Spearman Returns to SLM Victory Lane



Last Thursday night, the RB Performance Super Late Models visited the Irwindale Speedway for their second race of the season. 37 drivers would bring their cars out to the track to attempt to qualify for the 125 lap main event.

In group qualifying, the top 26 cars based on time would automatically advance to the race, and it was Ty Majeski who would pick up the pole with a lap time of 17.921 seconds. The final spot, in 26th was Matt Eddy, who was only .4 seconds off the fast lap, as a majority of the field were extremely close in lap times. Drivers 27th and lower on lap times, would have to run the LCQ to qualify for the event. Gil Gauck would run at the front of the pack for all 10 laps to advance, while TJ Graves would work his way into the final transfer spot in the closing laps to also advance. Brandon Smisor, Mike Whited, and Ken Belanger would all receive provisionals and would join the end of the 31-car starting grid.

When the feature event rolled out, Majeski would lead the field to the green flag and quickly jumped ahead of Ty Spearman in 2nd as the race got underway. During the first two runs over the first 28 laps of the race, Majeski looked to have things under control out front, as Spearman could hold pace for a couple of laps before Majeski would gain a few car lengths out in the lead. Bill Martin ran in the 3rd spot early on, before Cody Kelley would get by on the lap 15 restart, and James Linkiewicz would run in the 5th position.

On lap 28, the next caution of the race would come out, and a majority of the field would head down pit road for their first pit stop. But a couple of drivers who ran further back in the pack would stay out, bringing Kevin Myers to the front of the field to take over the lead. Majeski looked to rejoin the field after his pitstop near the 5th position, but some slight contact as he came off of pit road, would force him back to pit lane, and back deep in the field for the restart.

Myers would bring the field to the green flag, with Derek Robinson next to him for the restart after both drivers stayed out. The first car behind them with fresh tires was Martin as he quickly moved into the 3rd spot and was looking to work his way to the front. But with the help of some cautions, Myers was able to hang onto the lead for 27 laps, before Martin was finally able to work his way to the back bumper of Myers, and Martin would make his move to take over the lead, just before the next caution would come out on lap 58.

It was Martin’s turn to lead out front on the lap 63 restart, but another quick caution led the field to an additional restart on lap 70. Martin jumped into the lead, but Spearman had worked his way back up into the 2nd spot, and was running in Martin’s tire tracks over the next 10 laps of the run. Spearman narrowed the gap to a couple of car lengths but looked content to ride behind Martin until the next caution flew on lap 80.

Another round of pit stops for the leaders would hand the lead over to newcomer Matt Vaade as he now took over the top spot. A couple of others would also stay out on track behind him, while Martin and Spearman came off of pit road in 5th and 6th. Majeski would also move up using some pit strategy to put himself back in the picture, but on the next restart, some contact between himself and Mike Belanger who was running 4th, would bring out a quick caution and forced Majeski to head back down pit road once again.

Vaade continued to lead at the front of the field, but on the lap 98 restart his older tires would finally get the best of him as Spearman would get a run on him. Spearman would duck to the inside heading into turn three, and would come out of turn four with the lead on lap 100. Spearman would clear Vaade to take over the top spot, which also allowed Martin to follow him up into the 2nd position.

One last caution a couple of laps later would set the field up for their last restart on lap 106. Spearman would quickly jump into the lead, while Linkiewicz would use a good jump on the restart to get by Martin for the 2nd spot. The final run of the race would see some incredible saves as drivers battled it out to the finish. Back in 10th Parker Traves would receive a bump from behind in heavy traffic and got sideways, but was able to save it as the rest of the pack behind him all got stacked up. Those drivers back further in the field would see some three and four wide battles, but would all settle in as the run continued.

Up front, Spearman began to pull away as Linkiewicz and Martin fought for 2nd. On lap 115, Martin would look to the inside for the spot, but the two drivers would make contact with Linkiewicz nearly spinning around. He was able to save it, but as he and Martin checked up, the Kelley brothers of Cody and Casey were right there to pounce and would get by to take the spots away. After Martin checked up, he would face pressure from Trent Brown for the 5th spot, and Martin would also have to save his car after some contact, which would drop him back to 7th as Brown and Ryan Borges both got by. The contact wasn’t over there though as Borges then gave Brown a bump, and he too would save his car from spinning but not before Borges and Martin were able to get back by.

With all the battles going on behind him in the closing laps, Spearman was able to pull out to a full straightaway lead, and with just two laps to go, the final caution of the race would come out, securing the lead for Spearman out front. He would bring the field around under the checkered and yellow flags, and would pick up his 2nd career SARA victory after leading the final 26 laps of the race. Spearman’s last victory came in March of 2014. Cody Kelley and Casey Kelley would both join the podium after sneaking into the top three late in the race. Linkiewicz was able to hang on to a 4th place finish, while Borges was able to move up late to round out the top five.

James Linkiewicz – Contact Under Yellow – Warning

After picking up a win in Week #1, and a 2nd place last Thursday, Cody Kelley leads the points standings by 19 points over 2nd place. Next week, the series heads to New Smyrna for a 150 lap feature event.