in tow. 

With David Gravel and Gio Scelzi swapping fourth back and forth behind him, Crawley held third through the first yellow on lap seven for a slowing Carson Macedo.

Abreu and Courtney got a good jump on the field when green returned but a mid-pack melee behind them brought an immediate red, as mangled cars were everywhere. 

Sheldon Haudenschild’s mount ended up on its side atop the cars of Justin Peck and Spencer Bayston in front of the flagstand with Austin McCarl and Justin Whittal’s cars a little further down the frontstretch. The latter’s car was hurt the worst and required use of a forklift to remove it.

The near full house was relieved when it was announced that all of the drivers had emerged unscathed.

With order restored and the field fueled under an open red, a second try was made on the restart, this time with Macedo, whose crew had managed to fix his car during the downtime, tagging the field. 

Abreu jumped to a comfortable lead off the single file restart but there was action behind him, with Gravel shooting under Crawley to grab third. The youngster was then passed by Sweet and Scelzi as well.

Yellow flew again on lap 11, when Corey Day slowed, bringing another double-file restart that again shuffled the lead pack. Sweet disposed of Gravel for third, with Scelzi then repeating the feat to drop Thursday night’s winner to fifth.

Abreu and Courtney had just started lapping again when lap 16 brought yet another caution, this one to retrieve Brenham Crouch, who was sitting backwards at the top of the frontstretch. 

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Tyler Courtney (Mark Funderburk photo)

The resulting single file restart saw Logan Schuchart, making another of his patented charges from the eighth row, shoot down both Brent Marks and Sam Hafertepe Jr. to get to seventh. That appeared to be the end of the action until misfortune struck the high-flying Abreu.

“I wasn’t surprised Tyler was there to get in under me,” offered Abreu, who came off the cushion strong to hold second. “My car was OK, it just didn’t work out.”

Sweet also felt he might have done better, saying “we were mostly good but I didn’t drive well in one corner where it really mattered and lost my momentum.  It was a tough race.”

Scelzi trailed the lead trio, with Gravel fifth ahead of Donny Schatz, Schuchart, Marks, Hafertepe Jr. and Anthony Macri.

Marks turned fast time on the evening while teenagers notably claimed both the Dash and Last Chance events, with Crawley and Day prevailing, respectively.

The finish:

Feature (25 Laps): 1. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[3]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[2]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet[10]; 4. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[6]; 5. 2-David Gravel[4]; 6. 15-Donny Schatz[18]; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart[16]; 8. 19-Brent Marks[5]; 9. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[9]; 10. 39M-Anthony Macri[14]; 11. 21-Brian Brown[8]; 12. 26-Zeb Wise[7]; 13. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss[12]; 14. 14-Corey Day[21]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[24]; 16. 41-Carson Macedo[11]; 17. 83-Michael Kofoid[17]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[20]; 19. 7S-Landon Crawley[1]; 20. 17B-Bill Balog[27]; 21. 1-Brenham Crouch[22]; 22. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 23. 13-Justin Peck[15]; 24. 5-Spencer Bayston[19]; 25. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild[25]; 26. 0-Justin Whittall[23]; 27. 6-Bill Rose[26]