The GM Parts Xperts Super Late Model Series rolled into the USA Speedway for a 100-lap feature last Thursday night. The last time the Super Late Models visited USA, it was the Cody Kelley show in the Spring Shootout Big 3 event as Kelley dominated the field for a big win.
Kelley and 21 other drivers would try to find victory lane in the fifth race of the Summer season. The night started with Bill Martin laying down the fast time in Time Trials. However, a seven-car invert would send Ty Spearman to the front of the field for the feature and the Qualifying Dash. In the Dash, it was 2nd place starter James Linkiewicz who scored the extra bonus points in the 10-lap Dash.
Spearman led the 22-car grid to the green, and unlike in the Dash, he held onto the top spot in the early going. Spearman would lead the field through the first yellow of the race on lap 11, with David Krikorian and Cody Kelley in hot pursuit. On the restart, Spearman led the field back to green but would be passed for the race lead by David Krikorian on lap 18, and Cody Kelley would follow through to 2nd as Spearman fell to 3rd with Bill Martin in 4th and Joe Schaffer Jr. rounding out the early race top five.
Krikorian would try his best to hold off Cody Kelley, but could only do so for four laps. Cody Kelley charged to the race lead on lap 22 around Krikorian. Bill Martin, who had just gotten by Spearman, also got around Krikorian to move into 2nd behind Kelley. Krikorian would settle into the 3rd position. After some shuffling up front, Kelley would lead Martin, Krikorian, Schaffer Jr. and Spearman who would be the top five with a quarter of the race complete.
Cody Kelley would continue to lead and his lead would grow lap by lap as the field strung out as a long green flag run started. The biggest battle would be a big group of cars from 7th-12th through this run as the top 6 would be spread out by 6 seconds, while the group behind 6th would be within just a second or a second and a half of each other for spots in the back half of the top ten.
The race would go under yellow at lap 61 as cars near the back of the big group would get together battling for spots near the top ten. Cody Kelley’s three second lead over new 2nd place car David Krikorian would be wiped out. Cautions breed cautions as the group that had raced so hard near the back half of the top ten had another incident after the restart, bringing out another quick yellow, which would shake up the back half of the top ten some more. After another quick yellow, the top five at the lap 81 restart would be Cody Kelley, David Krikorian, Joe Schaffer Jr., Trey Jarrell and Bill Martin rounded out the top five.
Kelley would take off and pull away by over a second in just two laps after the restart, and the race would run green to the end with him putting nearly 3 seconds in under 20 laps on 2nd place Joe Schaffer Jr. as he crossed the line for his 36th SARA victory.
Behind the race winner, Joe Schaffer Jr. started back in the 8th position, but moved into the top five early and steadily moved forward to a 2nd place finish. Derek Robinson lined up in 6th on the race’s final restart, and he got a good one which propelled him to a 3rd place finish. After laying down the hot lap in Time Trials, Bill Martin could never reach the top spot in the race and finished in 4th. Ian Layne started outside the top 15 and patiently worked his way through the field all night and into the top five with just 5 laps remaining to finish in 5th.
David Krikorian led some laps early and ran in the top three for the majority of the race but some late contact with the wall dropped him to a 6th place finish. Matt Rolfe started in 15th and spent most of his race battling in the large group in the back half of the top ten, and wound up in 7th. James Linkiewicz was involved in an early caution and slowly maneuvered his way through the field to rebound to an 8th place finish. James Wenzel was involved in one of the mid-race cautions and worked his way back to a 9th place effort. Windell Stratton started in the back, charged to the top ten early before a ill-handling car dropped him back, but he was able to finish it out and round out the top ten.
After his third top five run of the season, Joe Schaffer Jr. extended his points lead to a commanding 79-point cushion over Ian Layne. Next week the GM Parts Xperts Super Late Model Series will race a pair of 50-lap features at the Milwaukee Mile.