SoBo Championship Week kicked off with the NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series hitting the track on Monday night. The division’s 150-lap feature event served as the final race of both the Championship season, and the Triple Crown Series. Going into the night, Bill Martin had all but wrapped up his 2nd SK Modified title, but would first have to make it through qualifying to clinch.
In Time Trials, it was Dale Owen that picked up his 2nd career pole, setting a new track record of 14.121 seconds. Owen barely edged out Martin by just .001 seconds, but the lap for Martin would officially clinch his championship, as attempting to qualify for the race gave Martin enough points in the standings to claim the title. After Time Trials, the top ten cars advanced into the Qualifying Dash, and a full 10-car invert dropped Owen and Martin to the back, while Jeremy Davis and John-Michael Shenette were inverted to the front row. Davis jumped into the early lead, and held off Clay Snider and Bill Martin in the closing laps to pick up the Dash win.
In the feature event, Davis led the field back to the green flag and jumped into the early lead for the first 11 laps, before Shenette took over just prior to the first caution. A trio of yellows in the opening stages of the race allowed Shenette to maintain the lead for the next 23 laps, but it also allowed Martin and Owen to work their way towards the front. Martin took over the lead after the lap 34 caution, and Owen followed him into 2nd not long after. Just past the halfway point of the race, another caution came out, giving some cars the opportunity to head down pit road for tires, while the leaders stayed out on track.
Martin and Owen were able to hang onto the top two spots, swapping the lead a couple of times during the next stretch of the race. The two leaders finally decided it was time to head down pit road for their tires during a lap 102 caution, handing the lead over to Matt Rolfe. Rolfe jumped out into the lead for the next 24 laps, but it was only a matter of time before Martin and Owen would catch up with new tires. As Martin closed in on the rear bumper of Rolfe, he made his move to the outside of the track, getting by for the lead as Owen followed him around as well. The two leaders would then battle it out for the remaining 20 or so laps, as Owen would dive to the bottom a couple times, but Martin was able to hold him off in the high lane. A caution with just a few laps to go gave Owen one last opportunity, but Martin was too strong in the closing laps and came around to take the victory, putting a cap on his championship season. The win for Martin was the 6th of his season, and the 35th of his SARA career.
After putting up a strong fight for the win, Owen ended up settling for a 2nd place finish, leading a total of 6 laps despite being in contention all night. Rolfe was able to hang onto a 3rd place finish after giving up the lead and running inside the top three all night. Matt Eddy recovered from a spin and a few pit stops early in the race, and made his way back through the field to take 4th. Landon Sciacca rounded out the top five, despite getting caught up in a couple of incidents throughout the race.
Congratulations to Bill Martin, the 2015 Fall Season NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series champion. Bill also won the Triple Crown title with finishes of 1st, 2nd, and 1st, and the Qualifying Dash title by picking up a total of 36 bonus points via the Dash. Bill’s championship season consisted of 6 wins, 4 poles, 10 top fives, 10 top tens, and 382 laps led.