SCHERERVILLE | A flat tire a year ago ended Brian Campbell’s hopes of victory at Illiana Motor Speedway.
Saturday night, it was a different story as the 34-year-old racer from Wyoming, Mich., won Illiana’s 52nd annual Tony Bettenhausen Memorial 100 presented by Schepel GMC Commercial Truck Division.
Leading most of the way, Campbell, a second-generation driver whose dad, Fred, won his fair share of Midwest stock car races, guided his Ford Fusion to victory in the $3,000-to-win, 50-mile Late Model stock car chase at the local paved raceway.
Campbell posted the seventh-fastest time during time trials. In the feature, he grabbed the lead from Ricky Baker on lap nine and began to build a strong margin until the first of two yellow caution flags flew on lap 27. Eddie Hoffman, Jeff Cannon and new qualifying track record holder Boris Jurkovic passed Campbell on the restart.
Campbell answered back. He pushed his car into the outside groove and eventually drove by the threesome to regain the top spot. Campbell led the final 65 laps for the win.
“A flat tire got me last year,” Campbell said. “I love this track and every year we come down here to test. It just seems that we don’t get down here enough (to race). This race has been on our calendar all year.
"With about 10 or 12 laps to go, my spotter told me I had about a 20-car length lead. I kind of slipped it into cruise then. I wanted to save some of my tires in case there was a late caution (flag). It’s exciting to beat Boris (Jurkovic) and Eddie (Hoffman). We always race well together. They are tough customers.”
Jurkovic finshed second. He was was trailed by Hoffman, Anthony Danta and Wisconsin’s Matt Kocourek.
John Senerchia of New Lenox, Ill., won the third leg of the North Grand Auto Parts Street Stock Challenge. Senerchia slipped by Highland’s Mark Ross Jr. on a restart with only two laps to go for the win. Senerchia wheeled his Monte Carlo to the win ahead of Ross and Gary’s Timmy Stewart. A seventh-place finish gave Ryan Moore of Valparaiso the overall challenge title