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Derrick McGrew Jr. holds on for DIRTcar Sportsman victory at Glen Ridge

Derrick McGrew Jr. wins battle against Andrew Buff at home track to win East Region matchup

An exciting race was put on for spectators at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park Sunday night when a stout field of local drivers hit the track to battle it out for the win in the DIRTcar Sportsman East Region matchup.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Derrick McGrew Jr. shot out in front once the green flag was dropped for the 40-lap, $1,500-to-win, showcase. He led for the next 10 laps until the first of two caution flags were thrown.

After the restart, the pressure came from Zach Buff, who entered the matchup second in track points. Second place Zach Buff came on strong leading into Lap 22 trying to run down the race leader, causing a fierce battle.  After unintentional contact was made, the two continued side-by-side. On Lap 24, with Buff running the inside and McGrew Jr. forced to the outside by lapped traffic, Buff slipped by to clock in as the leader at the end of the lap.

But McGrew Jr. fought right back and edged his nose out in front running the outside to take back the lead the next lap by .011 seconds. After clearing a lapped car in front of him, he was completely in front of the runner-up car for only the second time in the race.

He wasn’t in the clear yet, as the second Buff brother challenged his lead. Glen Ridge DIRTcar Sportsman track points leader Andrew Buff charged from 10th position to third place by Lap 27, creating a three-car battle for the victory. He continued to advance, passing his younger brother on the inside on Lap 31, giving him less than 10 laps to chase down McGrew Jr.

He was up for the challenge, as he pulled within less than a car length. Quick decisions made in lapped traffic proved to be the ultimate factor in deciding who ended up in Victory Lane. Buff found himself stuck behind lapped traffic going into the last lap, and it was all McGrew needed to extend just enough distance between them in the final lap.

He drove the last lap error free and crossed the finish line first, winning the close battle with the eldest Buff. Andrew Buff held on to cross the finish line in second, and Andrew Buff finished third.

“The car felt awesome the whole race,” McGrew Jr. said. “Before those first 10 or 11 laps, before we got that first caution, it was smooth sailing. Nobody was touching me until we got to lapped traffic after that. After that next restart, we got both lanes blocked with lapped cars all over the place, that’s when I really had to step up and get on the wheel. I did and Zach gave me a run for it too…he made me work for it and I’m glad it didn’t come easy.”

Runner-up Zach Buff expressed similar sentiments about lapped traffic influencing the final results.

“We needed to Time Trial better and get through the Heat Race and get to a redraw position…we battled with Derek and my brother through lapped traffic. We had a lot of fun, and the track was great tonight.”

Andrew Buff contributed his aggressive driving in the first half of the race as a potential reason he was not able to capture the lead.

“I used up the tires too early trying to get the lead first, and as it slicked off I was losing some grip. But nothing to hang our head on. These guys are really good, and I’m glad it’s three track regulars on the podium tonight.”

Chad Edwards crossed the finish line in fourth and Cody Ochs crossed the finish line in fifth to round out the top five.

UP NEXT: The next DIRTcar Sportsman matchup will come on Friday, June 23 at Brewerton Speedway in Brewerton, NY and then Saturday, June 24 at Land of Legends Raceway in Canandaigua, NY. For the full Series schedule, CLICK HERE.

DIRTcar Sportsman Series Feature Finish – 40 Laps – 1.) Derrick McGrew Jr. 2.) Andrew Buff 3. ) Zach Buff 4.) Chad Edwards 5.) Cody Ochs 6.) Tyler Stevenson 7.) Nick Heywood 8.) Taylor Doxtater 9.) Travis Bruno 10.) Brendan Gibbons 11.) Max Dolliver 12.) Gavin Eisele 13.) Jason Gray 14.) Taylor Wason 15.) Tony Farone 16.) Hunter Lapp 17.) Tavien Blowers 18.) Dale Robinson 19.) Remington Hamm 20.) Matt Lashua 21.) Todd Buckwold 22.) Mike Ryan 23.) Jason Bruno 24.) C.V. Elms 25.) Jeremy Huntoon 26.) Ricky Quick/ Ron Proctor 27.) Kearra Backus 29.) Joe Pravia 30.) Tommy D’Angelo

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