No Tires, No Problem: Eckrich Stays Out to Win 5th Race of 2022

Executing on and off pit road was the name of the game for the #70 team on Tuesday night. Scott Eckrich converted a “stay out” call from his crew to his 5th win of the season, stealing the checkered flag from teammate Jeff Ward with just a handful of laps remaining at the Monster Mile.

Don Runkle Jr. started the I Hate Octane93 on Twitch Dover 200 from first position, winning the Mahan Speed Laboratories You Finished Last Pole Award thanks to a mechanical failure at Talladega. Runkle quickly yielded the top spot to Woody Mahan himself, who put his purple #84 Ford out front for an impressive 47 laps.

Snoop Dawgy Don Runkle Jr. led the field to the green flag.
Woody Mahan led the first quarter of the race, his purple #84 sparkling under the overcast skies.

As the tires wore out, Platinum Recording Artist Jeff Ward hummed a happy tune. The driver of the #9 Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. Chevrolet, known to like a snug race car, worked his way to the front, taking the lead from Mahan before the caution flag flew on lap 54. When the field hit pit road, the #70 Winternode team of Scott Eckrich put its cards on the table, beating Ward out by inches at the green cone.

Scott Eckrich narrowly beat Jeff Ward leaving pit road on lap 56.

Eckrich pulled out to a sizeable lead before a caution on lap 97 shook up the running order again. Woody Mahan, Tommy Rhyne, and others stayed out, banking on a string of cautions, while Eckrich returned to pit road. The call was again the right one for the #70 crew, as the race then went green for a whopping 92 laps. Rhyne worked his way past Mahan before being overtaken by Eckrich himself.

Tommy Rhyne and Scott Eckrich thrilled fans with their clean but heated battle just past the halfway mark.

The win for the #70 team did, however, look in doubt during the long green flag run. Jeff Ward pulled an undercut, stopping two laps before Eckrich. Ward cycled back to the front on lap 169 and set his sights on Victory Lane. But a crash between two of his LPM Group teammates with just 8 laps to go unraveled Ward’s race. With 30-lap-old tires in hand, the #9 team felt they had no choice but to come to pit road. Scott Eckrich’s team made a split-second call to keep the #70 on the track.

Scott Eckrich reacts to his crew telling him to stay out.

The move was the right one. Barney the Wreck-Obsessed Flagman threw the caution again just after the restart, ending the race under yellow. Jeff Ward had to settle for a disappointing 4th place finish, being beaten to the podium by teammates Mike Rasimas and Isaiah Dupre. With Brian Yaczik finishing in 5th, it was an LPM Group sweep of the top five.

LPM Group cars swept the top 5 positions.
Scott Eckrich took his 5th win of the season and padded his points lead.

With drop weeks beginning to take effect, Scott Eckrich extends his lead at the top of the championship table to 20 points over Thomas J. George. Bonus points continue to be a difference-maker, as Eckrich picked up 13 at Dover, including the Hard Charger and Fastest Lap Awards.

The Pretty Good Racing League heads to the track Too Tough to Tame for PGRL’s Season 1 championship finale. The Imma Head Out 200 presented by The Joy of Driving will run on Tuesday, May 3rd at Darlington Raceway. The Virtual Grip Network will have all the action covered live beginning at 8:50pm ET.

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