By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
The 2018 ARCA Racing Series season has been a tough one for Gus Dean. The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers 200 at Salem Speedway was no different for Dean. A scary pit road incident early in the race left the Bluffton, SC native rallying to finish inside the top-10.
In the final 40-lap run to the finish, Dean restarted just outside the top-10. After the pit stops, his No. 32 GREE Cooling Products / Baker Distributing Chevrolet SS climbed through the field. Dean slowly picked up positions running on the outside of the high-banked, 0.555-mile oval. When the checkered flag finally waved, he found himself in the seventh position.
Under caution on lap 55, Dean and his team narrowly avoided disaster. While his Win-Tron Racing crew serviced the car, contact between eventual race-winner Christian Eckes and Brett Holmes sent the No. 23 Chevrolet into the pit box. Holmes struck the rear tire carrier, John Rhine, and changer, Brandon Traino of Dean’s crew, knocking the No. 32 off of the jack in the process. The crew members immediately returned to the car to complete the stop before being treated by medical personnel. The crew members were evaluated and released from the care center.
Dean took to Twitter to thank his team,
Rough day @Salem_Speedway. First and foremost I’m glad all of my guys are ok after the pit road incident. @jj_topofthebox along with my entire @WinTronRacing team, did an awesome job on the box all weekend. We had an awesome @GREE_Racing @BakerDist #32 Chevy. On to the next one!
— Gus Dean (@gusdean) April 22, 2018
Dean was caught up in a multi-car accident on lap 73. The accident effectively ended the chances of pre-race favorite Natalie Decker and also involved Travis Braden. Dean’s No. 32 received minor damage in the incident.
The seventh-place finish is the first top-10 finish for Dean this season, and the 18thof his career in his 30thcareer start. It also moves the 23-year-old from 11thin points to be well inside the top-10 in the Championship Points Standings.
Now Dean and his Win-Tron Racing team will prepare for the General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, April 27. This is a race that he won in 2015.