15 year old Seth Christensen wins Alabama 200
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - In a race that saw 19 caution flags, 15-year-old Pendergrass, GA, native Seth Christensen outlasted the pack and took home the hardware in the 59th Annual Alabama 200.
Early in the race, Augie Grill set the pace and pulled away from the field until a lap 20 caution brought the field back together. The race restarted on lap 22, but JoJo Wilkinson had trouble with the restart, and they tried it again.
Lap 35 brought out another caution, and this time, instead of choosing the inside lane on the restart, Grill elected to restart on the outside, which turned out not to be the best choice as Gavin Graham took his number 70 machine to the lead.
Grill found himself now defending second from a hard-charging Carson Brown. However, Brown was able to make the pass on lap 42 and began to charge toward the race leader.
Brown was given a golden opportunity when Jim Wall spun on lap 51 to bring another yellow flag out. Brown started on the outside of Graham for the restart. However, two more cautions would come out, and it wasn’t until a restart on lap 57 that Brown would finally get a real chance at challenging for the lead. Brown eventually took the lead on lap 59 from Graham with a huge run on the outside.
It looked like Brown would be unstoppable at the race’s midway point.
On lap 113, A big wreck in turn three between two cars running in the top five, Grill and Dylan Fetcho, changed the landscape of the race. Grill sustained heavy right-side damage but was able to continue on, while Fetcho had to retire his number 89 machine.
During the caution, nearly the entire field pitted for fresh tires except for five cars, including race leader Carson Brown.
On the restart, Christopher Tullis used his fresher tires to wheel his car into second place from fourth and was able to chase down Brown, eventually overtaking him for the lead on a much fresher set of tires.
Tullis pulled away from the field, and by lap 126, he had a straightaway lead on second place Brown. However, on the older set of tires, Brown started to fade back and dropped back to fourth place on lap 141.
With Tullis dominating up front, Brown needed a caution flag to pit for a fresh set of tires and contend for the lead once again. Finally, on lap 164, Brown got his wish. The 33-car stopped on the backstretch and brought out a caution allowing Brown and the other four drivers who did not pit on lap 113.
On the restart, Tullis started inside the front row with Brown on the outside with fresher tires. After two tries on the restart, Brown was able to take the lead once again.
Brown was in control of the race when another caution flag flew on lap 182. When the field was lined back up for a restart, it was Brown and Tullis on the front row, with Christensen starting inside the second row.
Brown and Tullis were battling hard for the lead in the closing laps, and the hard racing turned into the two cars getting into each other coming off turn four on lap 186 and changed the landscape of the entire race.
Christensen suddenly found himself in the lead for the lap 191 restart after driving a consistent race all night. When the green flag dropped, Tullis, who was now in 10th place, was spun by Steven Chunn, and the field lined up once again for a restart with five laps remaining.
Christensen was able to hold John Bolen off for the lead and, in just his second career start in a Pro Late Model start, Christensen was victorious.
“I never,” Christensen said. “Our goal was to just get a top-10. It’s been an amazing car all weekend. With it being my first time here, I just wanted to bring the car home in one piece with a respectable position.
Bolen, who finished second in the race for the sixth time in his career, had a shot at the lead but chose not to drive aggressively and settled for runner-up.
“That’s not how we race,” Bolen said. “We finished second in this race so many dang times that I didn’t want to win it that way. We had a good car but was just tight all night. Tony (Eury Jr.) and all the guys have kept working and digging.
Throughout all the cautions, Christensen kept his nose clean and gained an impressive 20 spots on his path to victory, and he expressed his gratitude to Bolen at the end of the night.
“First, thank you, John Bolen. I am so grateful for how you raced me,” Christensen said. “But this is all unbelievable. I figured at the end, I was going to have to work my way through the top-5 on our tires. We got a lot of luck with the wrecks and guys getting into each other, and I snuck right on By.”
59th Alabama 200 Final Results
- Seth Christensen
- John Bolen
- Augie Grill
- Dustin Smith
- Bryson Shaffer
- Carson Brown
- Johnny Aramendia
- Gavin Graham
- Chase Spradlin
- Steven Chunn
- Gage Rodgers
- Christopher Tullis
- Stacey Crain
- Jim Wall
- Chase Johnson
- Jojo Wilkinson
- Dylan Fetcho
- Frankie Martin
- Boston Oliver
- Cale Hall
- Ryan Reuse
- Dawson Sutton
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