It will go down as the showdown in the final turn.
And depending on who you ask, what really happened between dominant defending race champion Dylan Lupton and chaser David Mayhew, their accounts will vary greatly.
In the end, it didn’t matter to Mayhew, who notched his third win of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season by clearing Lupton out of the way in the final 400 feet to capture the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at Evergreen Speedway on Saturday night.
“We got away with one tonight,” Mayhew said.
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This is certainly one of the most challenging tracks these racers drive on all year — and the drama Saturday was action-packed.
It started with points leader Greg Pursley, who led most of the first 75 laps before the race was stopped for halftime.
In the pits, Pursley’s car would not start. His crew had to roll it out to give it power for the restart.
Pursley was immediately passed on the restart by Lupton, and fell greatly off the pace before going to the pits to have both batteries in his car changed. He ended up finishing 11th — his first showing outside the top five all season.
“We had a fully dominant car,” Pursley said. “But we went out there, ran out the batteries and killed the car. All you can do is sit out there and wait for a yellow (caution), and we weren’t getting one.”
From then on, Lupton held the lead — and needed to just hold off Mayhew and pole-sitter Brandon McReynolds in one final turn.
Mayhew said Lupton “blocked too much.” So the 32-year-old from Atascadero, California, gave the leader a little nudge.
“Just enough to get him up and out of the way,” Mayhew said. “Last corner, last lap — you’ve got to at least try.”
The contact knocked Lupton’s car off its stride, and Mayhew barreled inside of him going into the home stretch. McReynolds also passed Lupton for second.
Lupton was noticeably irked standing outside after the race. He ripped off his racing gloves and threw them inside the car. He has now gone 16 races since winning his first NASCAR West Series race last season in Monroe.
“We had the car to win,” Lupton said. “Maybe (Mayhew) knew it, and used us up.
“I will remember that.”
McReynolds’ top qualifying mark was 23.544 seconds, just ahead of Pursley’s 23.565. … Spokane teenager Nicole Behar qualified 10th in her second West Series start, and was running sixth with 21 laps to go before Pursley nudged her. Her car spun out in the second turn, ending her night. … After twice spinning out and causing yellow caution flags in the No. 15 Chevrolet, Justin Funkhauser left that car in the pits at the 75-lap halftime and took over for longtime veteran Jack Sellers in the No. 11 car. … The main event started with 19 cars. Spokane’s Braden Havens withdrew after blowing up the motor in his car during practice. He had registered the ninth-fastest lap before destroying the car.