The NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series returned to action on Monday after an off-week and took the the track at Stafford for the first event of the division’s Triple Crown, running a 125 lap feature event.
Points leader Bill Martin started the night off by taking the pole, his 3rd of the season and the 34th of his career. The top ten cars would advance into the Qualifying Dash, and a full 10-car invert moved Martin back to 10th while David Carpenter was inverted to the front. Carpenter got the jump into the lead but it was Derek Robinson who quickly moved to the front and went on to take the Dash victory.
Carpenter also led the field to the green flag of the feature event, and led the two opening laps of the race but once again Robinson was able to quickly get by to move into the lead early. Robinson then led the top five cars and they began to pull away from the field, while Martin was making quick work of the field and was starting to pick off cars within the top five. Martin moved up into the 2nd spot by lap 21, and it took just a couple laps after that to get under Robinson to take over the lead. While the race continued on with a 93 lap green flag run, Martin was able to sail off into the lead, jumping ahead by over 11 seconds on 2nd place and lapping all but the top four before the first and only caution flew on the night. After the restart, Martin had no issues pulling away once again and went on ti pick up the victory, also his 3rd of the season, and the 31st win of his career.
Behind Martin was a fierce battle between Hunter Combs and Ryan Borges for the 2nd spot as they battled it out in the closing laps, but it was Combs that hung onto finish 2nd, while Borges ended up settling for 3rd. Matt Rolfe wasn’t too far behind at then end as he watched the battle ahead, but would end up taking the 4th spot, while Dale Owen was right there on his rear bumper and would round out the top five in 5th.
Just outside the top five, Michael German had a solid race as he ran just outside the top five all race long before finishing in 6th. Clay Snider and Ian Layne were attached to each other’s bumper for a majority of the race as they battled it out, with Snider getting the advantage to finish 7th, with Layne just behind in 8th. Carpenter would drop back in the top ten after leading early in the race, but wasn’t able to work his way back up and settled for a 9th place finish, while Robinson rounded out the top ten after he too led early but ended up as the race’s only caution which resulted in a 10th place finish.
After his victory, Bill Martin keeps his stranglehold on the points lead and now leads the standings by 41 points heading into next week’s race at Five Flags.