Blaine Akin dominated the season opener at Nashville and was one lap away from victory when his car broke loose out of turn 4 and delegated him to a 16th place finish. Tuesday night he finally got his revenge, leading 119 of 127 laps and finishing the job on a green, white, checkered finish at Richmond. Akin proved his reputation of being strong on short tracks by pulling out to over a 6 second lead until a caution came out with 14 to go. He was able to fend off the other 8 lead lap cars to get his first win of the G-Force Grand National Series.
Gerald Campbell took the pole with a blistering 21.899 second lap and led the first 7 laps before Akin got around him and went on to lead the rest of the way. Lap 2 saw two different incidents occur when Tyler Riggs got into the back of Anthony Guarnieri and collected a handful of other cars. Ahead of that wreck, Hank Steinmiller scraped the wall, bounced off, and collected Joseph Causey as the caution flag flew. After the restart on lap 7, the race stayed green for 105 laps showing a slew of differing pit strategies. Most cars opted to pit for tires around halfway, while 6 cars attempted to go the entire race on one set.
The strategies all came to a rest as the caution flew on lap 111 with Rocky Boyd running into Jake Hounshell also collecting Chris Morse Jr. The contact would be costly to Hounshell and Morse effectively ending their nights, both finishing multiple laps down. With just 8 cars left on the lead lap, everyone opted for new tires on the mad dash to the finish. A quick caution setup a green, white, checkered finish with Akin and Campbell leading the front row.
Akin was able to navigate turn 1 relatively clean while Campbell overdrove the corner a bit, washing up the track and slowing his momentum. Contact between Bobby Labonte and John Weitendorf opened the bottom lane for Steinmiller to push through to second place with a few spinning cars on the backstretch. When the chaos settled out, it was Akin with a 1.5 second lead as he crossed the finish line with Steinmiller, Campbell, Weitendorf, and Labonte rounding out the top 5.
A good run turned bad for Hounshell will put Campbell in the points lead. Akin improve his points position and break into the top 5. Strong top 10 runs by Dallas Myhand and Weitendorf will keep their top 5 points positions steady. Round 4 of the G-Force Grand National Series powered by the JuiceBox Podcast will head to Bristol next Tuesday on Flatout Racing Network.