Brooks Holds Off Kelley for Desert Win



The RB Performance Super Late Model Series made their first ever trip out to the desert to take on the Phoenix International Raceway for their season opener, with 29 cars showing up to compete in the event. When open qualifying got under way, it was Justin Brooks that powered his way to the top of the speed charts to pick up the pole, as the top 7 cars were all with one-tenth of a second from the top spot behind him.

Brooks would lead the field to the green with Cody Kelley hot on his tail in the opening laps, and Kelley wouldn’t allow him to get too far away throughout the first run of the race. While those two drivers would start to extend their lead, Kenny Lindsley, Fred Moreau, and Kevin Myers moved their way up into the top 5. But when the first caution flew on lap  15, a majority of the field would head down pit road early to take on some new rubber and check their tires. During the pit stops, Tyler Ducharme and TJ Graves took just two tires to gain some track position and set themselves at the front of the field. Over the next two restarts, drivers back in the pack got antsy on the restarts causing a couple of stack ups to slow the field for a little longer.

Ducharme continued to hang onto the lead, but on the lap 31 restart,  Kelley was able to get by to take the lead on lap 32, but Brooks would take it back from him just a lap later to regain the lead. Ducharme and Graves were able to hang in the top 5, as well as Moreau who moved his way back towards the front. But when the next caution came out on lap 41, once again the field took the opportunity to take on new tires, with Huston Hamer and Matt Eddy taking a chance this time to get track position. It wouldn’t pay off though as the rest of the field was quick to pounce on them, with Ducharme being the first one to work his way to the the top spot.

However, on the following restart on lap 53, Brooks was able to grab the lead back from Ducharme, and just a few laps later, contact between Kelley and Ducharme would send his car into the turn 3 wall, ending his strong run. Over the remainder of the race, it was a battle between Brooks and Kelley for the lead. Behind them, Moreau, James Linkiewicz, and Lindsley worked their way back into the top 5.

When the final restart happened with just 10 laps to go, it was Brooks that got the jump into the lead. Kelley stayed right on the rear bumper of the leader, but he never got the run he needed to make his move, and Brooks would come around to take the checkered, picking up the season opening victory after leading 72 laps of the event. The win was Brooks’ league leading 21st SARA win. Kelley would finish a close 2nd, with Moreau rounding out the podium. Lindsley was able to move up into the 4th spot, while James Linkiewicz rounded out the top 5.

1. Justin Brooks
2. Cody Kelley
3. Fred Moreau
4. Kenny Lindsley
5. James Linkiewicz
6. Dustin Riccioni
7. Derek Robinson
8. Matt Eddy
9. Robert Matthews
10. Gary Belling
11. Cody Leland
12. Ian Layne
13. Clay Snider
14. Russel Berry
15. Mike Testa
16. TJ Graves
17. Jesse Potter
18. Jeffrey Nichols
19. Dale Owen
20. Jacob Linkiewicz
21. Kevin Myers
22. Huston Hamer
23. Tyler Ducharme
24. Trent Brown
25. Casey Kelley
26. Joshua Borje-Bonkowski
27. Ray Farlow
28. Pier-Luc Moreau
29. Colin Allman

Penalties – Colin Allman – Retaliation – Last Place Points + Probation

Next week the series makes the trip to Indy and Lucas Oil Raceway for their week two event.

Following his victory, Justin Brooks carries the points lead out of Phoenix. For full results and standings, click HERE.