On Monday night, both the NEO Racing News Legends League and the SK Shootout Series visited the Lucas Oil Raceway for a double header event. The Legends would hit the track first on the night for a 40-lap feature event and their 14th race of the season. When time trials got underway, Bill Martin set the quick time with a lap of 25.119 seconds, over two-tenths of a second faster than points leader Travis Warling in 2nd.
Martin would lead the field to the green flag and quickly pulled out into the lead, ahead of Stan Bragg who moved up into 2nd early. A quick caution on lap 3 however would slow the pace and bunch the field back together for a lap 8 restart, where a 20-lap green flag run would follow.
At the drop of the green flag, Martin once again got the jump into the lead while Bragg followed him around. Martin looked to be the car to beat early on, as he had pulled out to a 1-second lead, just 6 laps into the next run. Bragg held onto the 2nd spot while Warling followed close behind in the 3rd position, while behind them Ken Belanger ran in the 4th spot on the restart before Matt Rolfe grabbed it from him. The battle to watch was for the 2nd spot though as Warling continued to look for a way around Bragg. He found the room he needed to get by for the spot, but Bragg would pull a cross over move to take it right back. Just after the halfway mark of the race, the two drivers continued to battle and Warling would take the spot once again, just before the next caution of the race flew on lap 22.
A couple drivers would head down pit road, but the top three drivers remained the same. On the restart, Martin got the jump into the lead, and Borges would take advantage of the restart to move up into the 2nd spot after inheriting the 4th spot on the previous caution. His move into 2nd helped Warling settle back into the 3rd position once again, while Bragg would get shuffled out and back to the 5th spot. As Bragg looked to recover though, he would get loose and contact between himself and Rolfe would send both drivers into the wall to bring out the caution.
This would set up the final restart of the race with just four laps to go. Martin took off on the restart but Borges and Warling would enter turn 1 right on his bumper. But Martin was too strong and would put a gap between himself and the others as they battled for the 2nd spot.
Martin would bring the field around for the final time, and would lead all 40 laps of the event to pick up the dominating victory. The win would be his 4th Legends win of the season, and his 8th career SARA win. Borges would hold off Warling over the final laps as the two picked up 2nd and 3rd place finishes, respectively. Jeff Hoggard capitalized throughout the race to finish in the 4th position, while Patrick Hahe held off some others to hang onto the 5th spot.
On the second event of the night, Bill Martin carried his momentum from the Legends race, and used it to pick up another pole in the SK Shootout Series race with a lap of 21.877 seconds, just ahead of Stan Bragg in 2nd.
Martin led the field to the green once again for the 75-lap feature event, and would take the lead as the field headed down into turn 1. But Bragg was right there behind him, and wouldn’t let him get away. Bragg would follow Martin right on his rear bumper in the opening laps, as the field began a 32-lap run to start it off. There wasn’t much passing at the front of the field early in the race as the top 8 would all settle in and ran single file as the field began to spread out. The top two would begin to pull away as Kevin Myers settled into the 3rd spot, just ahead of Ty Spearman in 4th. As those two ran nose-to-tail for 3rd, Matt Rolfe wasn’t too far behind in the 5th spot. The field looked content to just log laps before a single car caution on lap 32 would erase Martin’s lead out front.
Most of the field would take the opportunity to head down pit road for some new tires during the caution, but Martin and Bragg would stay out to hang onto the top spots. However on the restart, contact between Spearman and Myers in the 3rd and 4th positions would see Myers facing the wrong way and into the wall which also collected a few others further back in the field.
The quick caution would set up the next restart on lap 42, and the new tires didn’t seem to make too much of a difference for the leaders as Martin and Bragg would both pull away on the restart from the rest of the field, with older tires still on their cars. Martin looked to have the stronger car though as he pulled out to just over half of a second, where Bragg was able to settle in but couldn’t close the gap as the run continued. Spearman was there in the mix as well, sitting just a few car lengths back from the 2nd spot, but also wasn’t able to make up the ground he needed. Behind them, Ryan Borges was in the 4th spot falling back from the leaders, as he was facing pressure from Rolfe for the spot. However Myers would re-enter the mix after fixing his previous damage, and was able to move past Rolfe for 5th, and got by Borges for 4th place by lap 60. As Myers made the pass for 4th, Rolfe was right there to take advantage and took the 5th position back, moving Borges back outside the top 5.
Out front, the gap between the top 3 spots would remain throughout the entire run until the next caution would come out on lap 62. The lap 67 restart would end up being the final restart of the race, and Bragg’s final shot at the win if he had anything left for Martin.
Martin shot out to the lead, and this time Bragg wasn’t able to stay with him right off the restart as he fell back further than he had all race. Behind them though, the battle was on for 3rd as Myers took the spot away from Spearman off the restart. As they got single file however, and Myers looked ahead to the leaders, he would get loose off of turn two, and with Spearman right on his bumper, there would be contact between the two again, sending Myers around to bring out the final caution of the race.
The caution would end the race as the field came around for the checkered and yellow flags, and it was Martin that once again dominated the race for the victory, leading all 75 laps of the event. The win would be his first SK Mod win in the league, his 2nd win of the night, and his 9th career SARA victory. Bragg would finish in 2nd after fighting for the lead all race long, with Spearman finishing on the podium in 3rd. Rolfe would finish in 4th, with Borges finishing out the top 5.
Next time out for the Legends next week will be a double header event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and for the SK Shootout Series, their next event will be their season finalé at South Boston during the lead week of the season.
With a 3rd place finish in the Legends event, Travis Warling hangs onto the points lead with Martin closing that gap down to 28 points. And despite his 9th place finish in the SK race, Kevin Myers continues to lead those standings by just 12 points heading into the final event for the division.