Kelley’s Bold Move Pays Off For Win



On Thursday night, the RB Performance Super Late Model Series visited New Smyrna Speedway for the New Smyrna 150 event and the divisions’ 3rd race of the season. In group qualifying, 37 different drivers would make a lap trying to put themselves inside the top 26 to be locked into making the feature lineup.

Once again, Ty Majeski put his car on the front row with the fastest lap of the session and a lap of 17.173 seconds. Less than a half-second off the top time, Brandon Wilkinson would be the final driver to lock himself into the race in 26th, while drivers 27th on back in qualifying would be forced to run the Last Chance Qualifier. In the LCQ, Matt Vaade put himself at the front of the field to pick up the win, with Robert Matthews moving up into the second spot late in the run, and both drivers would advance to the feature event. Russell Berry, Brandon Smisor, Matt Eddy, and Ken Belanger would all be awarded provisional spots to complete the 32-car starting grid.

Ty Majeski would lead the field to the green flag alongside Justin Brooks, but as the race got underway, a number of cautions would plague the first 50 laps of the event. On each restart during the opening laps, Majeski would jump into the lead, with Brooks falling line line behind him, but they wouldn’t get the chance to battle it out due to the early race yellows. On the lap 19 restart, Brooks would try to anticipate the start, but with Majeski being the control car, he would wait to get on the gas. The jumped start would cause a stack up behind the front row, and a number of cars would collected in a pileup. Most cars were able to driver away, but not without some heavy damage to their cars.

Fast forward to the lap 63 restart, and the field would finally get some green flag racing in, as they set off on a 45 lap run. After a couple rounds of pit stops, Majeski cycled back into the lead for the restart and quickly jumped into the lead. It only took a couple laps for Cody Kelley and Brooks to work back up into the top three, but by that point, Majeski was already nearly a second ahead out front. James Linkiewicz would move up into 4th, while it took Casey Kelley a few laps longer to get into the top five, dropping drivers such as Todd Sipe and Nicolas Moreau back further into the top ten.

Out front, Majeski continued to hang onto the lead, but Cody Kelley was in pursuit with slightly newer tires. It would take Kelley a number of laps to get there, but by lap 90, he closed the gap to within a couple of car lengths, and was beginning to put the pressure on for the top spot. As they came to the line to complete lap 95, Majeski would get a little loose out of turn four, allowing Kelley to make his move as he dove to the inside. Majeski would try to fight back, even trying a crossover move to take the lead back, but Kelley was too strong and would begin to pull away.

Over the next part of the run, the top five would remain the same, while behind them running in the top ten, Bill Brown ran solidly in the 6th spot with Moreau not too far behind him in 7th. Joining them was Ty Spearman and Kevin Myers in 8th and 9th, with Todd Sipe hanging onto the 10th spot as he held off Clay Snider. Back out front, Kelley and Majeski were quickly putting cars a lap down or more, when Majeski would get loose coming off turn two on lap 105 as he tried to get by a lapped car, and would would get sideways and into the inside wall, ending his night early. The run continued on until a caution further back in the field on lap 108 would end the long green flag run.

Under caution, the entire field would head down pit road, but a couple cars would gamble taking just two tires to move to the front of the field. Linkiewicz would be the first car off pit road to take over the lead, with Brown joining him on the front row ahead of the rest of the lead lap cars who took four tires. Linkiewicz jumped out into the lead, and Brown was able to quickly get down behind him. But as Brown looked to hold off Kelley for the 2nd spot, some slight contact between the two of them would end up with Brown spinning around in front of the field. The caution would come for Brown, but he would avoid any further damage and would rejoin the field to start 8th on the restart.

The next restart on lap 124 would set the field up for their final run of the race. Linkiewicz pulled back into the lead ahead of Brooks and Kelley, but they would start to put pressure on him to take the spot away. Brooks would peek a nose to the inside on lap 126, where Linkiwicz would close the door on him. But as they exited turn four, Linkiewicz slid up into the wall, allowing Brooks to get a run to his outside and the two would battle it out side-by-side for the lead. But waiting behind them was Kelley, and as soon as a hole opened for him and he would throw it in there three wide, made it stick and came out on the other side with the lead.

And with Kelley back in the lead, there was no catching him out front. He would pull out to lead of over three seconds, before one last caution with just three laps to go would force the race to end under the checkered and yellow flags. Kelley led the field to pick up the victory, and his 8th career SARA win. Casey Kelley would move up late in the race to join his brother at the front with a 2nd place finish, while Spearman would also move up into a podium spot in 3rd. Brooks would get tangled with a lapped car late to move him back to 4th, and Myers would finish off his race with a top five finish.

Justin Brooks – Restart Violation – Warning
Trent Brown – Aggressive Driving – EOL in Results

Following his victory, Cody Kelley would extend his points lead to 30 points over 2nd place in the standings.  Next time out, the series will head to the Lucas Oil Raceway for their week #4 event.