Ryan Gustin created a moment he wouldn’t forget Saturday night at Boyd’s Speedway.
On the final lap of the Stateline Showdown finale, “The Reaper” went toe-to-toe with one of his heroes.
Gustin pulled a momentous slide job on Georgia’s Dale McDowell in Turns 1 and 2, thundering past the Late Model veteran to earn his second World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series win of 2022.
McDowell seemed destined for a home state victory, dominating the first 35 laps of the 50-lap event. However, a caution with 13 laps left to set the stage for the epic finish.
The Chickamauga, GA driver drove away from Gustin on the restart, trying to continue his pace in the middle lane. Meanwhile, Gustin moved to the top and started reeling in the “Mac Daddy” until Lap 49 clicked off the scoreboard.
As the two waged war at the white flag, the Marshalltown, IA driver swung to the inside of McDowell, hoping to carry enough momentum to take the lead.
“The Reaper” powered inside of McDowell in Turns 1 and 2, sliding his Rocket Chassis in front of McDowell’s nose to take the veteran driver’s lane away.
From there, Gustin sprinted away from McDowell, holding on for his second $20,000 payday of 2022.
“I just kind of felt like I was creeping, creeping, and creeping up on [McDowell],” Gustin said. “We got a good run out of (Turn) 4, and I just hope I didn’t make too much contact. I have to watch the video. That’s the last person I want to ever rough up.”
Gustin said his win meant a little more as he battled one of his childhood heroes for the checkered flag.
“[McDowell] was one of my heroes growing up, and he still is,” Gustin said. “To be able to outrun him down here, it definitely means a lot. It feels really, really good, man. Like I said, anytime you can beat Dale McDowell, he’s a legend. That’s all there is to it. Legendary, for sure.”
McDowell settled for second after leading 46 of the first 49 laps.
He stated he was better on longer runs and needed to stay in the middle to help manage his tires.
“I needed long runs, as usual,” McDowell said. “I could manage tires running right there in the middle of the racetrack, and I figured when I saw the 19 there, he’s really good up on the top. So, I figured he was up there.
“But I didn’t feel like that I was going to be any good up there. We kind of set our car up for the middle to the bottom. I could go to the top in (Turns 1 and 2), but I don’t think I could’ve hammered it like (Gustin) was hammering it.”
Kyle Bronson, from Brandon, FL, crossed the line third—his third podium of the season with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models. He took advantage of the final restart to grab the final podium spot.
“I felt like I had a good car there, and I just overheated my left rear tire,” Bronson said. “When we had that caution, it let it cool back off, and I got back going again there.
“We had a pretty good car both days here, with a brand-new car here, and we’re just tweaking on it, and I’m looking forward to more upcoming races.”
Chris Madden finished fourth, and Series points leader Dennis Erb Jr. rounded out the top five.
The Carpentersville, IL driver extended his lead in the championship standings over Tanner English, who finished eighth, to 98 points.
Erb said the yellow flag hurt his chances at a podium finish by slowing down his momentum.
“It’s one of those nights we really didn’t need those cautions there,” Erb said. “It is what it is, but at least we held on for fifth. I think we were running in the right direction there before the caution came out.”
While Gustin’s victory isn’t his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models win, it’s a moment he won’t forget. Not only did he get the chance to battle one of his heroes for a win. He defeated him on his own turf.
UP NEXT: The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet kick off a Southeast doubleheader on Friday, Sept. 30, with the Mike Duvall Memorial at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC. Then, the Series moves to Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA, for the Billy Clanton Classic on Saturday, Oct. 1.
CASE Construction Equipment Feature (50 Laps): 1. 19R-Ryan Gustin; 2. 17M-Dale McDowell; 3. 40B-Kyle Bronson; 4. 44-Chris Madden; 5. 28-Dennis Erb Jr; 6. 111V-Max Blair; 7. 20-Jimmy Owens; 8. 81E-Tanner English; 9. B1-Brent Larson; 10. 1-Josh Richards; 11. 93-Carson Ferguson; 12. 25-Shane Clanton; 13. 109-Eli Beets; 14. 83-Jensen Ford; 15. 16-Sam Seawright; 16. 99B-Boom Briggs; 17. 11-Gordy Gundaker; 18. 10-Joseph Joiner; 19. 0-Scott Bloomquist; 20. 23-Cory Hedgecock; 21. 31-Tyler Millwood; 22. 27M-Donald McIntosh; 23. 88-Trent Ivey; 24. 42-Cla Knight FOX FACTORY HARD CHARGER: Boom Briggs [+6].