On Monday night, the NEO Racing News Legends leagues ran a pair of races in their week 6 double header. The Legends first hit the track for 40 laps in Lakeland, Florida at the USA International Speedway, before running a 30-minute road course event at the Summit Point Raceway. A limited field would show up for both events which set up the field for plenty of green flag racing throughout the night.
In the first race at USA, it was Ryan Borges who put his car at the top of the speed charts to pick up his 2nd career pole, and he would lead the field to the green flag. As the race got underway, Borges would quickly get the jump on Clay Snider, who started to his outside, as Snider would fall in line behind him. In the opening laps, Snider looked to hold pace with the leader, but as the run went on it became clear that Borges had the car to beat out front as he began to pull away.
Snider would settle into the 2nd spot as the race continued, while behind him the battle was on for the 3rd spot. Patrick Hahe moved up into the spot in the early laps, but Ken Belanger, Todd Cousins and Matt Rolfe were all right there nose-to-tail looking to get by. While the group looked to get by Hahe, Rolfe would make the first move as he looked to the inside of Cousins who would give up the spot and fell back in line behind him. Rolfe would then get under Belanger for 4th when Belanger would slide up and made contact with the wall which dropped him back a bit, but he would go on without damage and looked to track the pack back down.
The battle for 3rd continued on, when on lap Rolfe would close up on the bumper of Hahe on lap 11, and then set to the outside lane to see if he could get by. Hahe would have to pinch his car down on the bottom, which allowed Rolfe to roll to the high side as they ran next to each other for a couple laps. Finally Rolfe would gain the advantage on the outside to take the spot away, and Cousins was right there behind him to follow him by, moving Hahe back into 5th.
Things would settle down over the next 20 laps, as Borges had continued to pull away out front, stretching his lead out to 5 seconds as the race got to lap 30, and the gap from Snider back to 3rd was another 7 seconds. But with the laps winding down, the battle was on for 3rd once again as Cousins was beginning to close in on the back of Rolfe for 3rd. Cousins would duck to the inside for the spot, but Rolfe would hang tough on the outside, as the two would battle side-by-side for a couple of laps before Cousins would grab the spot on lap 35. Rolfe wasn’t done there though as he would make his move back to the inside of Cousins with just one lap to go, and as they came out of turn four, Rolfe would hold the advantage.
Back out front though, it was easy sailing for Borges all race long, dominating the caution free event by leading all 40 laps en route to his 4th career SARA victory. Over 7 seconds back, Snider would come around with a solid 2nd place finish after running there all race long. Rolfe would edge out Couins for 3rd, while Belanger would round out the top five.
In the road course portion of the night, the field would head to Summit Point, where Parker Traves joined the group and would go on to take the top time in qualifying to put himself up front with his 6th career pole.
As the field came around for the green flag of the 30-minute timed event, Traves would take off into the lead, but Borges wasn’t going to let him go easily. The top two would battle it out over the first couple of laps with Borges looking for a way to get by the leader, until on lap two when Borges would slip up. Coming out of turn 9, Borges would swing wide out of the corner into the grass, and then shot across the track into the infield wooded area where his car would end up on it’s roof, ending his chance for the sweep of the night. This allowed Traves to hang onto the lead without any pressure from behind as he had already built his lead out to 3 seconds.
Behind Traves, Clay Snider, Patrick Hahe, Jeff Hoggard and Matt Rolfe would battle for spots among the top five. Snider would slip up early dropping him back to 5th, until Rolfe would slip up himself and went off course to drop him back. After those mistakes, this allowed Hahe and Hoggard to settle into the top three as the run went on.
Hahe controlled the 2nd spot as the race went on, while Hoggard looked to chase him down. Hoggard would close the gap between them down to .7 tenths of a second, keeping Hahe honest out in front of him, but he could never close that gap. Snider held the 4th spot until late when he would go off course, allowing Rolfe to get within striking distance of him for the 4th spot, but Snider would hang on throughout the last few laps.
There wasn’t much action out front for the lead, because Traves had pulled away and never looked back. He would stretch his lead out to 21 seconds when he came around for the final time, picking up his 3rd career SARA win. Hahe would hang on for a 2nd place finish, with Hoggard rounding out the podium in 3rd. And Snider would end up finishing 4th, with Rolfe not too far behind with a top five finish.
With the victory in the first event, and a 6th place finish in the second event, Borges would extend his points lead out to 42 points by the end of the night in the standings. Next time out, the series heads to the Kentucky Legends Oval for a 60-lap race.