The RB Performance Super Late Model Series headed to the Lanier National Speedway on Thursday night for a 150-lap feature event.
With the sun setting at Lanier, Matt Rolfe claimed his first pole of the season, and the 46th of his career, with a lap of 13.154 seconds. When the lights came on at the bullring, the top 10 cars from time trials were set for the Qualifying Dash. An eight-car invert sent Tyler Breeding to the pole for the 15-lap Dash race, which sent pole winner Rolfe to 8th on the Dash grid. Things did not go well for Breeding in the Dash as it was Tommy Burns from outside pole who claimed the Qualifying Dash victory and the bonus points.
Breeding led the field to the green, and was able to stay up front with Tommy Burns and Andy Shuck holding the 2nd and 3rd spots through the opening laps. A hard charging Cody Kelley, who had to start seventh with the invert had worked his way to second place by lap 25, and started to close the gap on Breeding. On lap 38, Kelley had run down Breeding and passed him for the race lead. Kelley began to set sail as the race had run caution free from the start. Kelley had extended his lead on new 2nd place car James Wenzel by nearly three seconds, but that was wiped away when the race’s first caution fell on lap 59 as two cars battling for the Lucky Dog position tangled.
With four tires available for the race, the majority of the field stayed out on this caution. The race’s second caution came just a couple laps after the first, slowing the field yet again. Here a few lapped drivers chose to pit, but yet again, all of the lead lap cars chose to save their tires as the race had just hit the halfway point. The race restarted on lap 74 and this time the field began to spread out as the race went under another green flag stretch. Unlike the first long green flag run, Kelley was challenged at the front, as Ty Spearman had worked his way to 2nd and remained within a second with Kelley through the whole run, as close as just two or three tenths at times for the race lead.
After another 50+ lap green flag run, the caution came out with less than 25 to go, and this time the nine lead lap cars chose to use this caution to pit. Kelley won the race off pit road, however, a handful of cars on the lead lap got trapped a lap down by the pace car which was being followed by a handful of cars ready to take a wave around. This pit road chaos had trapped four of the current lead lap cars one lap down, whilst some other cars managed to get laps back by staying out. When the race restarted on lap 129, Kelley again led Spearman to the green. Much like the previous run, Spearman was close at times but eventually Kelley pulled away for his first Super Late Model victory on the season, leading 112 of the race’s 150 laps for his 32nd career SARA victory.
Ty Spearman was second for the majority of the race and wound up one spot short to Kelley in 2nd. Bill Martin started at the back of the field, and cracked the top 5 for the first time all night after pit stops and came home 3rd. Camaron Hamilton was near the back end of the lead lap most of the night before pit stops much like Martin and wound up with a 4th place finish. After laying down the fast time in time trials, Matt Rolfe had a solid night overall to finish 5th.
Ian Layne benefitted from a wave around and other’s pit road misfortunes to take home sixth. Michael Baxter had a clean and quiet night, and also benefitted from taking a late wave around to finish in 7th. Layne and Baxter each picked up 13 spots on the night after starting 19th and 20th respectively. James Wenzel had run in the top five most of the night, including as high as 2nd, but was trapped a lap down late and wound up 8th. David Krikorian had moved into the top 5 in the second long green flag run of the night, but like Wenzel, was also trapped a lap down and settled for 9th. Tommy Burns, after winning the Dash and being in the top 5 all night was caught a lap down as well and rounded out the top 10.
With his 3rd top 5 on the season, Camaron Hamilton continues to lead the standings but his lead shrunk to 11 points over Matt Rolfe. Next week, the series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a 100 lap race, which will be the division’s first Triple Crown race of the season.