This past Wednesday night, the MRolfeDesigns Pro Late Model Series finished up their season as a part of SoBo Championship Week, with a 150 lap feature race at the South Boston Speedway.
While the points battle all season was wide open, Ty Spearman took control and opened up the gap over the past couple of race and entered South Boston with a 45 point lead at the top of the standings.
The night got under way with James Linkiewicz picking up the pole with a lap of 14.530 seconds, but a 6 car invert would drop him back into the pack. The top ten cars from Time Trials advanced into the Qualifying Dash, and the invert brought Ian Layne up to the front of the field. As the Dash got underway, contact between the front row out of turn two on the opening lap caused an incident, and it was Joe Schaffer that snuck by and went on to pick up the Dash victory.
Layne was scheduled to lead the field back to the green flag for the feature event, but elected to start at the rear of the field after the Dash incident. Schaffer moved up to the front row to control the start, and quickly started pulling away from the pack as he opened the lead up to over a second by lap 7. However as the field began to settle in, Schaffer began to fall off and Bill Martin closed the 1.3 second gap and took over the top spot on lap 19 with Spearman following him up into 2nd.
As the field settled in early, the green flag continued on as the race would set out on a 114 lap run up until the first caution. The lengthy run allowed Martin and Spearman to pull away out front, and Martin would extend his lead out to over a second on Spearman. Linkiewicz moved up into the 3rd spot with Matt Rolfe eventually moving up into the 4th spot, while Schaffer fell to 5th.
Spearman looked to be on his way to capturing the title easily as the race looked to go green the entire way. Spearman rode in the 2nd spot, until lap 114 when he had some technical issues forcing him to pull over on track, bringing out the races first and only caution.
During the yellow flag, the entire field took the opportunity to come down pit road to get their fresh set of tires. Martin remained in the lead as he came off pit road first while James Linkiewicz moved up into 2nd. Throughout all the commotion during the pit stops the two leaders were the only ones to restart at the front of the field, while 3rd on back were forced to restart behind the lapped cars at the tail end of the field due to a variety of pit road penalties.
With many lead lap cars having to battle through lapped traffic, it allowed Martin and Linkiewicz to set sail out front. By the time the leaders reached lap 130, they were ahead out front by a three second gap, but Martin was unable to shake Linkiewicz as he was able to hang within a few car lengths.
As the race remained green until the finish, Martin maintained the lead and eventually pulled out to a one second gap during the final ten laps, and he would come around to take the checkered flag and to pick up his first Pro Late Model win of the season. The victory was also his 38th career SARA win, taking sole possession of 2nd on the all-time wins list.
Behind Martin, Linkiewicz was the only driver within reach at the finish, as he ran inside the top three for a majority of the race before finishing in the 2nd spot. Spearman was able to recover from his technical issues to move back up into a 3rd place finish, but after having to work through lapped traffic, the top two were long gone. Joe Schaffer seemed to follow Spearman through the lapped traffic late and worked his way back up to a 4th place finish after falling off a bit earlier in the race. Hunter Combs ran outside the top five all night, before he used the lap 114 caution which allowed him to regain some track position to finish in 5th.
Just outside the top five, Matt Rolfe ended up in the 6th position after he had run in the top five for most of the race. Ian Layne quietly worked his way back up into the top ten, and restarted in the 3rd spot in the late laps before dropping back down to 7th as the last car on the lead lap. Scott Bell picked up an 8th place finish after running anywhere between 6th-8th all race long. Dale Owen fought in ill-handing race car that fell off during the long run, but recovered up into a 9th place finish. Russell Berry rounded out the top ten after he had an early spin, and was able to recover and would finish things off with a 10th place run.
With Spearman working his way back up to finish in the 3rd position, it was enough to clinch the title as he would leave South Boston as the champion, with a 82 point lead in the standings.
Ty Spearman’s championship run consisted of 2 wins, 8 top fives, 9 top tens, and 74 laps led. The title for Spearman would be his first career SARA championship.
The Rookie of the Season title at the end of the night would go to Tom Wetmore. Wetmore picked up 2 wins, 4 top fives, and 7 top tens in his rookie season, and scored 72 out of a possible 80 points in the rookie standings during his first full season in the Pro Late Models.
Bill Martin ended up with the Qualifying Dash title, earning 18 total Dash points during the season, just one point ahead of Joe Schaffer.
Tom Wetmore also won the Triple Crown title, after Race 12 at Phoenix.
Pro Late Model Division Page