Last Thursday night, the RB Performance Super Late Model series took to the oldest track in the United States, The Milwaukee Mile, for 150 grueling laps in the Sim Auto Racing Association’s version of the Howie Lettow Memorial 150. While Cody Kelley took the top spot in practice, it would be Ty Majeski just beating out Kelley by one hundreth of a second to take the pole position.
As the race began, Majeski started to do what he does best, and pulled out to an early lead with Kelley on his tail. Everything was smooth sailing for the first 24 laps with David Krikorian, Bill Martin, and James Linkiewicz rounding out the top five. On lap 24 however, the two leaders would make contact as Kelley and Majeski got together in the middle of turn two, sending Majeski into the outside wall. There was a large gap upon review of the wreck to indicate some heavy net code was involved, though Majeski was able to continue on and be competitive, but his car wouldn’t be the same as it was in the early laps.
The green would fall on lap 29 with Matt Rolfe taking over the top spot after only a two tire pit stop during the caution with Bill Martin following in his wake. Kelley, looking to regain the lead was following in 3rd, with Linkiewicz and Camaron Hamilton restarting in the top five. Racing would remain under green until lap 36 when Krikorian and Trent Brown made contact and spun down into the inside wall down the backstretch. Krikorian would take a massive shot into the wall nose first while Brown was able to limp back to the pits for repairs. Krikorian would later return to the race, but several laps down. Before the caution flew on lap 36, Kelley was able to charge back to the front with ease.
On the lap 41 restart, the green flag would fly with pit strategy playing a role on the front rows once again. This round Todd Sipe would lead the field to the green after staying out. Hamilton, also deciding to stay out would move into the 2nd spot followed closely behind by Ty Spearman. As laps passed Spearman with fresher tires was able to take control of the lead and put some distance between him and 2nd place. The older tires for Sipe and Hamilton would drop them back as the laps ticked off, moving Kelley back up to 2nd place, Martin in 3rd, and Majeski to 4th after a hard battle back from the earlier incident, and Derek Holzhausen in 5th who was really starting to show some muscle on the long green flag run.
By lap 56, Kelley had tracked down Spearman in the lead and seeing Kelley’s speed, Spearman decided to give the lead up without contest so early on in the race. Holzhausen at this time was continuing to show his muscle moving into the 3rd spot just as the yellow flag would fly once again on lap 66 due to a self spin by Colin Allman out the exit of turn four. During the caution, all lead lap cars decided to pit after the long run and when it all cycled through, Kelley would maintain the lead, Brian Tedeschi would come out 2nd and hit the top five for the first time, Martin to 3rd, Spearman to 4th, and Rolfe to 5th.
The green flag flew again on lap 70 with Tedeschi taking the lead away from Kelley, but after a short lived four laps, the lead would change hands once again to the points leader. For the next several laps we would see a strong battle for 2nd place between Martin and Tedeschi. While the battle heated up, Majeski began picking cars off one a time time moving himself back into the 4th position and would join the battle as well. On lap 80 however, the battle would come to a hault as both Tedeschi and Martin exited turn four sideways. Martin’s car overcorrected putting him into the outside wall and the car shot to the infield right into Majeski’s path. Martin would end up in the inside wall, with major damage. Majeski would retire shortly after the incident, while Martin would return to the race with about 10 laps to go.
Green would fly again on lap 86, with Kelley still out in the lead. The field would see another lengthly green flag run where Kelley, clearly the dominating car for the night, pulled out a strong lead over a battling Spearman and Tedeschi. Holzhausen once again put himself back into the mix in 4th, putting the pressure on for the top three, while Sipe would find himself running strong in 5th place after using some pit strategy to gain track position.
The next yellow wouldn’t fly until lap 105 bringing the field back down into the pits. After the long run, all drivers were expected to take four tires and they did just that. Kelley came back out with the lead, just ahead of Tedeschi and Spearman. As the run got started, the top three would begin to pull away from the cars behind them, while Sipe and Linkiewicz battled for 4th. That battle would result in some slight contact between the two of them in turn three. Sipe was able to continue on, while Linkiewicz began to drop back as the green flag run continued.
A caution just a few laps later though would set the field up for a lap 123 restart, and with only 27 laps remaining, pit strategy was once again would come into play for the final run. Tedeschi would find himself back in the lead, taking just two tires and Sipe would join him on the front row as well using the same strategy. Kelley came off pit road in 3rd, with Hamilton and Spearman in the top five for the restart
On lap 125, four tires and a strong car would prevail as Kelley was able to keep pace with the leader on the restart, and he would take the lead away once again from Tedeschi with a move to the inside in turn one. Hamilton continued his strong and would also close in on Tedeschi, where the two would make contact in turn three getting Tedeschi loose, while Hamilton was able to take the spot away. The move dropped Tedeschi back to 5th, with Spearman and Holzhausen also getting by.
For the next and final 25 laps of the race, the green flag continued until the very end and there was nobody that would deny Kelley of winning at The Milwaukee Mile. He began to extend his lead out front while the field was left battling for spots behind him. Holzhausen would take 2nd away on lap 133 and then also began to separate himself from the pack, but by that point, Kelley was already out in front by over 2.5 seconds.
As the run went on, Hamilton began to fall back which allowed Tedeschi and Spearman to close in on him, and the battle for 3rd would heat up during the final laps of the race. By lap 145, Tedeschi had caught up to the bumper of 3rd place, and then made his move two laps later in turn three, with Spearman following him up into 4th. The three drivers would continue to battle over the remaining couple of laps, with Spearman peeking a nose into the inside of Tedeschi, but the door would close each time keeping Spearman back in 4th.
Kelley would coast back around to the finish line after dominated much of the race, leading 92 laps of the event and crossing the line over 5 seconds in the lead to pick up the victory. The win for Kelley would be his 3rd win of the Super Late Model season, and his 14th career SARA victory.
With the victory, Cody Kelley maintains the points lead and expands on that lead once again this week as he now leads the standings by 66 points over Ty Spearman in 2nd. Next time out the RB Performance Super Late Model Series will go from the largest track on the schedule, to the smallest track on their schedule when they do battle at the Irwindale Inner track for 125 laps.