Sanders Hits Arizona Copper Classic Jackpot

Justin Sanders on his way to victory Sunday at Arizona Speedway. (Ben Thrasher Photo)
Justin Sanders on his way to victory Sunday at Arizona Speedway. (Ben Thrasher Photo)

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. – Bettering his third-place finish from Saturday by two, Justin Sanders captured a long-awaited victory at the fourth annual Copper Classic Sunday at Arizona Speedway.

His first victory with the ASCS Southwest Region, the Arizona Speedway win was worth $5,000 to the Aromas, Calif., driver.

Taking several tries to get the feature rolling, the green lights finally stayed on long enough for Hunter Schuerenberg to jump into the lead with Colton Hardy and Christopher Bell duking it out for second.

Advantage to Bell, the red lights would come on for Mark Dobmeier, who had already gone over once, with 23 laps to go. Dobmeier was OK.

After a caution a lap later for James Aragon, the race for the lead was on as Bell shot low but couldn’t secure the spot, giving 10th starting Sanders the run for the runner-up spot. Going back and forth for the spot, Sanders was able to fend off Bell as the caution waved for the spun No. 75 of J.T. Imperial.

Restarting with five laps complete, Sanders went for the lead with no success, opening the door for Bell to go after Sanders again. Trading second around, Sanders once more held off Bell as Hunter Schuerenberg steadily pulled away.

Slowed again on lap 14 as Alex Pettas rolled to a stop on the front straightaway, the battle for the lead took off with Sanders sliding Schuerenberg off the second turn. Diving under Sanders to retake the spot into the third turn, Sanders took the line even lower to take the point on Lap 15. Battling with Bell for second, mechanical issues struck Schuerenberg for the second night in a row.

When the race went back to green, Sanders was unchallenged and kept it that way for the $5,000 top prize.

Bell crossed the line 2.002 seconds behind Sanders, with Craig Stidham completing the podium. Taking fourth, Hardy locked up the ASCS Southwest Region championship. The top five rounded out by 14th starting Billy Chester.

The finish:

1. 17-Justin Sanders, [10]; 2. 21-Christopher Bell, [4]; 3. 3-Craig Stidham, [5]; 4. 74-Colton Hardy, [2]; 5. 2B-Billy Chester III, [14]; 6. 22B-Jesse Baker, [11]; 7. 75X-J.T. Imperial, [15]; 8. 45-Lonnie Cox, [17]; 9. 50S-Rocky Silva, [18]; 10. 6-Bud Rowe, [20]; 11. (DNF) 99-James Aragon, [12]; 12. (DNF) 19AZ-Hunter Schuerenberg, [1]; 13. (DNF) 2-Alex Pettas, [16]; 14. (DNF) 13-Mark Dobmeier, [13]; 15. (DNF) 01-Thomas Kennedy, [3]; 16. (DNF) 57-Kyle Larson, [6]; 17. (DNF) 9-Dustin Freitas, [7]; 18. (DNF) 7B-Bill Balog, [8]; 19. (DNF) 25-Geoff Ensign, [9]; 20. (DNF) 18J-Paul Jones, [19]

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