On Tuesday night, the Sportsman Street Stock Series rolled into the New Smyrna Speedway for the second event of their spring season. 30 drivers would bring their cars out to the track, and when qualifying got underway, it was Ty Majeski who put his car on the top of the speed charts to pick up his 24th career pole.
Majeski would lead the field to the green flag, but a quick caution would slow the pace early. On the lap 6 restart, Majeski brought the field around once again and would get the jump into the lead and was able to clear Cody Kelley for the top spot. Behind Kelley, Justin Brooks was able to settle into 3rd with James Linkiewicz and Parker Traves right on his tail, fighting for spots among the top five. Kelley was able to maintain pace with Majeski in the early laps, following in his tire tracks until the next caution came out on lap 10.
After another quick caution, Majeski would jump in front of the field once more on the lap 25 restart, while Kelley again fell in line behind him. Over the course of the green flag run, Majeski would slowly begin to inch away in the lead, while drivers behind him were still battling it out. Linkiewicz was able to use the restart to make the pass on Brooks for the 3rd spot, moving Brooks back into 4th while Matt Rolfe would also move up into the top five. As the laps began to tick off during the run, much of the top ten looked content on riding in their positions until the run ended with a caution on lap 36.
During the caution, pit strategy came into play when Kelley and Brooks headed down pit road while a number of cars would stay out, forcing them to restart near mid pack. Majeski, Linkiewicz, and Rolfe all stay out, while Traves and Jeff Hoggard would move up into the top five behind them. Majeski pulled back in front on the restart, while the others in the top five would all fall in line. But one driver on the move was Bill Martin who would move up into the top three on the next green flag run, after starting near the back of the field.
Another caution on lap 50, would set up a lap 56 restart, and the biggest shake up of the race when the “big one” would happen. Majeski got the jump on the restart, but would miss a shift allowing Linkiewicz to get a run on the outside groove. They would go into the corner, with Linkiewicz holding the advantage on the outside, but as they exited turn two, there would be contact with both leaders turning them both around in front of the field. Majeski would spin towards the inside wall, while Linkiewicz would slide back into traffic. Martin, who had restarted 3rd would try to get to the outside of the incident but would get clipped by Linkiewicz on the way by and he too would spin to the inside wall, while a majority of the field would get collected behind them.
Just in front of the wreck, only three cars were able to sneak through without getting any contact or without getting stuck behind the blocked track. Somehow Rolfe would come out with the lead, followed by Derek Robinson and Brooks as the only ones to make it though the big one.
With a number of heavy hitters now out of the race or damaged at the back of the pack, Rolfe would bring the field around to the final restart on lap 61. But he would have a battle on his hands over the last 15 laps as Brooks would restart behind him on newer tires.
Rolfe would lead the field to the green flag, and would get the jump in front of Robinson to his outside. Robinson would try to hold off Brooks for a couple of laps, before Brooks was able to get by and set his sights on the leader. Brooks would catch up to the back bumper of Rolfe with 10 laps remaining and began looking for a way to get by. Behind the front two, Robinson would have another battle on his hands as Dustin Graham was looking to get by for the third spot. They would battle side by side for a few laps, before Graham was able to get by, shuffling Robinson back to 5th behind Robby Roy who was able to move up as well.
Back out front, Rolfe continued to lead, while Brooks was still looking for a way by. Brooks seem to hold the advantage on corner entry, but Rolfe was able to get a better run off of the corners. On lap 72, Brooks decided it was time to make his move and dove it to the inside of Rolfe, but he would slam the door shut, forcing Brooks to check up. Brooks would get loose as he jumped on the brakes, nearly making contact with Rolfe. He was able to gather it up, but not without losing valuable time on the leader. This allowed Rolfe to separate himself out front with just a couple of laps remaining in the race.
Rolfe would end up hanging onto the lead, and would bring the field around to the checkered flag to pick up the victory. The win for Rolfe was his 12th career SARA victory, and his first since March of 2014. Brooks would hold on for a second place finish, and Roy would move up into 3rd to join him on the podium. Kelley was able to work his way back up into 4th late in the run after his pit stop earlier in the race, and Robinson would end up in the 5th spot to round out the top five.
Parker Traves – Contact Under Caution – Warning
TJ Graves – Contact Under Caution – Warning
Ty Majeski – Lane Change Violation – Warning
After two races, and after picking up the victory, Matt Rolfe now leads the points standings by just 3 points over second place. Next time out, the series will visit Lanier for a 100 lap event.
For full results and standings, click HERE.