Eckrich Defeats Ward in Strategic Showdown; Wins Muscular Dystrophy Awareness 200

A series of cautions set up a strategic duel between two GRAAFix LC Motorsports crews at Richmond. But when the smoke cleared Tuesday night, the #70 Winternode Chevrolet of Scott Eckrich was back in Victory Lane, the team’s fourth win in seven starts.

The Muscular Dystrophy Awareness 200 presented by Patriot Media and Marketing Services saw 38 cars take the green flag, led by Mahan Speed Laboratories You Finished Last Pole Award winner Travis McQuistion. The PMS Racing driver looked impressive early on, pacing the field for the first 41 laps while Back Row Motorsports pilot Rich Jette settled into second position.

Travis McQuistion started on pole position, led 47 laps, and finished 8th. Pretty good.

Scott Eckrich, who started 16th, methodically worked his way to the front and put on a thrilling battle for the fans with McQuistion. The pair swapped the lead multiple times during a long green flag run before Eckrich took the point and began to drive away.

It took Scott Eckrich ten laps to pass Travis McQuistion, but the clean battle entertained fans.

A caution on lap 106 triggered a crew chief showdown between the folks atop the #70 pit box of Eckrich and that of teammate Jeff Ward in the #9. Eckrich’s crew instructed him to pit, while Ward’s team told him to stay out.

With tire wear high, track position at a premium, and cautions flying repeatedly over the next 75 laps, the two teams cycled back and forth at the front. Eckrich retook the lead on lap 131, Ward regained control on lap 149, and Eckrich took command again on lap 163 when Ward returned to pit road.

Ward’s fresher tires and innovative techniques — shifting between third and fourth gear, and running the high lane — helped him move up quickly from his 17th place restart position. But as the laps ticked away and the field got strung out, the #9 team’s advantage dissipated and the win fell out of reach. The #70 crew’s decision to stay on sequence paid off, with Scott Eckrich cruising to the win and the series points lead.

Jeff Ward led 23 laps and finished 5th.
Scott Eckrich won the race and took over the PGRL points lead.

Michael Strohl ran a quiet and consistent race to finish 2nd. Thomas George recovered from a mid-race accident to lock up the 3rd spot on the podium. Tommy Rhyne put in an impressive performance to finish 4th, advancing 31 positions from his starting spot and earning the race’s Hard Charger bonus. Jeff Ward rounded out the top five. Pole sitter Travis McQuistion came home in 8th place, behind Michael Chrobok and Mike Rasimas. James Krahula and Woody Mahan completed the top ten.

Tommy Rhyne knew what he was digging into, starting 35th and finishing 4th.

Dwight Beverly turned heads in his PGRL debut, spending a good portion of the race in the top 10. However, a late accident ended his hopes of a strong finish, relegating the #01 team to a 23rd place result. Two other drivers making their series debuts enjoyed mixed fortunes. Justin Rector finished 19th, while Adam Jurski took his brightly-colored #71 Ford to a 34th place result. Jurski will lead the field to the green flag next week at Martinsville as the lowest finisher amongst eligible Chartered drivers.

Adam Jurski will start the next PGRL race from pole position.

The Pretty Good Racing League heads to Martinsville Speedway for the Hide the Pain and Celebrate the Joy of Driving 250 on Tuesday, April 5. The Virtual Grip Network will have all the action covered live beginning at 8:50pm ET. Until then, don’t forget to catch the replay of the Richmond race at the link below. For every view by season’s end, Patriot Media and Marketing Services will donate $1 to Laps for Muscular Dystrophy.

Laps4MD raises funds for, and awareness of, Muscular Dystrophy – a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness and a loss of mobility. Laps4MD is racing towards a cure, supporting the fundraising efforts of Muscular Dystrophy Canada and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the US. For more information, including how to donate yourself, please visit laps4md.blogspot.com, muscle.ca, and mda.org.

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