On Tuesday night, the Sportsman Street Stock Series ran their 100-lap season finale at South Boston. Going into the night, Bill Martin had already locked up the championship, but there was one more victory on the season that was up for grabs.
Martin would run a fast time in qualifying with a lap of 16.391 seconds to take the pole, and would lead the field to the green flag. But as the green flag dropped, a string of cautions to start the race would see the first 18 laps of the race tick off without seeing a green flag lap.
Somewhere in the mix of restarts, Justin Brooks was able to peak a nose ahead of Martin to take the lead, and would bring the field around to the lap 19 restart. Brooks would jump into the lead, leaving Martin in the outside groove to hold off James Linkiewicz, but after a couple laps, Linkiewicz was able to get by to take the spot. Kevin Myers would join the top three and the first four cars would begin to break away from the field a little bit. A battle had been going on for a top 5, and Todd Sipe would emerge into the spot, and began to pull away from the others behind him as he looked to track down the leaders. Out front, Brooks had been pulling away, extending the lead out to nearly 1.5 seconds, before the next caution would come out on lap 4, ending the 16-lap green flag run.
During the caution, most of the field would head down pit road, but some different strategies would play out. Stan Bragg would keep his car on the track to gain track position and would take over the lead as well. Behind him, Trent Brown and Cameron Hobbs would move up into the top 3 after missing their pit stalls, while Myers and Martin would take two tires, and Brooks would be back in the 6th position being the first car on track with four tires.
On the restart, Bragg would jump into the lead, but coming off turn two he would get loose, and the front row would switch lanes as Brown ducked down to the inside leaving Bragg back on the outside. But just behind them, the rest of the top 10 continued to run side-by-side, and nose-to-tail. All 10 cars would run the next couple of laps just like they were still on a pace lap as none of them would break formation and they continued to battle it out. Just as the action began to heat up even more, and Bragg pulled back into the lead, a caution further back in the field would slow the pace back down for the yellow flag.
Bragg would lead the field to the next green flag, but it was Brown who got a good restart with some help from behind. Brown was able to hang it out on the outside groove as the two drivers would battle it out for the top spot. Neither driver seemed to gain an advantage until Bragg would slide up in the corner at the halfway mark of the race, and he would slide up into Brown, which caused Bragg’s car to spin down onto the apron. But the green flag would stay out.
Just a couple of laps later, Brown would face the pressure from Brooks who was trying to get back to the lead. The two would run side-by-side, as Martin was right there behind them, also looking to battle for the lead. But on lap 53, Martin would make slight contact with the back of Brown’s car, causing him to slide up into the wall. Brown would fall back some, but after making contact with the wall once more, Brown would have too much damage and couldn’t continue.
The next restart would lead to another decent green flag run, and Brooks would pull back into the lead. Martin would settle in behind him, followed by Myers and Ryan Borges who had moved up into 4th. Linkiewicz moved back up into the 5th spot, but not after falling back some before taking the spot away, and he would try to catch the leaders over the course of the run.
When the next caution came out on lap 76, a couple cars in the top 5 would gamble and headed down pit road to take more tires, as Myers and Borges both made stops out of the top 5. On the restart Brooks would pull back into the lead and Linkiewicz would follow him on the inside to shuffle Martin back to the 3rd spot.
A late race caution would see one last restart on lap 92, and Brooks and Linkiewicz would battle it out for the lead. Linkiewicz would get the run off turn four to nose into the lead on lap 93, but Brooks would pull back ahead on the next lap, before the final caution of the race would see the event finish under caution.
Brooks would bring the field around under the checkered and yellow flags, to pick up his 4th victory of the season, and his league leading 30th career SARA win. Linkiewicz would battle hard for the top spot would settle in to finish in the 2nd spot, followed by Martin in 3rd. Parker Traves worked his way into the 4th spot late in the run, while Myers would get back to 5th using the outside groove after pitting a handful of laps earlier.
Stephen Conway – Intentional Wrecking – Banned
JayJay Day – Aggressive Driving + Arca Braking – EOL in results
Bobby Timmons – Aggressive Driving + Arca Braking – EOL in results
Brandon Wilkinson – Arca Braking – Warning
Brandon Smisor – Arca Braking – Warning
Trent Brown – Lane Change Violation – Warning
Justin Brooks – Lane Change Violation – Warning
With the championship already locked up, Martin would end his night with a 3rd place finish to cap off his title season. Martin’s championship run consisted of 11 starts, 2 poles (Stafford, South Boston) with an average starting position of 3.45, 1 win (Stafford) with an average finish of 6.55, 7 top 5 finishes, 9 top 10 finishes, 772 laps completed and 83 laps led. Congrats to Bill Martin, your 2014 Sportsman Street Stock Series Fall Season champion!
For full results and standings, click HERE.