Kelley Takes Opening Night Victory



On Monday night, the NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series started off the season with a 100 lap event at Richmond. The Memorial Day race saw 37 cars hit the track in practice, with 34 of those cars starting the feature.

Time trials kicked off the night, with Tim Bills setting the fast time, and the top 8 cars would all advance into the new Qualifying Dash race. Bills would take the Qualifying Dash victory, but with an 8 car invert, he would have to start the race in the 8th spot while Jerold John would be inverted to start on point for the feature race.

Jerold John took off for the green flag to start the race as 33 other cars followed behind him. John quickly jumped out into the lead in the early laps, but it was Cody Kelley that charged from his 7th starting spot and grabbed the lead by lap 8. And it was a lead he would never let go of as he picked right back up from where he left off last season, dominating the race.

Behind Kelley, David Krikorian finished in the 2nd spot after starting 10th on the night. He slowly worked his way toward the front to put himself in a position to win over the final 25 laps, but would come up just short. Bill Martin ran up front all race long, even after making a mid-race pit stop, but quickly made his way back into the top five and ended up with a 3rd place finish. Matt Rolfe took home a 4th place finish after starting 20th and slowly working his way through the field, and he was followed by Dale Owen who recovered from being down a lap at one point to come back and finish out the top five.

Early race leader Jerold John, as well as Keith Jeffery, Austin Yarbrough, Bills, and Reggie Evans all spent time inside the top five throughout the night, but different incidents throughout the race would take each of them out of contention. This allowed a number of big movers on the night as six different drivers inside the top ten would gain more than ten positions from where they started to get a good finish, including the biggest mover of the night, Darren Daves, who gained 27 spots from his 34th starting position to finish 7th.

But at the end of the night, it was all Cody Kelley in his red, white & blue number 75 machine, as he dominated to take home the Memorial Day win. He would lead the final 93 laps of the race, and coasted to the line under the checkered and yellow flags. The win was Kelley’s 20th career SARA victory. Next time out, the SK Shootout Series will be in Lakeland, Florida for a 100 lap event.