On Thursday night, a field of over 40 Super Late Models made the trip out to the Iowa Speedway to attempt to make the Ice Scraper 100 field, in the season opener of the RB Performance Super Late Model Series. With such a strong field attempting to make the race, the division’s group qualifying would play an important role in making the starting grid.
With nearly 35 cars all within a half-second on try charts in qualifying, only the top 28 would be locked into the field after group qualifying. At the top of the charts, Derek Holzhausen would go out on track in the final group, and would rocket to the top of the speed charts on his final lap with a lap time of 23.023 seconds to pick up his first career SARA pole. Newcomer Gil Gauck would take the final spot into the top 28 to lock himself into the race, while drivers 29th on back would all have to run the Last Chance Qualifier to make their way into the field. In the LCQ session, Steve Rosner and Gary Belling would transfer through as the top two finishers, and the 35-car field would be rounded out by provisionals.
As the feature event rolled out, Holzhausen would lead the field to the green flag and would get the jump to keep control of the top spot. In the early laps, Bill Martin was able to move up from his 3rd starting spot to get by Fred Moreau for 2nd, and was setting his sights on the leader. By lap 6, Martin closed the gap and pulled up to the bumper of Holzhausen before making his move for the top spot, and Martin would get by to come around and lead lap 7. Behind the leaders, Cody Kelley was able to also get by Moreau for the 3rd spot as the top four cars would begin to separate themselves from the pack, before the first caution of the race would come out on lap 11.
On the lap 16 restart, Martin jumped back out into the lead, while spots behind him within the top five were all being shuffled around. Moreau used a good restart to move up into 2nd, but Kelley and Holzhausen were eager to get back by and would shuffle Moreau back to 4th once more. Behind them, Kevin Myers and Parker Traves battled for the 5th spot with Ty Spearman right there behind them. An incident further back in the field from a 3-wide battle, would bring out the next caution of the race.
This caution would see the races first big shake up, as a majority of the field would head down pit road for the first time, including Martin who would give up the lead. Moreau would be the first car to stay out on track to pick up some bonus points as the race leader. Behind him, Trent Brown and newcomer Bill Brown would both stay out as well to move into the top 3, while the rest of the field would come out on track from 4th on back.
A couple of quick cautions would lead to the lap 41 restart, where Moreau would bring the field back to the green flag. But he wasn’t able to jump out into the lead for too long and Bill Brown was right there putting the pressure on for the lead. Brown made his move for the lead, where he and Moreau would battle for the next couple of laps. Moreau was able to keep a nose out into the lead for the next few laps, but eventually Brown would get the run he needed to pull ahead and took over the top spot on lap 48. Brown’s lead would be short lived though as the caution would come out just one lap later, and the leaders would head back down pit road.
This round of pit stops would be the turning point of the race, as the final lead change of the race occurred when Kelley would stay out on track and would take over the top spot. From this point on in the race, cautions would slow the pace and wouldn’t allow for much green flag racing, and Kelley would use that to his advantage getting the jump on each restart.
Kelley maintained the lead throughout the next few restarts, leading up to the lap 84 restart where once again he got the jump out front. Behind him though, the battle was on for spots in the top five. Bill Brown ran in the 2nd spot on the restart, but he had a battle on his hands once again as this time it was Moreau looking to take the spot from him. Moreau made his move to the inside, and the two would run side-by-side for the next couple of laps, before Moreau would gain the advantage to take the spot away before the caution flew once more on lap 91.
This led to the final restart of the race, where Kelley led the field back to the green flag but with another quick yellow, the race would end up finishing under caution, allowing Kelley to hold onto the top spot. Kelley would bring the field back around for the final time, and crossed the line under the checkered and yellow flags to pick up the win in the Ice Scraper 100, and his 5th career SARA victory. Moreau held onto the 2nd spot to finish off his strong run to start the season, followed by Brown who picked up a podium finish in his first race. Martin finished the race in the 4th spot after hanging around the front of the field all race long, and the top five was rounded out by Traves who had a quiet 5th place finish.
Brandon Smisor – Restart Violation – Warning
Robby Roy – Repeat Cause of Caution – EOL on Lead Lap
Justin Mullikin – ARCA Braking – Warning
Next time out, the Super Late Models make a trip out west for the Irwindale 125 and the second race of the season at the Irwindale Speedway.
For full standings, click HERE.