MARION, Ill. – Frank Flud became the first two-time champion of the Engler Machine and Tool Highbanks Hustle with his victory on Sunday night at Southern Illinois Raceway.
After a rainout Saturday night, 98 drivers were able to remain at the eighth-mile dirt track for a Sunday-night running of the Driven Performance Championship Finale during the eighth edition of the crown-jewel micro sprint event.
The 24-car starting field was set after 10 heat races, six A-main qualifiers, one dash and one last chance qualifier.
Friday-night preliminary winner Alex Bright was the A-main polesitter after winning the six-lap dash. The only change between Friday’s top-six finishing order and the dash finish was Flud moving by teammate Harley Hollan to finish fourth.
That lined Flud up on the outside of row two for the main event behind Bright, Brian Carber and Nathan Benson, and ahead of Hollan and Dylan Kadous.
Mechanical issues ended Kadous’s night before the green flag dropped on the 40-lap feature. On the race’s initial start, Carber got around Bright to lead the opening lap.
Bright fell to second and Flud moved up one position to third. On lap two, the race’s only red flag flew when two cars got upside down on the front straightaway.
The two cars involved were Dan Souder and Laydon Pearson. Both were uninjured.
On the restart, Flud began to battle with Bright for second. Flud lost ground to the Pennsylvania driver after jumping the cushion in turn two. When Flud finally got around Bright for the second position, Carber had opened up a sizable lead and was working through lap traffic.
Carber struggled to get by lap cars, allowing Flud to catch him within just a couple laps. Flud pulled even with Carber at the start/finish line on lap 24.
In the very next corner, Flud got by Carber with a slidejob in turns one and two. On the next lap, Carber tried to regain the lead with a slider of his own, only for Flud’s crossover move to deny that effort.
From there, Flud would be untouched the rest of the way. He held off Carber through multiple late-race cautions to take the win, becoming the first driver in eight runnings of the Highbanks Hustle to win the micro sprint crown jewel twice.
Flud’s first Hustle triumph came in 2016.
Carber and Bright completed the podium, followed by Joe B. Miller and Nathan Benson.
Scotty Milan, Ryan Timms, Corey Day, Hollan and Trey Robb filled out the top 10.
1. Frank Flud, 2. Brian Carber, 3. Alex Bright, 4. Joe B. Miller, 5. Nathan Benson, 6. Scotty Milan, 7. Ryan Timms, 8. Corey Day, 9. Harley Hollan, 10. Trey Robb, 11. Jake Hagopian, 12. Cody Christensen, 13. Dusty Young, 14. Kaylee Bryson, 15. Bryant Wiedeman, 16. Kameron Key, 17. Brenden Bright, 18. Austin Quick, 19. Russ Disinger, 20. Chase Porter, 21. Dan Souder, 22. Laydon Pearson, 23. Andrew Peters, 24. Dylan Kadous (DNS).