Pursley comes on strong to win at SCR
Greg Pursley used patience during the early portions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Toyota/NAPA 150 at Spokane County Raceway as the veteran saved his equipment for a late race charge that paid off as the Newhall, Calif., driver topped the field on Saturday night.
Pursley, who was one of seven drivers to break the series qualifying record, posted the second-quickest lap of the night behind his teammate, Cameron Hayley, as the Gene Price Motorsports duo led the field to the green flag.
Hayley was unable to hold Pursley off in the opening laps and settled into second place through the opening five circuits. The 17-year old Calgary native took over the top spot on lap six and set a torrid pace through lap 36 before being overtaken by Richard Childress Racing driver development star and three-time race winner in 2013, Michael Self.
Blistering the track at a pace nearly as fast as speeds put up in qualifying, Self moved to a sizable lead over the course of the next 70 laps en route to leading a total of 78 of 150 trips around the half-mile.
With the night’s fourth and final caution flying on lap 107, Pursley, who had dropped back to as far as fifth in the middle stages of the race, made his move on the double-file restart as the green flag came back out to begin lap 112. Chasing Self down the backstretch, Pursley dove underneath the leader entering turn No. 3, and as the pair exited the corner Pursley had the position. Over the next three laps Pursley built a lead of over .750 seconds over Self as the 2011 series champion sailed to his third victory of the season.
“We got to the front and got a little bit of a lead and were able to save it out front there,” Pursley said.
The win came one week after Pursley crossed the finish line running second at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., only to make contact with the turn No. 1 wall just after completing the 150-lap race.
“We destroyed a car last week at Monroe, just totaled it,” he said. “We brought this one as a backup. Everybody at Gene Price Motorsports rebounded and did an awesome job. I can’t thank them enough.”
Derek Thorn, who leads the points chase for the 2013 championship, made the most of his first career start at SCR as the Lakeport, Calif., driver qualified third, fell back as deep as ninth in the running order then marched to the front of the field overtaking Self, Hayley and others in the process to finish second.
Hayley would hold onto third place at the checkers with Giles Thornton coming home fourth. Patrick Staropoli, who made his series debut on Saturday, finished fifth. Self fell back to sixth with last week’s race winner and current Rookie of the Year points leader, Dylan Lupton, finishing seventh. Travis Milburn, who hails from Eagle, Idaho, finished eighth.
Medical Lake’s Braeden Havens qualified 10th and ran as high as seventh before falling back to ninth as the 20-year old recorded his second top-10 finish in as many starts on the series this season. Luis Tyrell rounded out the top 10.
Two-time Daytona 500 winner, Michael Waltrip, posted the eighth-best speed in qualifying but battled handling issues late and fell back to 11th.