CORDELE, GA (Jan. 30, 2017) – The 2017 season rolled to an impressive start for Chase Purdy on Sunday during CRA Speedfest at Crisp Motorsports Park. Purdy piloted his No. 97 Bama Buggies Toyota to a top-five finish immediately behind NASCAR national series drivers.
The No. 97 team unloaded for Friday’s practice session below the radar of onlookers, ranking mid-pack in nearly every session as they tested long-run setups and built speed on older, used tires. The work paid off in qualifying when Chase laid down the fourth fastest qualifying time, starting him outside of row two for the 200-lap feature.
With pit stops in play for the first time in the event’s history, Chase’s crew chief, Derek Smith, chose a less-popular short-pitting strategy for the No. 97. On an early caution just past lap 60, Chase brought his car to the attention of his David Gilliland Racing crew for complete service with only two other cars on pit road. With only two other cars pitting, Chase started at the tail of the field on the restart and quickly drove his way back into the top ten.
Following another round of stops involving most of the field, Chase restarted second but was bypassed by others with fresher tires immediately after the race resumed. However, Chase’s patience and the long-run practice runs paid off as the race wore on. Gradually, Purdy began to pick off competitors and reel in the drivers in second through fourth as the laps wound down. Ultimately, he crossed the line fifth, just mere car lengths behind a potential second-place run.
“I was feeling a little down when we had to restart so far back, but we rebounded and I was able to drive a good race despite being put in that situation,” Chase said after the race. “We learned more for New Smyrna, had an outstanding finish, and I’ve developed more confidence in myself and my crew. I definitely was tested in doing what it took to finish up front this weekend, but I listened to all the DGR guys and my spotter to help me get the finish we deserved. After this weekend, I’m really looking forward to 2017 with the DGR crew.”
The next races for Chase Purdy come at New Smyrna Speedway in his super late model and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The K&N race on February 19 will be his first outing in the series as he chases Rookie of the Year honors.
For more information on Chase Purdy, visit his website at ChasePurdyRacing.com and follow him on Twitter (@ChasePurdy12) and Instagram (@chase_purdy).
Credit: Performance Marketing Group