WILLIAMSTON, SC : Due to the current restrictions in North Carolina the originally scheduled event last weekend at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson was moved south to Anderson Motor Speedway for the third visit of the season to fast and rough surface in the Upstate of South Carolina. The Southeast Legends and Bandolero Tours presented by RPM Pro-Formance rolled into town for the fifth race of what has been a very competitive season in 2020. In the end it was Fallston, North Carolina’s D.J. Canipe with his second Legends win of the season and Kaleb Bradley from Chapel Hill, North Carolina also with his second win of the year.
Earlier in the afternoon Gray Court, South Carolina’s Colin Brown captured the CamCO Landscaping pole award with a time of 17.213 seconds around the 3/8ths-mile oval. Caleb Heady, Tyler Lester, Eric Courtney and Bryson Ruff rounded out the top five after the qualifying session.
The dice roll of five put Ruff and Courtney on the front row to begin the Temco of the Upstate 25 lap feature contest for the 17 Legends on hand. Heady, who had qualified in second was relegated to the rear of the field for the start after the team had to make repairs to his car after it stopped on track in qualfiying.
Ruff jumped out to the early race lead as the field began to find a groove. However, on lap 2 defending Series Champion Lester’s car slowed suddenly off the second turn and came to rest at the bottom of turn four to bring out the first caution flag.
Another quick lap of green before more trouble was found on track. Cameron Murray, who was in his first start of the SELT season, spun to avoid the back of Courtney’s car in turn one. Murray was able to keep it off the wall and drive away, but Jesse Hilger ended up in the outside wall and damaged the right front suspension on his car to end his rough night.
As Brown made the move for the lead on Ruff at lap 3, Lester, who had returned to the track, had something on the right front break and sent the right front wheel assembly off the car. The end result was no brakes and he caught the car of rookie challenger Kris East as the two entered the first turn. Lester and East both hit the outside wall extremely hard, but climbed out of their cars uninjured and under the own power.
With three early cautions in the first couple of laps, the decision was made to restart single file. On lap 5, Brown used his speed to get under Ruff off of turn four and took the lead away after his fifth place start position. Canipe was able to capitalize on the open door and take second away from Ruff as well.
The car on the move was Heady, who after he started last, was in the top five by the fifth lap. A couple of laps later he was able to move by Courtney for fourth and then me took the third spot away from Ruff and set his sights out on the lead duo.
At the halfway point Canipe had run down race leader Brown and as Brown got a little sideways on the exit of turn four at lap 14, Canipe drove to the bottom and took command of the race.
Heady had run down the leaders and was on the bumper of Brown as the race moved inside 10 laps to go. Behind them Ruff and Courtney were in the midst of a battle for the final two spots inside the top five over the final laps.
Canipe held his advantage over the final laps to claim his second win of the 2020 Southeast Legends Tour season over Brown, Heady, Ruff and Courtney. With the race win and Lester’s DNF the two drivers will enter the next event tied for the championship lead. However, Lester still has the opportunity for a point drop as the season enters the stretch run, so the title fight will be intense as the season winds down in the second half.
“We didn’t have a good qualifying like we wanted and started sixth. The lapped cars held the 11 [Brown] up, so that helped me get to him and pass him. The lapped car really helped me. If it wasn’t for the lapped car, he [Brown] probably would have won it. He had a faster car. I can’t thank 860 Motorsports, my mom and dad, my family, and everybody else for making this possible,” a victorious Canipe in Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet victory lane.
In the Bandolero feature race Kaleb Bradley and championship leader Bryce Sanders brought the field down to begin their 12 lap event. Sanders got the jump on the start of the race and led the first circuit, but it didn’t take long for Kaleb to move himself back into the lead as he would lead lap two.
Kaleb and his brother Jacob, along with Sanders would make it a three car battle for the win throughout the all-green race. In the end, Kaleb Bradley would make it around the lapped traffic and come across the line with his second victory of the season.
“I must have ate a hot dog or something on the original start. I let him [Sanders] get the jump and I got back to the lead and tried to not let them get in the draft and catch back up to me,” Bradley in victory lane.
|5.||55||MARDY ROBERTS, III|
The Southeast Legends and Bandoleros return to Anderson Motor Speedway next weekend for the sixth race of the 2020 season. More details of the race day event schedule will be released in the upcoming days.
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