Brandon McReynolds wins Friday's ARCA race |
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TALLADEGA, Ala. – Twenty years after Larry McReynolds stood in Victory Lane at Talladega Superspeedway with driver Davey Allison, he returned on Friday to celebrate the victory of his son, Brandon McReynolds, in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250.
Brandon McReynolds picked up his first victory in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards by passing Matt Lofton coming through the tri-oval on the final lap. McReynolds had helped push Lofton past leader Chad Hackenbracht five laps earlier, then McReynolds used a similar push from Hackenbracht to pass Lofton on the high side of the track just before the finish line.
“That kid amazes me,” said Larry McReynolds, who was the crew chief when Allison won the May Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1992. “I don’t know where he gets this driving talent. I can promise you it doesn’t come from me. Evidently he gets that from his godfather, Davey Allison. That’s the only thing I can figure out.”
Brandon McReynolds was a toddler when Allison won at Talladega in 1992, so he does not remember making that trip to Victory Lane with his father. But he certainly will not forget this one.
“It’s cool to go to Victory Lane knowing that dad and Dale Earnhardt and Davey Allison and those people who dad worked with had so much success here,” Brandon McReynolds said. “That’s what means the most to me. This is awesome. I’m going to enjoy this one, for sure. It was a lot of fun.”
As the leaders entered the final turn before the tri-oval, Brandon McReynolds noticed that Hackenbracht was not quite close enough to give him a good push past Lofton. So McReynolds said he “backed up” into Hackenbracht, and then used the two-car momentum to pass Lofton.
“He had a plan, and he started making that plan with 20 laps to go,” Larry McReynolds said of his son. “He knew exactly where he wanted to be coming off Turn 4, and he knew he had one shot to get it right. He knew when to do it and where to do it.”
Lofton, who held off Hackenbracht to finish second, lamented that there was not much he could do at the end to keep McReynolds from passing him.
"We did everything we could to hold them off at the line,” Lofton said. “If I had moved up sooner I would have left the bottom vulnerable. So I tried to hang out there in the middle and hoped the start-finish line came before they got there. It just didn’t quite work that way.”
Instead, Brandon McReynolds picked up a memorable victory. Not only for him but for his father, who is an Alabama native.
“There’s no question that for him to win here is special,” Larry McReynolds said. “Not only was I in Victory Lane here 20 years ago, but 40 years ago I was sitting in the grandstands with my dad as a little boy watching Cup races. I still consider this to be my home track. It is neat to be a dad and watch this happen to your son.”
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