Short Track Scene

Travis Braden outduels John VanDoorn in Kalamazoo 125

ARCA Racing Series

It took a caution with three laps to go, but Travis Braden took advantage by jumping a dominant Johnny VanDoorn on the restart and cruised to his third straight CRA Super Series victory in a row on Wednesday night at the Kalamazoo Speedway in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The restart was set-up due to a Lap 122 caution that came out when Raphael Lessard spun Wes Griffith Jr. in Turns 3 and 4.

An invert placed VanDoorn on the pole but he didn’t lead until the third lap. But once out in front, he led 89 of the next 120 circuits. Braden was the fastest qualifier but started fifth due to an invert. He caught VanDoorn for the lead on Lap 55 and held it until 85.

That’s when VanDoorn got back around him and set sail until the caution negated a one second lead.

VanDoorn chose the bottom lane for the decisive restart, but just couldn’t get going. Braden beat him into Turn 1 and cleared him by the exit of Turn 2.

That makes three in a row in the CRA for Braden.

“This was only my second time here, and my crew chief’s never been here, and this is one of the most stout fields you see,” Braden said over the track PA radio. “These guys like Brain Campbell, Kyle Busch and Johnny VanDoorn — they win a lot of races up here.

“We’re always right there with ‘em and sometimes that allows you to beat them. I don’t think we had the best car, but the bottom didn’t work for him. It seems like the last 50 laps that the bottom went away and the top wasn’t really that great but there was enough speed and momentum in it.”

Kyle Busch was entered in the race and looking for his first Super Late Model victory since this event back in 2014.

The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion started fifth but spent most of the race in seventh. He pitted during the Lap 55 caution in the hopes of addressing his problem but couldn’t make up time afterwards.

He finished P13.

This is Braden’s third CRA victory of the season, all consecutive, after winning races at Lucas Oil Raceway and Kil Kare Speedway last month. The two-time champion is looking to win his third crown once the CRA Championship Chase begins next month.

VanDoorn is looking to win his record-setting fourth once the playoffs begin.

The unofficial results can be found below.

  1. Travis Braden
  2. Johnny VanDoorn
  3. Kyle Crump
  4. Jordan Dahlke
  5. Carson Hocevar
  6. Brian Campbell
  7. Logan Runyon
  8. Phil Bozell
  9. Raphael Lessard
  10. Steve Dorer
  11. Dalton Armstrong
  12. Buddy Head
  13. Kyle Busch
  14. Chase Purdy
  15. Dan Leeck
  16. Boris Jurkovic
  17. Scott Hantz
  18. Evan Shotko
  19. Wes Griffith Jr.
  20. Eddie Fatscher
  21. Trevor McCoy
  22. Tyler Hufford
  23. Thomas Woodin

Note: Short Track Scene was not at this event but watched online via the Speed 51 Pay-Per-View broadcast

If you like what you read here, become a Short Track Scene Patreon and support short track journalism!