Nick Craig outlasts the field
Craig — Where other drivers struggled with continuity, Nick Craig thrived.
Craig outlasted three caution flags, nine other drivers and a rough track that had some drivers struggling to keep control, to hold on to win the Modifieds race Saturday at the Hayden Speedway.
“Caution flags are nice on a rough track like that because it gives you a break. You can kind of chill out and get your composure back,” Craig said. “It gives you time to look at the track and see where you might want to run. See if it’s tacking up or getting dry.”
For Craig, who had the pole position to begin the race in the featured event of the night, the win was his third of the year in Hayden.
While in his other two races, Craig easily finished in the top spot, Saturday provided some intrigue and gave race fans a showdown they’ve wanted to see all season.
Craig, who leads in the point standings, and Phil Goodwin, who sits in second in the points, finally were able to square off in the main event.
Goodwin crept his way past several cars through the first three laps and found himself in second. After a caution flag halted action for several laps, Goodwin made his move heading into turn one.
Goodwin found the right line and briefly passed Craig before getting caught high and falling back into second.
Then – after yet another caution flag – Goodwin made one final attempt. Coming into the turns three and four, Goodwin looked to have found the right line again and was about to overtake Craig on the inside when his car spun out.
“I didn’t squeeze enough break into it,” said Goodwin, who still had his car setup from a race in Fort Morgan. “It pushed out on me, and I didn’t get enough on the throttle.”
Goodwin fell back to fifth place and gave Hot Sulphur Springs racer Chance Harms a chance to battle with Craig.
Harms, who has struggled in Hayden this year, kept with Craig for most of the last two laps before a caution flag thwarted his chances.
Still, Harms came away satisfied with his performance.
“I thought I could have had (Craig) before that last caution,” Harms said. “But it happens. That’s racing.”
Craig’s win leaves him just ahead of Goodwin in the point standings with two weeks left. Goodwin said he’d been waiting all year to race that close with Craig and said the last two weeks should make the modified class quite interesting.
“What I’ve been waiting for is to get up there and race with Nick,” Goodwin said. “I hope we can do it again. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
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