The GM Parts XPerts Pro Late Model Series visited the Magic Mile back on July 13th as the series took on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for their first Triple Crown event of the season.
In Time Trials, it was Ty Majeski that took the pole by nearly a tenth of a second with a lap of 30.779 seconds, for his 74th career SARA pole. The top ten cars joined Majeski in the Qualifying Dash, but a 7-car invert dropped him back while James Linkiewicz was inverted to the front of the field. Linkiewicz led the rest of the top ten to the green in the Dash, and had no problems as he went on to pick up the Dash victory.
For the 75-lap feature event, Linkiewicz led the field back to the green flag once more but a quick yellow slowed the pace early. When the race went back green on lap 6, a near 60-lap green flag run would begin allowing the field to settle in. Linkiewicz pulled ahead on the restart with Bill Martin closing in on his bumper during the first few laps. As the leaders completed lap 8, Martin made his move to the inside for the lead and the two cars would run side-by-side for the next few laps before Martin finally gained the advantage to complete the pass on lap 11.
With Martin now out front, Linkiewicz settled into the second spot, with a number of other drivers keeping pace such as Davey Riendeau, Joe Schaffer Jr., Ty Spearman, Derek Robinson and Darrell Hamlin all shuffling spots near the front. While all of that was going on, two drivers were making their way through the field after starting near the tail end. Majeski was forced to start last after winning the previous two races, and as he started working his way to the front, Ian Layne began following him up through as well.
Majeski cracked the top five at lap 33 and started picking off cars at the front of the field. Majeski worked his way by Schaffer, Spearman, and then Linkiewicz to move up to 2nd, and a couple laps later it was Layne that made his way up into the top five on lap 48 as the run continued. Majeski eventually took over the top spot on lap 58, with Layne taking the 2nd spot on lap 63, just prior to the next caution on lap 65.
With the caution coming out with 10 laps to go, and with one set of tires waiting for everyone in the pits, many of the leaders headed down pit road to get some fresh rubber, but it was Layne that stayed out as he would hope for some quick yellows. On the restart, Layne would lead the field back to the green with Scott Dunlap beside him also on old tires, John-Michael Shenette in 3rd with two tires, and Linkiewicz beat Majeski off pit road with four fresh tires.
Layne jumped out ahead, but as the outside groove got checked up a bit, it was Majeski that exited turn two in the second spot and had his sights set on the leader. Majeski made his move to the inside entering turn one on lap 70, and came out of turn two with the lead as the fresh tires proved to be too much for Layne to hold off.
The caution would fly on lap 72, sealing the victory for Majeski as he would led the field around under the checkered and yellow flags. The win for Majeski would be his third straight in the division, and his 70th career SARA victory.
Behind Majeski, Schaffer worked his way up into 2nd in the closing laps after running in the back half of the top five for most of the race. Spearman ran as high as 2nd during the middle portions of the race and worked his way back up late to finish on the podium in 3rd. Riendeau dropped back into the top ten during the run but found some speed late to climb up to finish 4th. And after having his strongest run in the Pro Late Model and staying out late on old tires, Layne would fall back to finish 5th before the caution flew.
Martin recovered from having to pit for gas under green to finish back up in the 6th spot. Shenette worked his way up into the top ten during the long run, and took just two tires late in the race and would finish in the 7th spot. Russell Berry battled right around the 10th spot for much of the race before finishing 8th. Hamlin was another driver that pitted early under green for gas, and he too was able to rebound for a top ten finish in 9th. Evan Osborne rounded out the top ten after he spent most of race around the 15th spot before moving up late.
After six events on the season, James Linkiewicz holds a strong points lead as the division will head to Southern National next after a week off.