Christian Hanger’s last lap pass earns Crate Late Model victory in Crossville

Christian Hanger took the lead with the checkered flag in sight.

On Thursday night the Crossville Raceway held a makeup event for the Spring Nationals and other classes that were rained out last month. Among those classes was the Crate Late Model division, which staged a thrilling feature race that saw Christian Hanger execute a last lap pass to secure the race win.

The starting grid had been established for this race back on May 24th with Kyle Courtney set to start the main event from the pole. However, the No. 171 machine suffered mechanical trouble during hot laps and was unable to make the call when the cars lined up for the feature. As a result, frequent Crossville winner Jesse Lowe was moved up the front row alongside Rusty Ballenger with Cameron Weaver and Hanger taking the green flag from the second row.

At the start of the 25-lap feature it was Ballenger and Lowe who completed the first lap in a virtual dead heat for the lead with Hanger right behind them. By the second circuit, Ballenger established himself as the front runner with Hanger moving in to challenge Lowe for the runner-up spot.

A lap 2 caution for a spin by Tyler Howard left Ballenger in the lead followed by Hanger, Lowe, Drew Deaver, Weaver, Joe Cline and Deke Waters.

On the ensuing restart, Lowe knifed his way between Hanger and Ballenger going down the back stretch and executed a slide job pass for the lead. But Ballenger would retaliate with a crossover move coming out of turn 4 to regain the top spot by the time the cars roared through turns one and two. Two laps later, Hanger again moved around Lowe to claim second.

Rusty Ballenger led much of the race

A lap 6 caution for the slowing car of Anthony Conley gave the field time to catch its breath after the intense action from early on. At that time, Ballenger led Hanger, Lowe, Weaver, Deaver and Waters.

On the restart, Ballenger slipped away leaving Hanger and Lowe to fight for second while Deaver made the move around Weaver just behind the lead trio. Lowe eventually made an outside move to seize the second position away from Hanger on lap 11.

A lap 13 caution almost proved disastrous for Hanger when the car of Austin Langley spun in turn two. As the leaders approached the prone machine, Hanger had no where to go and the right rear of the No. 29 made significant contact with the nose of Langley’s car. However, Hanger was able to continue as the damage appeared to only be cosmetic.

On the restart Lowe made his move for the lead as he went under Ballenger but the black No. 29 would hold on to the top spot. Just behind that action, Weaver reasserted himself as the took the fourth position back away from Deaver.

Jesse Lowe briefly had the lead on a couple of occasions.

Lowe again tried for the lead on lap 17 to no avail but was able to briefly place himself at the front of the pack on lap 19 until Ballenger again employed a crossover move to retake the spot. That, in turn, opened the door for Hanger to pass by Lowe to grab the runner-up position.

On lap 22, the top-3 cars found themselves three-wide for a moment before sorting back out with Ballenger leading Hanger and Lowe.

As the cars took the white flag, Hanger closed in for one final try to get by Ballenger. The two raced side-by-side through turns one and two and down the back stretch until Ballenger went slid high in turn four allowing Hanger to secure the lead with the checkered flag in sight.

At the finish it was Christian Hanger taking the win over Rusty Ballenger, Jesse Lowe, Cameron Weaver, Eli Beets and Drew Deaver.

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