On Monday, the NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series officially hit the track for the first time since the Fall Brawl, after a “rainout” last week. The SK Mods headed to Irwindale to kick off a full week of racing at the track, and started the week off with a 100 lap feature event.
In qualifying, it was Ty Majeski that set the fast time to pick up his 50th career SARA pole. However a 9 car invert would send Majeski back, while Conner Blaise was inverted to the front of the field for both the Qualifying Dash and the feature. In the Dash, Blaise quickly jumped ahead on the start, and never looked back and went on to pick up the win and some extra bonus points.
Blaise once again led the field to the green flag for the feature event, and again quickly jumped into the lead. A couple early cautions slowed the pace, but once the field settled in, they put on a show. It took just 28 laps for Majeski to work his way back to the front, and dove to the apron to make the pass for the lead. With Majeski out front, the rest of the field battled for 2nd for the remainder of the laps, and had quite the battle. That battle however, allowed Majeski to get away, and he would extend his lead out to over 5 seconds, as he came around to take the checkered flag. The win for Majeski was his first of the SK Modified season, and his 28th career SARA victory.
That battle behind Majeski continued on throughout the rest of the race, and it took about 50 laps for Ty Spearman to wrestle the 2nd spot away from Blaise, but was finally able to make the bottom groove work to get by and finish 2nd. Bill Martin would finish 3rd, after having to come from the back twice after a pair of incidents, but made the bottom groove look easy as he picked his way up the inside each time. Andy Shuck started at the back of the field, but he was able to make his way into the top five before halfway, and joined in on the battle up front and would end up finishing 4th. After quite the fight, holding off the pack for 2nd place for a majority of the race, Blaise would finally fall back a couple spots and finished 5th, but had quite the impressive performance for his second straight 5th place finish in the division.
Just outside the top five, Davey Riendeau was able to work his way back up toward the front of the field after an early race spin, and joined the battle up front before finishing in 6th. Ryan Borges was one of the few drivers that frequently sent his car down to the apron while running up and down the top ten, and was able to steal 7th away on the final lap. Matt Rolfe was just beat out by Borges, and would finish in the 8th spot after sitting right at the back of the dogfight up front for most of the race. Tyler Hudson started towards the front of the field before dropping back early, but after a pit stop he was able to climb his way back up to a 9th place finish. Ian Layne rounded out the top ten after starting last on the field, but was able to move up into a 10th place finish.
After five events on the season, Bill Martin increases his points lead in the division after a 3rd place finish, and now leads the standings by 45 points heading into next week’s race at Phoenix.