In addition to the Legends race at Lanier on Monday nights, the NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series would join them for their 3rd race of the season. The 100 lap event would see 18 drivers bring out their SK Modifieds to the track, and in qualifying it was Parker Traves who would put his car on the pole with a lap time of 12.919 seconds, for his 5th career SARA pole. The rest of the starting grid all qualified within .2 tenths of a seconds of each other.
Traves would lead the field to the green flag, but some mechanical issues would force him off track as the field came around for the start, which allowed Michael German to move up the inside from his 3rd starting position to take the early lead. Ryan Borges started on the outside of the front row, and was able to settle back into the spot but an early caution would bunch the field back up for a lap 9 restart.
German and Borges settled back in single file off of the restart, and began to separate themselves from the field as the battle was on for 3rd on back. TJ Graves and David Carpenter would swap the 3rd position a couple of times before Graves was able to secure the spot, dropping Carpenter back to 4th to hold off Thomas Ingle and Patrick Hahe for spots in the top five. Everyone inside the top ten would all fall in line single file by lap 15, but some action further back in the field would end up with a couple cars getting together for the next caution.
After another quick caution on lap 25, the field would take the green on lap 30 for the restart and would set off on a 22-lap green flag run just past the halfway point of the race. German, Borges, and Graves would all jump out ahead of the rest of the field, and began to pull away out front. Back in 4th, Hahe moved up into the spot after the restart, with Carsten DiGiantomasso moving into the top five holding off Ingle and Carpenter for the position, with Bill Martin joining them for the battle as the run went on.
As the run carried on, the entire field would run single file, with most drivers looking content to ride during the green flag stretch. Out front, the top three continued to run away from the pack, and Borges would poke his nose under German for the lead a couple of times, but German would close the door each time and held onto the top spot. A little further back, Martin continued to make his way towards the front, as he would get under DiGiantomasso for the 5th spot, but a crossover move would put Martin back to the outside. Martin would look to fall in line back in 6th, but as he checked up on the bottom, he would get some contact from behind, spinning him around to bring out the caution on lap 52.
During the caution, most of the leaders would head down pit road for new tires, but Hahe and DiGiantomasso would stay out to move onto the front row, while the guys on fresher tires would be lined up behind them for the lap 59 restart. Just a couple laps into the run, Hahe had pulled out front as the field fell in line single file once more, but on lap 62, German would get into the corner a little deep and would get into the back of Graves, and both cars would go around, dropping them both out of the top five for the next caution.
Hahe led the field back to the green and jumped out front, but Borges would move up the inside lane on the restart and quickly got up to the rear bumper of the leader as he looked for a way by. Coming off of turn four to complete lap 71, Borges would get the run he needed and pulled down to the inside of Hahe for the lead. Hahe would fight on the outside for a lap, but would have to fall back in line as Borges would get by with the fresher tires to take over the lead. Just a couple of laps later, Hahe would face pressure for the 2nd spot from DiGiantomasso, but contact between the two of them would see Hahe get turned around, and both cars would have to drop to the back of the field.
After another caution, the field would be set up for the final restart on lap 87 with just 13 laps to go. Borges continued to lead up front and jumped out into the lead, ahead of Matt Eddy who had worked his way up into the 2nd position. Eddy would get caught out in the outside lane though which allowed Ingle to move up into the 2nd spot, while Eddy dropped in line ahead of Hahe and Matt Rolfe who moved up into the top five. Shortly after Ingle had moved up into 2nd, he would get loose off of the corner allowing Eddy and Hahe to both get by him, before Ingle came back in line in the 4th spot.
As the laps wound down though, no one was touching Borges out front as he would extend his lead out to over a full second, and would coast around to bring the field to the checkered flag, picking up his first SK Modified win, and his 3rd career SARA victory. Eddy would finish off the race in the 2nd spot, which was his best finish in the league since 2013. Hahe would recover to finish in the 3rd spot, ahead of Ingle and Rolfe who rounded out the top five.
TJ Graves – Aggressive Driving – EOL in Results + 30 Points + 3 Week Suspension (Through Week 7 Races)
Carsten DiGiantomasso – Aggressive Driving – EOL in Results
Despite a 14th place finish, Bill Martin hangs onto a 1 point lead in the standings over Borges who closed the gap after the win. Next time out, the series will head to Bristol for 100 laps in two weeks.