The NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series made their first ever trip to the Langley Speedway on Monday night, for a 125 lap feature event.
In Time Trials, James Linkiewicz picked up the pole for the night, setting a track record with a lap of 14.638 seconds. A 7-car invert sent Linkiewicz back into the pack for the Qualifying Dash as the top ten cars advanced to battle it out for bonus points. Ty Spearman was inverted to the front of the pack and went on to pick up the Dash victory.
For the feature event, Spearman led the field back to the green flag and jumped out ahead Bill Martin in the early laps, up until an early caution on lap 9 slowed the pace early. After the restart, Spearman controlled thing up front once again, but Matt Rolfe used the preferred inside lane to gain the 2nd spot over Bill Martin, who would get freight trained towards the back of the pack as he was stuck on the outside groove. As Martin dropped back, Linkiewicz was working his way back towards the front after the invert and moved past Rolfe during the run to grab 2nd away just a couple laps prior to the next caution on lap 27.
After a pair of cautions leading up to lap 50, a restart was set up on lap 51 which set up a 55-lap run during the middle stages of the race. Spearman jumped back out ahead of Linkiewicz on the restart, while Tim Bills joined them in the top three as they began to pull away from the rest of the pack. The three drivers ran nose to tail up until lap 65 when Bills put the pressure on Linkiewicz for 2nd.
By the time Bills made his move up into the runner-up spot, Spearman had extended the gap out front to nearly 7-tenths of a second, but as the run continued, Bills began cutting into that gap. By lap 80, Bills had pulled up to Spearman’s rear bumper and was waiting for the leader to slip up, and that mistake came on lap 85 as Spearman got loose on the exit of turn two, allowing Bills to get a run on the inside and into the lead.
Bills pulled out to over a second out front, but his lead was cancelled out by the race’s final caution on lap 105, setting up a 15 lap run to the finish. On the restart, Bills quickly jumped back out ahead, and had no problem extending his lead back out to over a second by the time the checkered flag flew, and Bills came around to pick up the checkered flag after leading the final 41 laps of the race. The win for Bills was his first career SK Modified win, and 4th career overall SARA victory.
After giving up the lead, Spearman maintained his position in the 2nd spot after leading 84 laps and ended up finishing in the runner-up position. Linkiewicz rounded out the podium with a 3rd place finish after moving up towards the front of the field early and ran in the top 3 all race long. After dropping out of the top ten early in the race, Ian Layne marched his way through the field and made his way up into a 4th place finish in the late laps. Michael German picked a 5th place finish after battling right around the 5th spot for most of the race. Clay Snider, Matt Rolfe, Eric Block, Michael Baxter, and Bill Martin rounded out the top ten.
Despite missing the event, Ty Majeski maintains his points lead with the aid of drop weeks and leads the championship standings by 56 points with just three races remaining. Next week the SK Modified division will head to Irwindale for the 3rd event of their Triple Crown Series.