In Sunday’s Dutch Boy 100, Brent Crews, making his second-career start in the ARCA Menards Series, turned the heads of pretty much everybody in the garage with his victory at Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The 15-year-old driver, who made his debut in the ARCA Menards Series at Watkins Glen International less than 48 hours ago, has become the second-youngest winner in series history, after dominating the second half of the 100-lap contest.
After scoring the pole, Crews, driving the No. 25 for Venturini Motorsports, led the opening 18 laps of Sunday’s event, before teammate and championship leader Jesse Love was able to take the lead away from the young rookie.
The ARCA Menards Series championship leader would go on to lead 35 laps and maintain control of the event until the halfway break – when all teams were permitted to make adjustments on their cars.
Upon the race’s resumption, it was clear that Crews had the quicker Toyota Camry, allowing the driver to make a move inside for the race lead with 47 laps remaining, a battle that went uncontested when contact between the two cars sent the No. 20 up the track.
For Crews, that was the race’s pivotal moment, and probably the final moment of seeing a lead-lap car in his mirror, as the Denver, North Carolina native stretched his lead further and further away from his Venturini Motorsports teammate.
Love would continue to fade as the final stint of the race progressed, dropping as far back as fourth place in the closing laps, allowing both Andres Perez de Lara to maneuver around the Menlo Park, California native.
However, after Crews was able to get away with the lead of the race, there was essentially no chance of anybody closing on the youngster, who ended up stretching has gap to 20-plus seconds by the conclusion of the 100-lap contest.
Andres Perez de Lara was able to come home with a career-best runner-up finish, more than a half-lap behind the eventual winner, while Jesse Love was able to rebound to third, more than 28 seconds behind.
Kelly Kovski, a perennial dirt competitor in the ARCA Menards Series, finished in fourth place, while despite problems in the closing laps of the race, William Sawalich completed the top five.
Ken Schrader came home in sixth, with Frankie Muniz, Taylor Reimer, Jon Garrett, and Brayton Laster rounding out the top-10.
Leaving Springfield, Jesse Love continues to maintain a 114-point gap in the ARCA Menards Series point standings over Andres Perez de Lara. Frankie Muniz, Christian Rose, and Jon Garrett complete the top five in points.