Linkiewicz Edges Schaffer in Photo Finish



The MRolfeDesigns Pro Late Model Series hit the track at Stafford on Wednesday night, and the 6th race of the PLM season would see 26 cars show up for the 100-lap feature event.

In time trials, it was Jarrid Boiros who set the fast lap to pick up his 30th career SARA pole. He would lead the field into the Qualifying Dash, and would go on to lead all 8 laps to pick up the Dash win. After the Dash, the front of the field would be inverted, but iRacing had different plans when they decided to shuffle up the entire field with their own mysterious invert, which put Cody Kelley out front for the start of the feature.

Kelley brought the field around for the green flag and quickly jumped into the top spot as he began to pull away out front. A pair of cautions in the first half of the race would bunch the field back up and allowed James Linkiewicz to work his way up to 2nd. On lap 59, Linkiewicz would make his move to the low side of Kelley, and took over the lead. A final restart on lap 79 kept Linkiewicz out front, but Joe Schaffer Jr. had worked his way up to the leaders rear bumper and looked for a way by in the closing laps.

The two drivers entered turn three on the final lap, and Schaffer would give Linkiewicz a little of his front bumper, which moved Linkiewicz up the track just enough to open a hole. Schaffer dove to the inside out of turn four, Linkiewicz attempted to close the door, and the two would make contact as they drag raced to the checkers and crossed the line nearly dead even. After a photo finish review, Linkiewicz’s bumper was out ahead as the two drivers crossed the line, and Linkiewicz would pick up the win by just .006 seconds which is one of the closest finishes in SARA history. The win for Linkiewicz was his 4th of his career, and was his 2nd straight in the division.

Schaffer would finish a close 2nd place, coming up inches short for the victory. Jarrid Boiros had a good view of the finish as he took home a 3rd place finish to round out the podium. Both Ty Spearman and Ryan Borges would run inside the top five for a majority of the race, and would complete the top five with 4th and 5th place finishes respectively.

Just outside the top five, Darrell Hamlin would pick up a couple spots on the final lap to finish 6th, after Cody Kelley ran out of gas on the final lap and dropped to a 7th place finish. Davey Riendeau was also able to gain a spot over David Krikorian who attempted to help Kelley to the finish line. Riendeau would take 8th, while Krikorian dropped from 7th to 9th on the final lap. Rounding out the top ten was Russell Berry, who ran near the 15th spot through the first half of the race, but was able to work his way up to a 10th place finish.

Despite coming up just inches short, Joe Schaffer Jr. continues to lead the PLM standings as the division reaches it’s halfway point of the season. The points lead was extended out to 50 points over 2nd place.

*Due to the glitch that effected out starting grid for the feature, no bonus points were awarded for the Most Positions Gained bonus.