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Heartbreak For Tardiff As Truex Wins At New Hampshire

- Justin St. Louis on 17 Sep 2010

Alan Tardiff (#38) leads Ryan Truex (#00) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Truex would eventually win after Tardiff crashed out. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)PHOTO: Alan Tardiff (#38) leads Ryan Truex (#00) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Truex would eventually win, Tardiff would crash. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

Sylvania 300 weekend coverage presented by New England Dirt Track Championships and Subway of VT/NH

LOUDON, N.H. -- Alan Tardiff was looking his first career win in the eye on Friday. Then he was looking at the wall.

Tardiff, a part-time racer from Lyman, Me., was leading the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East New Hampshire 125 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with three laps remaining when a bump from second-place driver Corey LaJoie sent both spinning, with Tardiff slamming into the wall.

Mayetta, N.J., native Ryan Truex, the defending series champion, picked up the pieces and cruised to his second win of the season at the New Hampshire mile, pushing himself into a virtual lock for his second K&N title.

Truex’s No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota led an event-high 49 laps and ran inside the top-five throughout the race. He was running in third place behind Tardiff and LaJoie --Ryan Truex celebrates his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East New Hampshire 125 victory. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo) and even looked to make a three-wide pass for the lead -- when LaJoie’s car hit Tardiff’s entering turn three.

“I was following them for a while and they started to really rough each other up, so I kind of just backed off a little bit and let them do what they were doing,” said Truex. “I was going to wait until about two [laps] to go to try to make my move.”

That’s when everything came apart.

“Coming to two to go, I don’t know what happened, they just both spun out,” said Truex. “I just went to the bottom. It was pretty lucky for me to be able to do that, but I think we had the best car here today, and the best car won.”

Tardiff, whose No. 38 Bestway Disposal Chevrolet took the lead on lap 111 and battled LaJoie for the next dozen laps, was understandably upset.

“We had a good run going, [LaJoie] and I,” Tardiff said. “He was using me up a little bit but I was giving him the lanes. I don’t know why he overdrove Alan Tardiff's wrecked NASCAR K&N Pro Series East car sits on pit road. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)turn three, I think it’s the only chance he had to move me up the race track, but he just flat-out, clean-out turned me. I’m real mad at him, but if I was in his shoes -- I probably wouldn’t do the same thing -- but I’d try everything I could. I wouldn’t wreck him, but I probably would rattle his cage a little bit. I’ll tell you, getting wrecked with three to go -- it’s my third race of the year and the guys did a great job -- it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

LaJoie, son of former NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, took responsibility for the incident.

“We were racing hard for the win and I drove in there too hard and got loose and got into him,” said LaJoie. “I hate it for them guys because they’re not [Sprint Cup] affiliated, they’re independent just like we are. Alan hadn’t won, I hadn’t won. We both got in there a little hot, and I got loose and got into him. I hate it for him. I hate it for us, too. It ruined their awesome night and ruined our awesome night.”

LaJoie said that if he could have replayed lap 122, he might have done things differently. “I probably would have lifted half a carlength sooner and raced him side-by-side to the checkered flag, which was the plan,” he said. “I didn’t mean to get into him at all. We’re taking this car to Dover and I wanted to not have a mark on it.”

Truex’s path to the win was slowed by a crash coming to the green flag, which extended the end of the race by 13 laps. Through the carnage -- which took out top contenders Max Gresham and Kevin Swindell -- polesitter Brett Moffitt finished second, with series veteran Jeff Anton of Russell, Mass., third, tying his career-best finish. Rookies Miguel Paludo of New Silver, Brazil and Cole Whitt of Alpine, Calif., finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Eddie MacDonald finished sixth ahead of Canadian Andrew Ranger, driving for Vermont-based NDS Motorsports. Michael Cherry, Darrell Wallace, Jr., and Timmy Hill completed the top ten.

Unofficially, Truex leaves New Hampshire needing only to start the season finale at Dover Int’l Speedway next week to clinch the K&N Pro Series East championship.

Results: K&N Pro Series East New Hampshire 125

***

NOTES:

--Mike Hillman, Jr., crew member for Zach Germain, was struck by a race car on pit road and suffered an apparent injury to his ankle. Hillman was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he is being evaluated overnight. Hillman is also crew chief for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series point leader Todd Bodine. Germain Racing -- which owns both Germain and Bodine’s teams -- said in a statement that Hillman is awake, alert, and “very hopeful” for a return to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning.

--Alan Tardiff drives for team owner Archie St. Hilaire and plans to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut with St. Hilaire’s team at Dover next week. Tardiff’s car was serviced on pit road by the Camping World Truck Series team of Stacy Compton.

--Second-place point driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., finished ninth despite a mid-race crash. Wallace trails Truex by 118 points entering the finale at Dover.

--Kevin Swindell and Max Gresham combined to lead 67 laps before being involved in a crash on the race’s final restart. Swindell finished 11th, while Gresham retired in 24th.


PHOTOS:
1. Alan Tardiff (#38) leads Ryan Truex (#00) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Truex would eventually win after Tardiff crashed out. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)
2. Ryan Truex celebrates his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East New Hampshire 125 victory. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)
3. Alan Tardiff's wrecked car sits on pit road. (Justin St. Louis/VMM photo)

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