Bluffton race car driver Gus Dean survived an early crash scare to get back in the race before fading to a ninth-place finish at the Montgomery Ward 200 on Friday night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin.
The race was the ninth of 20 in the ARCA Racing Series. Dean entered the event sixth in the overall points standings and leading the Scott Rookie of the Year rankings.
Dean started seventh and was running fifth in the No. 32 Gree Cooling Products Toyota when Tanner Thorson spun him in turn 2. Dean was able to keep the car in the race and restarted 13th in lap 65 before quickly moving up to eighth.
The 22-year-old Bluffton native elected not to pit with the leaders during a caution and inherited the lead at a restart in lap 82 before falling back to fourth. Dean kept driving hard and was running second with 50 laps to go when a caution sent the leaders to the pit for the final time.
Dean went in for his two remaining tires and won the race off pit road to take the lead with 39 laps remaining, but the rest of the leaders had four fresh tires left and Dean was unable to hang on down the stretch, fading to ninth and snapping a streak of three straight top-five finishes.
“I feel like if we would have had those four tires at the end – we had a shot at Victory Lane,” Dean said in a release. “We still have 11 more chances to do it this year and I want to thank Todd (Myers), Kevin (Cywinski) and all the guys on the Win-Tron Racing team for continuing to bring me fast cars.”
The next race in the series is the Iowa ARCA 150 on July 8.