Kelley Captures First Win at New Smyrna



The MRD Pro Late Model Series visited the New Smyrna Speedway for their 3rd race of the season in week 4. In the previous two races in the division, Bill Martin pulled off the wins in both of them, and he would be forced to go to the tail end of the field to start the race. In qualifying 36 cars would take times as they attempted to qualify for just 30 spots. Matt Rolfe would set the fast time with a time of 19.414 seconds, his league leading 36th career SARA pole, but with an invert of 8 at the front of the field, it would bring Trent Brown and Cody Kelley to the front row.

At the drop of the green, Brown would hang onto the lead, but a quick cation would fly as the field was still sorting things out in the back of the field. Once everyone got back in order for the lap 8 restart, Brown would again jump into the lead, but Kelley was right there with him, and made his move on lap 11 to take away the top spot. Kevin Myers moved into the top 3 early, and battled with Kenny Lindsley and Tim Bills within the top 5 through the early laps of the race. Back in the top 10, Colin Allman, Dale Owen, Rolfe, Ryan Borges, and Casey Kelley were all batting hard for those positions. Through the short run, Cody Kelley had pulled out to the lead by over 2 seconds by lap 15 before the caution would come out.

Throughout the next portion of the race, the caution would come out a couple more times, and the top drivers would remain the same while slightly shuffling the order on each restart. Kelley continued to lead out front getting some good restarts over Lindsley to hang onto the top spot. Rolfe and Allman would crack the top 5 within the first half of the race, but the first shakeup up front occurred on lap 42 when Brown would get loose out of turn 2 from the 3rd spot, and would spin in front of Allman, sending Brown around and he would go to the back of the field.

The lap 48 restart again saw Kelley jump out to the lead, but behind him the battle was on for the 2nd spot as Lindsley and Myers battled door-to-door for the 2nd spot. Lindsley had the spot but Myers would fight back and pulled up next to him, nosing ahead for the spot for two laps, before Lindsley regained the edge to get the spot back. By that time, Kelley pulled out to a 1.5 second lead as the others battled behind him. A little further back in the battle for the 5th spot, there was plenty of action as Bills, Rolfe, Allman, Borges and Casey Kelley were all within a half-second of each other, running side-by-side and nose to tail. A lap 59 caution would see the top 5 cars stay out, while others behind them pitted for new tires.

The next restart on lap 65 would see Kelley again rocket out to the lead, as the battle for 2nd picked up once again. Lindsley held the spot but Myers was hunting him down, and when he finally caught him on lap 77, there would be contact between the two of them, and it would be Myers that would get turned around, dropping him back further in the field. Bills would inherit the 2nd spot, until a later restart on lap 92 would see him and Lindsley battling for the 2nd spot when they would hit doors, and both Bills would get turned around as well in front of the field.

This set up the final restart which saw Kelley take off once again before the final caution flew, and he wouldn’t be beat as he went on to lead 90 laps en route to his first career SARA victory. Lindsley finished off the race with a 2nd place finish, while Borges worked his way up to 3rd after a quietly strong and clean run. Russell Berry tied his best career Pro Late Model finish with a 4th, and Ian Layne would finish out the top 5 after escaping through the final wreck to take 5th.

1. Cody Kelley
2. Kenny Lindsley
3. Ryan Borges
4. Russell Berry
5. Ian Layne
6. Casey Kelley
7. Kevin Myers
8. Clay Snider
9. Mike Belanger
10. Jarrett Lawrence
11. Dale Owen
12. Darren Daves
13. Jeff Hoggard
14. Matt Rolfe
15. Stan Bragg
16. Cody Leland
17. James Linkiewicz
18. Tim Bills
19. Anthony Celentano
20. Scott Dunlap
21. Todd Cousins
22. TJ Graves
23. Ken Belanger
24. Bill Martin
25. Todd Sipe
26. Colin Allman
27. Michael German
28. Sam Clarke
29. Cameron Hobbs
30. Mike Whited
31. Trent Brown (DQ)
DNS: Mike Rhyno
DNQ: Devan Rittall, Jeffery Nichols, Justin Mullkin, Dave Coursol

Penalties: Trent Brown – Aggressive Driving – Suspension
Cody Leland – Aggressive Driving – Warning given post race via email
ARCA Brake Warnings: Todd Cousins, Kevin Myers, James Linkiewicz, Casey Kelley, Ken Belanger

Next week the series makes a return to Thompson for the first time in over a year for a 100-lap event.

With just a 24th place finish, Bill Martin hangs onto the points lead which shrinks down to just 3 points over Kenny Lindsley. For the full results and standings, click HERE.