On Monday night, the NEO Racing News Legends League visited the Charlotte Motor Speedway for a double header event. The first race of the night would see the Legends run a 60 lap feature on the front stretch Legends Oval, before switching over and running a 30-minute “endurance” race on the Infield Road Course.
In the first race of the night, Parker Traves set the fast time in qualifying to put himself on the pole. As the green flag dropped, Traves would quickly jump out into the lead with TJ Graves and Ryan Borges settling in behind him. In the opening laps, the top three began to pull away a little as Ryan Beagle moved ahead of Matt Rolfe for the 4th spot. On lap 5, a single car spin would bring out the first of just two cautions.
Traves would pull back into the lead, and again Graves would get down behind him, and began to put the pressure on fort the top spot. Borges would fall back on the restart, before he would slowly start to gain time and closed to within a few car lengths of the top two cars. Just as the gap among the top three began to close, another single car spin would bring out the next caution.
This set the field up for the lap 23 restart where a 37 lap green flag run would finish out the race. Traves got the jump on the restart to take the lead once more, with Graves right there on his bumper. Borges would settle in behind them, but would slip up on lap 26, allowing Rolfe to sneak by on the outside to take over the 3rd position. But just a couple laps later, Rolfe would also slip up, allowing Borges to regain the position and look to chase down the leaders who were over a second out in front.
Behind Rolfe in 4th, Beagle would fall back to 6th on the previous restart but worked his way back past Brandon Wilkinson to move into 5th. Patrick Hahe ran in the 7th spot early on in the run, before Todd Cousins would work his way up into the spot as the run went on. Kyle Wood and Clay Snider would both also run inside the top ten as the run went on, but the battle to watch was up front for the lead.
On lap 31, Traves would get loose off of turn two, allowing Graves to get a run on him and Graves would drive it to the inside and would take over the lead. Graves would hang onto the top spot for six laps before Traves would close back in on him, and a slight bumper from him would move Graves up the track, handing the lead back over to Traves. Borges had closed back in and was right there behind them and would shuffle Graves back to the 3rd spot, and then set his sights on the leader.
Borges would close in on the lead by lap 41, and then made his move on lap 42 to try to take over the top spot. Traves would look to hold him off, but Borges was able to get by and took over the lead on lap 43. Throughout the last 17 laps of the race, Borges was able to lengthen his lead out front to nearly a half-second on a couple of occasions, only for Traves to close the gap back in. By lap 52, Traves was back on the rear bumper of Borges for the lead, putting the pressure on for the position. As the gap among the top three closed in once again, they would play bumper tag on a couple of occasions, but Borges wouldn’t slip up and held onto the position.
Borges would end up holding off the late charge by both Traves and Graves, but he wouldn’t budge and would end up pulling away during the last couple of laps and would go on to pick up the win. The victory for Borges would be his 2nd career SARA victory, both coming on Legends Ovals. Traves and Graves would finish off their runs on the podium, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively, with Rolfe and Beagle rounding out the top five.
For the second event of the night, the teams and drivers would switch over to their road course cars and would get things ready for the 30-minute race on the Infield Road Course. Always a threat on road courses, a ringer in David Krikorian would join the field for the road event, and put his car on the pole for the event with the fast time in qualifying.
At the drop of the green flag, it didn’t take long for Krikorian to jump out into the lead, and he would quickly begin to pull away out front. By the first lap around he was nearly a second out into the lead, and from there the lead would continue to grow.
Parker Traves would run in the 2nd spot early in the race, but a slip up going over the top of the hill would send him off-track, allowing a couple of cars to get by him. Ryan Borges moved up into 2nd followed by Matt Rolfe who moved into 3rd. A lap later, Rolfe would gain ground on Borges and would take over the 2nd position but by that point, Krikorian was out into the lead by 11 seconds by lap 5. Traves would only fall back to 4th after his off-track run, and was quickly reeling the top three back in.
Outside the top four, Patrick Hahe settled into a top five position after getting by TJ Graves to move him back to 6th. As the run continued on to lap 10, Clay Snider would work his way up into the 6th position, shuffling Graves back to battle with Brandon Wilkinson and Kyle Wood for spots in the top ten as the race went on.
As Krikorian set sail at the front of the field, positions would shuffle inside the top five as Traves would continue to work his way back to the front. He would get back by Borges for the 3rd spot on lap 8, and chased down Rolfe to get by on lap 12, only to slip up a few laps later once again allowing both drivers to get back by. But Traves had the speed to continue to battle for those spots, and he would back up into 3rd for second time around the half way point of the race on lap 18, and then looked to chase down Rolfe for 2nd.
Fast forward another ten laps and Traves was back on the bumper of Rolfe, and he would get by coming to the line on lap 28 to work his way back up to 2nd once again. But being nearly 30 seconds off the pace of Krikorian in the lead, Traves would look to hang on to his loose handling race car and hang on for the 2nd spot. But after getting by Rolfe for the position, Traves wasn’t able to pull away too far as Rolfe would keep just enough pressure on for the position. As the time began to run out, Krikorian took the white flag on lap 36, while Rolfe and Traves continued to battle for 2nd, nearly 30 seconds behind. On the final lap coming over the hill, Rolfe would get a run and pulled up beside Traves for the spot, only for both drivers to see a car spun off the left side of the track. As they headed towards the barrels and the final corners, Rolfe would back out first, only for Traves to overshoot the corner, allowing Rolfe to pull back beside him as they raced to the line.
But out in front, it was no contest for Krikorian, as the road course ringer would completely dominate the event, lapping all but the top four cars, and leading all 37 laps in the 30 minute race to pick up his 8th career SARA victory. The battle for 2nd would be a drag race to the finish line, with Rolfe nearly edging out Traves to finish 2nd, as both drivers spun as they crossed the line. Borges would finish off his run in the 4th position, while Hahe would round out the top five.
After his victory in the first event, and a 4th in the second event, Ryan Borges would move up into the points lead, 17 points ahead of 2nd place. Next time out, the Legends will head to Lanier for a 50 lap event.