Edwards Crowned Fall Brawl Champion After Late Race Drama

RaceControl FallBrawl17, SLM Leave a Comment

FALL BRAWL – Following an official review of Thursday’s event, Trevor Edwards has been named the 3rd Annual H&H Sign Supply Fall Brawl Spectacular champion, after late race contact between himself and Adam Benefiel led to Edwards spinning for the lap 218 caution. Benefiel would go on to cross the finish line first, while Edwards rebounded to second place, until league officials decided that Benefiel was at fault for the incident, handing the victory over to Edwards.

Once the pre-race activities came to an end, the 30-car Super Late Model field rolled back out on track for their 250-lap feature event in the 2017 Fall Brawl Spectacular. Matt Rolfe and Adam Benefiel would lead the field to the green flag from winning their Heat Races the night before during Qualifying Night. Rolfe would lead the opening 5 laps of the race before giving way to Benefiel who would pull away during the opening 37 lap green flag run prior to the first caution.

During the opening run, one driver that was charging to the front was Jimmy Mullis who made some moves up the outside groove, and then later got by Rolfe for 2nd. After the restart, Mullis quickly went to work on taking the lead and did so on lap 49 as he worked his way to the inside of Benefiel for the top spot. Once Mullis got out in front, he continued to pull away during the next green flag stretch of the race, while Benefiel began dropping through the top five.

Defending race winner, Tim Bills, also started working his way forward picking his way through the top five as he moved up into the runner up spot, but also brought Joe Schaffer Jr. and Christian Challiner with him as well. Shortly after, Schaffer would shuffle Bills back as he took his turn into the runner up spot. However as the drivers in the top five battled, Mullis was enjoying his near two-second lead as the field passed the 100-lap mark before the next caution on lap 104.

After the restart, Mullis got the jump once again, but this time Schaffer was able to keep up as he ran a couple car lengths off the leader during the next short run. This green flag run would end for a caution flag on lap 129, setting up the first major strategy move of the night. With half of the race complete, Mullis would give up the lead to head down pit road for tires, as one of the only cars to make a pit stop at that point of the race.

This would hand the lead over to Schaffer Jr. after the restart with Trevor Edwards joining him up front. The two would settle in quickly but things got exciting back in pack as Tim Bills would end up facing the wrong direction in front of the field. But without a caution, Bills would end up getting his car going again directly in front of the leaders and began trying to hold them off to stay on the lead lap. This would continue through lap 150 until contact between Schaffer Jr. and Bills would once again see Bills facing the wrong direction, but this time it was enough to end his night.

Following this yellow flag, another round of drivers would head down pit road including 3rd place driver David Krikorian, but Schaffer and Edwards stayed on track and led the field back to the next restart. During the previous run, Mullis had charged his way through the field with his new tires, and would restart in 4th, and again made quick work towards the front of the field and used the fresh rubber to get by Edwards on the outside for 2nd and kept the momentum up to grab the lead from Schaffer on lap 161.

As the green flag run continued once again, the drivers with newer tires began showing their strength, while others dropped through the field. Samuel Roush, Bill Martin, Krikorian, and Challiner all moved up into the top five, while Schaffer and Edwards fell into the back half of the top ten. Mullis continued to lead with Roush trying to close the gap out front with tires that were about 20 laps fresher, but Mullis held onto the top spot until the next yellow on lap 201.

With the race reaching the 200-lap mark, all remaining drivers who hadn’t taken new tires yet, all headed down pit road to get them for the final 50-lap run to the finish, including Schaffer, Edwards, Benefiel. After the restart, Mullis continued to run strong up front despite the oldest tires in the field, but Edwards and Benefiel were charging quickly, while Schaffer had troubles and headed back to the infield which ended his night.

On lap 218 as Edwards and Benefiel were snaking through the field on new tires, Edwards clipped the apron coming out of turn two, allowing Benefiel to get a run. But as they went into turn three, Benefiel dove to the bottom while Edwards was trying to keep the door shut, and the two would make contact resulting in Edwards getting spun around in front of the field for a caution. This would ultimately be a major turning point in the race, but both drivers would continue on with Benefiel in 5th, and Edwards in 9th.

After another quick yellow, the race would finish with a 19 lap green flag run. Mullis was able to get the jump one last time, but tires would really come into play as Benefiel got up to 2nd after the restart, and it took him just three laps to work his way under Mullis. Mullis attempted to hang tough on the outside for a couple laps, before ultimately falling back as Benefiel would find himself in the lead with 16 laps to go, and with Edwards rebounding and following up to the runner up spot.

During the final laps, Benefiel was able to maintain his pace over Edwards by about a second with the laps winding down, and Benefiel would come around to pick up the checkered flag, unofficially taking the win in the Fall Brawl.

However, during post race review, SARA officials deemed Benefiel to be at fault for the lap 218 caution with Edwards, and ultimately being scored as the last car on the lead lap in the official results. This would hand over the victory to Trevor Edwards who was able to rebound from the spin to follow Benefiel across the finish line, which put him in position to be handed win.

Congratulations to Trevor Edwards, the 2017 3rd Annual H&H Sign Supply Fall Brawl Spectacular champion!

Final Results

Caution Log:
– Lap 37 – Contact between the 00 and 26 while three wide with the 88, 26 spun – 26 claimed the caution
– Lap 103 – Contact with 29 pinching 54 car up into wall, 54 spun – 29 at fault for the caution (5 positions docked)
– Lap 129 – Contact with 26 running up the track into 17 in the turn, 17 spun – 26 at fault for the caution (5 positions docked)
– Lap 150 – Contact with 6 getting into the back of the 37 in the turn, 37 spun – 6 at fault for the caution (5 positions docked)
– Lap 201 – 12 car spun after clipping the apron – 12 claimed the caution
– Lap 218 – Contact with 83 getting into 32 entering corner, 32 spun – 83 at fault for the caution (EOL on Lead Lap)
– Lap 225 – Contact with the 29 and 17, 17 spun – Racing deal

In all incidents where a driver was found at fault, it is ultimately the passing car’s responsibility to make a safe and clean pass.

Prizes:
SARA Fast Time Awards ($5 each) – Tim Bills 1st, Joe Schaffer Jr. (2nd)
Can-Am Racing Series B-Main Top Three Awards – Samuel Roush ($15), Derek Robinson ($10), Darrell Hamlin ($5)
TUNDRA Super Late Models Hard Charger Award ($10) – Travis Houck (+18 positions)
Can-Am Racing Series Best Appearing Car Award ($15) – Jimmy Mullis