On Wednesday night, the MRD Pro Late Model Series visited the Lucas Oil Raceway for the first event of their Triple Crown series, with a 115 lap feature event.
In Time Trials, Scott Schrader picked up his first career SARA pole, setting a new track record with a lap of 21.637 seconds. The top ten cars from Time Trials advanced into the Qualifying Dash, and an 8 car invert brought Colin Allman to the front. Allman got the jump into the lead, and held off Joe Schaffer to pick up the Dash victory.
In the feature event, Allman led the field to the green flag once again, and got the advantage for the early lead. Schaffer continued to put the pressure on though for the top spot, ducking to the inside to try and get by but was unsuccessful. While the leaders battled, Bill Martin was picking his way through the pack and by lap 20 he was making his move into the lead, getting by Allman on the low side. Martin continued to easily hold the lead out front, until the lap 56 caution where most of the field headed down pit road to take tires, including Martin.
The pit cycle handed the lead over to Darrell Hamlin on older tires, and although he got the jump out into the lead, it didn’t take long for Schaffer to take over the top spot. Schaffer had pitted slightly earlier than others, but the new fresh rubber proved to be more valuable as Martin quickly made his way back to the leaders, and again took over the top spot on lap 66. This time, Martin wouldn’t give up the lead for the remainder of the race, and went on to pull out to a 1.5 second gap out front as he crossed under the checkered flag. The win for Martin was his 3rd of the season, his 34th win of his career, and maybe more impressive was that it was his 9th overall win at Lucas Oil.
Behind Martin, Travis Warling picked up a 2nd place finish, equalling his best career Pro Late Model finish. Warling battled in the back half of the top ten for most of the race before charging to the front after taking tires near the half way point. Schaffer was able to hang onto a 3rd place finish after having slightly older tires than most of the field. Allman had a strong run after leading laps early and was able to work his way back up into the top five after taking tires to earn a 4th place finish. Rounding out the top five was Josh Hart who battled right around that 5th spot for most of the race, before taking the spot away with a handful of laps left to finish 5th.
Points leader, Windell Stratton, ended up finishing in the 6th spot, after he had to work his way through the field due to missing the green flag, but was able to rebound and ran inside the top ten all night. Dale Owen had a rough start to his race as he fought an ill-handling car, but he was able to use a late pit strategy to pick up spots as he charged up to a 7th place finish. Jason Williams started back in the 17th spot and quickly made his way into the top ten where he battled for most of the night, before settling into an 8th place finish. Daniel Potts had a solid outing in his first career SARA race, where he sort of floated up and down the running order before settling in later in the race inside the top ten to finish 9th. Ian Layne rounded out the top ten, despite running back near the 15th spot for the first half of the race but was able to pick up spots after his pit stop and ended up finishing in 10th.
With his 6th place finish, Windell Stratton hangs onto the points lead, but it shrinks down to just 7 points over Bill Martin. The two will battle it out over the final two races of the season, and they will square off next week at Phoenix.