The 2015 Summer Season would come to a close last Thursday night, but first the RB Performance Super Late Model Series still had one final race and one final championship to decide. And the star and cars of the SLM division shined bright for the LSRTV broadcast with a great race and an exciting finish to the Summer Season.
Entering the night, Cody Kelley had extended his points lead out to 22 points over David Krikorian, and would need to pick up a finish of 4th to clinch the title, regardless of where anyone else finished.
The night got kicked off with time trials and it was Derek Holzhausen who picked up the pole, the 3rd of his SARA career. Holzhausen then led the top 8 cars into the Qualifying Dash where he went on to dominate it to pick up the Dash win. But for the 2nd time this season, Holzhausen would receive a full invert of 8 and would start back in that 8th position, while Ty Spearman would be inverted to the front for the feature.
As the field headed on track to take the green for the race, Spearman wouldn’t make the grid in time, which moved Davey Riendeau up as the control car for the start. Riendeau took off and led the first 22 laps of the event, before Justin Brooks made his way to the front of the field, bringing Kelley along with him up into 2nd, and those two drivers would control things up at the front of the field for most of the race.
With an extra set of tires available on the night, most of the field chose to wait as long as they could to head down pit road, but after a restart on lap 109, the race would go green flag for 91 laps and the rest of the way, and most of the field would be stuck on old tires. The battle for the points lead heated up after that final restart when Krikorian was able to move ahead of Kelley for the 2nd spot, but Kelley would get back by him a little while later.
As cars battled behind him, Brooks continued to lead out front and pulled his lead out to over a second. Once Kelley made his way back up into 2nd, that gap started to shrink back down though as he started reeling in Brooks for the lead. Kelley closed within a couple car lengths of the lead for the final 50 laps of the race, and gave it one last shot at the lead in the closing laps as he gave Brooks a bumper, but it wasn’t enough. Brooks would go on to lead 175 laps of the race and held on at the end to pick up the victory, his 3rd of the season and the 36th of his SARA career.
Behind Brooks, Kelley finished off his night with a solid 2nd place finish, which was plenty enough to take the title. After picking up the pole, Derek Holzhausen ran strongly inside the top five for the entire event and finished out the podium in 3rd. Casey Kelley also had a strong run inside the top five and ended up with a 5th place finish. Krikorian started his title shot outside the top ten, but worked his way into the top five and picked up a 5th place finish, although it wasn’t quite enough to overcome his points deficit entering the night, but would secure 2nd in the points hunt.
Just outside the top five, Matt Rolfe rocketed through the field into the top five at the halfway point of the race after starting 27th, and would end up with a 6th place finish. Ty Spearman had a strong car but after missing the start of the race, he would spend almost half the race a lap down, but was able to work his way back up to a 7th place finish. Darrell Hamlin was one of the few driver who did take tires and was working his way towards the top five before a late race incident dropped him back but he would hang on in the 8th spot. Marc Gammack started outside the top twenty and moved his way inside the top ten by halfway, and stayed there to finish 9th. Davey Riendeau would drop back to a 10th place finish after leading early in the event.
After missing out on the SK title earlier in the week, Cody Kelley would not be denied of this one as he used his 2nd place finish to secure the title by 37 points to pick up his 4th SARA championship, including going back-to-back in the Super Late Models. The title for Kelley goes along with last season’s SLM, Pro Late Model, and Street Stock championships.
While Krikorian couldn’t quite make up enough ground to take away the title, his 5th place finish was enough to take home a different title as he would take the SLM Triple Crown championship. He would use finishes of 1st, 2nd, and 5th in his three Triple Crown events.
Congrats to Cody Kelley, the 2015 Summer Season RB Performance Super Late Model Series Champion.