By Shawn Miller
PONTOON BEACH, Ill. – The front of his race car was beaten in and his rear tires were junk.
Justyn Cox survived his first visit to Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon Beach, Ill., with a 13th-place finish on Saturday – his best career result in an ASCS National Tour race.
“The rear tires were worn out at the end of the race and the front of the car was pretty beat up,” said Cox, a 16-year-old from Clarksburg, Calif. “But that was a ton of fun tonight.”
Cox, whose third-place finish in his heat race locked him into the feature, was caught up in a nine-car melee in turn one on the opening lap. Danny Wood and Matt Covington, who started on the front row, made contact and wrecked in the middle-to-high portion of the turn.
Starting 14th, Cox was committed to the high line and wasn’t able to dodge the accident as he slid into Gary Wright. The contact destroyed the right front wheel and the bottom right radius rod on Cox’s car. It also bent the front axel and damaged the front wing.
After restarting 16th, Cox passed two cars before the front wing, which had been taped back in place on the right post, collapsed. He fell back to 16th and the track quickly took rubber. Cox picked off three more cars to snag his first top-15 finish in an ASCS National Tour event since he placed 14th at Grays Harbor Raceway on July 17.
“I think if I could have avoided the wreck on the first lap I could have had a top-five finish,” said Cox, who is now solely in 15th in the ASCS National Tour points. “But I’ll definitely take a 13th. For my first time at this track and driving a bent race car, I’m very happy with a top 15.”
It was the 22nd different track Cox has competed on this season.
For more information, including the complete results, visit www.justyncox.com.