Sean Corr (No. 43 NESCO/Navy Seal Foundation Chevrolet) was the man to beat in the early going at Talladega on Friday, earning a pair of special awards for his strong run. Corr picked up the Valvoline Lap Leader award and the Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Leader award for his time spent at the front of the pack.
Corr lined up eighth following General Tire Pole Qualifying and got off to a very fast start once the green flag flew. The outside lane where Corr was lined up took off quickly and Corr pushed Gus Dean (No. 32 Nu-Calgon Chevrolet) to the lead on the very first lap. Corr found some separation and split Dean three-wide to take the lead on lap five. Corr led a race for the third time in his 50th ARCA Menards Series start, with both previous stints as the race leader coming at Daytona.
The pack began to break apart as Corr clicked off laps at the front and by the time teams were ready to make green flag pit stops, Corr was in front of a pack of just six cars. Corr stayed out just past halfway – ensuring him the Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Leader award – and got ready to dive to pit road. The rest of the pack behind Corr was much more aggressive in their approach to pit road and the other five drivers all flew past him as they got on the brakes. A crash occurred as the next pack of cars attempted to make their way to pit road and the first caution flag of the day was displayed. When everything cycled through, Corr restarted back in eighth and Todd Gilliland (No. 4 Frontline Enterprises Toyota) assumed the lead.
Gilliland never gave up the lead and went on to win the race while Corr never managed to get back to the front, ultimately finishing as the last car on the lead lap in 15th. Corr led a total of 35 laps – one more than Gilliland’s 34 – and earned the Valvoline Lap Leader award for leading the most laps in the race for the first time in his career.
Corr joins Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) and Gus Dean as the Richmond Water Heaters Halfway Leader award winners thus far in 2019. Self led at halfway at both Pensacola and Salem while Dean was the halfway leader at Daytona.
Self spent most of the day at Talladega attempting to avoid trouble and never led a lap. He still sits atop the Valvoline Lap Leader standings with 140 laps led in 2019. Raphael Lessard (No. 19 FRL Express Chevrolet) holds second with 83 laps led, all coming in his lone start of the season at Pensacola. Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota) is in third with 48 laps led and his Venturini Motorsports teammate Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) is in fourth with 41 laps led. Corr moves into the fifth spot in the standings with his 35 laps led from Talladega.
The ARCA Menards Series heads to the Music City for 200 laps at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on Saturday, May 4. Live television coverage will be carried on MAVTV starting at 9:00 PM Eastern/8:00 PM Central. Zane Smith led 120 laps and wound up in victory lane in this event one year ago.
-Courtesy of ARCA Racing Presented by Menards.