(LEFT) As the green flag waved, 54 competitors
began plotting moves that would take them to
the front of the SRF3 pack. (BELOW) Denny
Stripling got to the finish line 0.017sec shy
of the win. (BOT TOM) Robeson Clay Russell
claimed back-to-back SRF3 championships.
back again. Schofield came
back to make a play for the
top spot in lap 10, but couldn’t
make it stick. But no matter
what happened, Russell came
back to the lead by the time
the field crossed the start line.
Then came the last two laps.
“Russell was struggling in
Oak Tree,” Schofield said. “On
the last lap, I thought I was all
set up, but he really struggled
and I had nowhere to go. I went
wide to avoid hitting him, which
made us three-wide down the
back straight. Halfway down
the back straight I decided to
lift and get behind him. I didn’t
have the speed. We were all
out of control out there.”
Stripling was watching
and waiting for his moment.
“When we got onto the back
straightaway and Clay and
Brian were next to each other,
I had to choose: Do I want to
back one of those two guys
and push them into first and
me into second?” Stripling said.
“I thought, nope, it’s the last
lap of the Runoffs. Let’s take
this bad boy three wide!”
The decision worked
out, allowing Stripling to
move up to second place,
and almost to the win.