Travis Braden wins in ARCA Racing Series debut

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (AP) Travis Braden won the ARCA Racing Series on Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway in his series debut, pulling away from fellow newcomer William Byron.

The 21-year-old Braden, from Wheeling, West Virginia, took advantage of strategic four-tire change to catch and pass Byron with 21 laps left in the 200-lap race on the 0.686-mile oval. Braden drove his own Travis Braden Motorsports’ No. 01 Chevrolet

”I can’t believe we just did that,” Braden said. ”Man, it was a rocket coming off the turns.”

The two-time ARCA/CRA Super Series champion rallied after falling a lap down early in the race.

”I knew we would have a chance, but the way it played out I could never have imagined that,” Braden said. ”I was confident we would get back on the lead lap, but I didn’t know how I was going to get the lead.”

The 17-year-old Byron, from Charlotte, North Carolina, finished second – 3.142 seconds back – after leading 120 laps in Venturini Motorsports’ No. 55 Toyota. He raced to his fourth NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

”He (Braden) took four tires,” Byron said. ”We thought there’d be a caution, but there wasn’t.”

Tom Hessert was third, followed by JJ Haley, Brandon Jones, Josh Williams, pole-winner Kyle Weatherman and points leader Grant Enfinger.

Earlier, John Hunter Nemechek won the ARCA/CRA Super Series race. Nemechek, the 18-year-old son of NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, edged Jake Crum in the 100-lap race.