Kelley Benefits Late For Lanier Win



A night after the Street Stocks visited Lanier, the MRD Pro Late Models also visited the track for 125 laps, and their week #3 event. In qualifying, once again it was Ty Majeski who put his car on the pole, topping the 28 car field. The pole would be his 8th in 9 total races this season for him up to that point, and his 28th career SARA pole.

At the drop of the green flag, Majeski was quick to jump out into the lead. Cody Kelley started alongside him on the outside row, but would fall back to 3rd behind Bill Martin, before Kelley would take the spot right back from him the next lap around. James Linkiewicz and Matt Rolfe also ran inside the top five early on, as the front half of the field began to sort things out and ran single file, until the first caution of the race on lap 6.

On the restart, Majeski was back out front, clear into the lead while Kelley was stuck on the outside fighting for position behind him. Linkiewicz used a good restart to move up the inside lane and took the 2nd spot away before Kelley fell back into the 4th spot. But again, Kelley would use a crossover move to take the 3rd spot away from Martin the next time around. The top ten would run single file near the front of the field, while the back half of the pack were still battling side-by-side, trying to work their way to the front. Majeski was beginning to settle in with a five car length advantage in the lead, before the next caution came out on lap 19.

The following restart would set the field up for a 20 lap green flag run, and Majeski would control things up front when the racing got back under way. The top five all fell in line just like they had been running, while behind them, plenty of positions were up for grabs during the run. Ryan Borges and Jarrett Lawrence were both able to use the inside lane on the restart to their advantage, moving up to the 6th and 7th positions. Andy Shuck would fall back to 8th after running just outside the top five in the opening laps. Todd Sipe would run in the 9th spot, with Ian Layne falling back to 10th after picking up his career best starting position of 4th.

Back out front, Majeski continued to lead, but Kelley had moved into the 2nd spot, and was in pursuit of the leader. He slowly began to close the gap as the run went on. But before Kelley could close in too much, and just before the leaders began to catch lapped traffic, the next caution would come out on lap 43.

During the caution, a round of pit stops for some drivers would end up being the turning point in their races. Just as pit road opened, Majeski would stay out on track, while Kelley, Linkiewicz, Martin, and others would all head down pit road to grab new tires. Joining Majeski at the front of the field now, was Rolfe, Lawrence, Layne and Jeff Hoggard who would move up into the top five, while the guys on newer tires were stuck back in 13th or worse for the lap 49 restart.

As the field took off on the restart, they would begin a 51-lap green flag run, and again it was Majeski who pulled into the lead out front, and began to set sail. Lawrence would slide up into the 2nd spot, while Rolfe would fall in line behind him until Hoggard would get a run to take that spot away as well, moving Rolfe back to 4th. Russell Berry would make an appearance in the top five, but after a small checkup and some slight contact, the battle for 5th would be a three-wide battle, where Mickey Kudlicki would move up to 5th.

By lap 58, Martin had made his way back up to the 8th spot, and he was joined by the other cars that had pitted, forming a freight train on the inside groove as they picked off cars. By lap 62, they had picked off both Tim Bills and Parker Traves, moving Martin up to 6th. Kelley, Linkiewicz and Borges were all right there to shuffle them back, as the four of them would now pursue the top five, and on lap 66, they would shuffle Kudlicki behind them as they continued to roll towards the front.

It was around this time, that Majeski had caught the back of the field, and was beginning to put cars a lap down after building himself nearly a three-second lead. Back in 2nd, Lawrence also began to catch lapped traffic around lap 75, where Hoggard was able to use a slower car to his advantage to get by for the position, but this would just open the door for Martin and Kelley who were still on the move. They would shuffle Lawrence back, and a couple laps later they would pick off Hoggard as well. Linkiewicz and Borges had fallen back a little during the course of the run, but by lap 84, they would also move themselves up into the top five, proving that the new tires prevailed over the long green flag stretch.

The run continued on, and Majeski continued to put cars a lap down as his lead grew to four seconds at the front of the field. He had put 13th place a lap down, and was closing in on 12th place on lap 100, where finally the lapped traffic would get the best of him. As Majeski went to put another car a lap down, the two cars would meet on the exit of turn two, and both cars would get turned around. Majeski would spin towards the inside of the track, hitting the wall head on, and his shot at picking up the victory would disappear in an instant. With Majeski now out of the race, Kelley would be the first car to roll by, to take over the lead for the final restart of the race.

Kelley would take full advantage of the opportunity, and would quickly jump into the lead on the restart, while the drivers behind him would battle it out over the final 20 lap run. Linkiewicz and Borges would move into 2nd and 3rd off the restart, dropping Martin back to 4th, but as the laps winded down, the action for those spots would heat up. Borges would run all over the back of Linkiewicz for 2nd, and as they battled, Martin was able to make a run on the outside. But as they ran side-by-side, some small contact from Borges would move Linkiewicz up the track, and into Martin. Everyone would continue to race on, but Borges would prevail for that spot.

Out front though, no one was catching Kelley, as he had pulled out to a 2.4 second lead as he came around to take the checkered flag, leading the final 25 laps to pick up the victory. The win for Kelley would be his 7th career SARA victory. Borges would pick up the 2nd place finish after his late race move. Linkiewicz would hold off Martin over the final couple of laps as the two of them would finish 3rd and 4th, while Lawrence would finish off his strong run with a top five finish.

With the victory, Cody Kelley would take over the points lead from Martin, and now leads the standings by 11 points. Next time out the Pro Late Models will head to Stafford for their week#4 event.