McReynolds rides last-lap pass to ARCA win
Brandon McReynolds helped his father celebrate another Talladega victory.
McReynolds, son of former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds, passed Matt Lofton on the final lap to win the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway.
The elder McReynolds was the late Davey Allison's crew chief for a Talladega victory 20 years ago Thursday, and his infant son was on Victory Lane with the member of the famed Alabama Gang. Allison died after a helicopter he was piloting crashed on the Talladega infield the following year, 1993.
Both McReynolds have plenty of happier memories at the Superspeedway.
"The biggest memories growing up around here is riding scooters throughout the motor home lot with some of my buddies and acting like we were halfway good race car drivers," McReynolds said.
Pushed by Chad Hackenbracht, the 20-year-old McReynolds claimed his first ARCA Racing Series victory with the outside pass through the tri-oval in the 94-lap, 250-mile race.
"We just hung in there, rode the bottom and minded our p's and q's throughout the middle there," McReynolds said. "At the end we shuffled 58 (Hackenbracht) there and were just kind of home-free.
"He stuck with me. He could have hung me out to dry."
The proud father approved of his son's strategy and execution.
"The kid had a plan. He was making that plan out there on the race track, and he knew he had one shot to get it right," said Larry McReynolds, now a television analyst. "You don't get a second chance. He knew when to do it and where to do it. It is neat to be a Dad and watch this happen to your son."
McReynolds' racing connections were evident when Sprint Cup driver Jeff Burton strolled into the media center to congratulate him.
The win came after a tough finish at Daytona. McReynolds had run out of fuel a few hundred feet shy of winning at Daytona after holding the lead for the previous 62 laps.
"I said, `You don't see this right now, but I promise you this run today did you more good as a race car driver than you'll ever, ever imagine,"' said the elder McReynolds, who also worked as Dale Earnhardt's crew chief.
Lofton, the polesitter, was second and Hackenbracht third. The starting order was determined by owners' standings after qualifying was rained out.
Lofton and McReynolds passed Hackenbracht coming out of a restart with four laps to go.
"We moved there at the end of the race just a half-lap too soon," said Lofton, who led 55 laps. "I really feel like we held back a little bit more we might have been able to hold on."
Hackenbracht led 38 laps despite working with only a three-man crew.
"To come up and run with guys got 10 or 15 guys working on their car, we feel really good about that," he said.
The race was marred by a late scare involving Mike Affarano. He smashed into the outer wall after Zach Ralston made contact from behind, then flipped six times before landing on the driver's side. He was treated and released.
Joey Coulter, George Cushman, Mike Harmon and Bobby Gerhart were treated and released at the infield care center after a 12-car crash just 11 laps in.
Gerhart raced to his eighth Daytona victory in February.