Canton, Michigan's Justin Schroeder capitalized on the misfortunes of Harold Fair, Jr., kept the rest at bay, and in the end, sailed away to win the ARCA Gold Cup Series Diamond Racing Products Joy Fair Memorial 100 Saturday night at Flat Rock Speedway.
Schroeder, in a No. 4 Senneker Performance outlaw late model, was chasing leader Fair late in the going when Fair slowed abruptly with just 23 laps remaining in the 100-lap race. Fair pulled off in the infield area with rear-end failure while Schroeder, who started third, drove away from the pack, racing underneath the checkered flag with a five-length margin of victory over second place finisher Paul Pelletier.
"I hated to see Harold (Fair, Jr.) fall out," Schroeder said. "I wanted to race to the finish with him.
"I was just pacing myself at the end to make sure I'd have something for the finish. We (Schroeder and Fair) were pretty even, but he started to back up. Wish he could have made it to the end. This was a really strong field of cars here tonight. When it comes down to it, you take 'em anyway you can get 'em. I never pushed the car though. It got a little loose, but there was a lot left in the car."
Fair, in his signature 71 car, also a Senneker Performance chassis, started ninth and quickly sliced and diced his way to the front. Just 30 laps in, the Milan, Michigan veteran was up to second and soon took the high-side around leader Dakota Carlson for the top-spot on lap 38.
Fair pulled out to straightaway lead, but once Schroeder cleared Carlson for second, the eventual winner began to reel in Fair.
"It's aggravating, but that's racing," Fair said.
"We were only running about 70%, but it started to break. At first, I thought the tire was going down."
Fair, the defending race winner, was one of the few drivers who could seemingly advance his position with relative ease.
"The car was that good," Fair added. "There was plenty left in the car. We were saving for later."
Pelletier, with a little help from some lapped traffic, got within striking distance of Schroeder late in race, but once both cars broke free of traffic, Schroeder was able to pull away.
"The car was bottoming out the last 30 laps," Pelletier said. "We just couldn't get there."
Hutto, Texas's Brad Riethmeyer finished third.
"It was a good night for us," Riethmeyer said.
"We needed to be a little bit better. We just didn't have enough forward bite off the corners."
Jeff Ganus finished fourth with Carlson trailing in fifth.
Carlson, who started second, raced side-by-side with early race leader and polesitter Frank Jiovani before taking the lead on lap five.
With just 10 laps in, Fair, clearly on the move, had already raced from his ninth starting position to fourth. Fair then passed Schroeder on the 20th lap for third and took over the second position from Jiovani on lap 24. Fair followed leader Carlson for 10 laps before sailing around the high side of Carlson for the lead. Fair held the lead right up through lap 77 before his rear end gear failed.
Jiovani's machine also fell out of competition with mechanical failure.
Defending Discount Tire ARCA Gold Cup Series champion Scott Hantz finished sixth followed by Scott Pemberton in seventh. Steve Cronenwett, Jr. finished eighth.
Lori Bunge-Hall, the daughter of three-time outlaw late model Flat Rock track champion Steve Bunge, handily won the B-Main consolation event for the outlaw cars. Thirty-four outlaw late models overall attempted to make the 24-car starting field for the Joy Fair 100 main event.