Aitken Edges Clouser In WAR Sprints

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Garrett Aitken (Greg Stanek photo)

WHEATLAND, Mo. — Garrett Aitken lost the lead midway through, then regained it two laps later from Mario Clouser and went on to win the 30-lap POWRi Lucas Oil WAR non-winged sprint car portion of the Hockett-McMillin Memorial.

“This is probably the biggest race I’ve ever won,” Aitken said. “I just want to thank all the fans for coming out. You guys have been awesome.”

Aitken, starting outside of Clouser on the front row, got the jump as the green waved and set the early pace with Clouser – who won features on both preliminary nights – close behind.

Clouser snatched the lead from Aitken coming off turn two on lap 11. But just four laps later, Clouser jumped the cushion in turn four, making contact with the wall. One lap later, Aitken drove past him with a debris for caution from Clouser’s mishap waving on lap 17.

Clouser had to pit with a flat tire and more damage. That ended the Chatham, Illinois driver’s chances for a weekend sweep.

From there, it was all Aitken. He opened a 1.4-second lead with five laps remaining and then held on as Cottle charged through the field from his 15th-starting spot. Aitken won by half a second as the checkered flag waved.

“It was another treacherous night (up top) for me,” Aitken said. “I saw Clouser mess up and kind of lucked out. He was trying to run away with it from there.

“I just can’t thank my sponsors enough that are on the side of this car. It’s just me and my dad. We bust out butts on it throughout the week and I can’t thank him enough.”

Cottle called his run to second a good time, throwing slide jobs as he sliced toward the front.

“It was a lot of fun. The track was extremely racy tonight,” Cottle said. “I had a lot of fun.”

Wyatt Burks wound up third with Joe B. Miller finishing fourth and Kory Schudy fifth.

The finish:

  1. 32-Garrett Aitken[2]; 2. 5C-Colten Cottle[15]; 3. 11W-Wyatt Burks[3]; 4. 31-Joe B Miller[5]; 5. 28-Kory Schudy[14]; 6. 33M-Matt Westfall[13]; 7. 77M-RJ Johnson[12]; 8. 24X-Casey Shuman[4]; 9. 12-Wesley Smith[18]; 10. 16-Anthony Nicholson[7]; 11. 8D-Terry Babb[9]; 12. 54-Trey Gropp[21]; 13. 311-Quinton Benson[19]; 14. 1-Paul White[20]; 15. 37-Brian Beebe[6]; 16. 73V-Blake Vermillion[22]; 17. 20G-Noah Gass[16]; 18. 6-Mario Clouser[1]; 19. 5D-Zach Daum[10]; 20. 24-Landon Simon[11]; 21. 77-Jack Wagner[23]; 22. 91-Riley Kreisel[8]; 23. 74-Xavier Doney[17]

 

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