On Tuesday night, Richmond International Raceway played host to the Sportsman Street Stock Series as they visited the track for their week 6 event. With the feature event slated for 75 laps, 20 cars would show up for the event where Cody Kelley took the pole with a lap time of 24.292 seconds, and his 7th career pole.
Kelley would lead the field to the green flag, with Tim Bills on his outside for the start. But as Kelley jumped into the lead, Brooks would follow him up the inside, and by the time Bills was able to fall in line, he was back in 4th as Parker Traves would get by him as well. With Brooks moving up into 2nd off of the green flag, he would get a run coming to the line on the first lap, and looked to the inside of Kelley for the lead into turn one. Brooks would be clear in the lead off the corner, but Kelley would pull a crossover move and got back to the inside of Brooks out of turn two. They would run side-by-side through turns three and four before Brooks would be clear in the lead once more as they came to the line to complete lap two.
As Brooks took over the lead, the top five had pulled away from the rest of the pack as Jacob Linkiewicz joined them in the top five, but out front, Brooks was beginning to stretch his lead. And that lead would grow some more as drivers within the top five were starting to battle for spots, allowing the leader to get away. Kelley and Traves would exchange the 2nd spot a couple of times as the run continued, and Linkiewicz would get by Bills to move into 4th. They would all fall in line single file, and the run would go on until lap 27 when the first caution would come out as Jeff Hoggard, who had moved up inside the top ten, would get caught up with a lapped car and both drivers would go around.
Under caution, the whole field would head down pit road, and a couple of different strategies would play out as a number of guys would take just two tires. Traves would be the first car off of pit road ahead of Bill Martin who had worked his way through the field, while the guys who were up front before the caution and took four tires, would be back in 7th or worse for the restart.
Traves would jump out front, and Todd Sipe was able to move up the inside into 3rd, but the next time around after the restart, Martin would get a run on him and would move back up to the 2nd spot. A couple of laps later, Brooks had worked his way back up and got by Sipe for 3rd, and Linkiewicz would follow him through into 4th, moving Sipe into 5th. Just outside the top five, Kelley had caught the front group and was looking to work his way back to the front, while a ways back a few cars were battling for the remaining spots among the top ten. Ty Spearman moved up into 7th during the run, with Bills, Ryan Borges, and Jeff Hoggard not to far behind inside the top ten as well.
Back out front, Martin and Brooks had chased down Traves in the lead, and were looking for a way by. They would run nose-to-tail before Brooks made the first move to take 2nd away on lap 45, and then caught back up to the leader and began putting the pressure on for the spot. On lap 50, Brooks would get the run, and made his move to the inside, and would duck to the inside of Traves for the lead. The two would run side-by-side for the next lap, and as they came around to complete lap 50, Brooks would get a nose out in front as a single car spin further back in the field would bring out the next caution.
Once again, the field would head down pit road during the caution, and this time it was Kelley that would win the race off of pit road, but partly due to him missing his pit stall which didn’t allow him to take any tires. Brooks would come out behind him with Traves, Martin and Bills moving into the top five for the restart.
On the lap 56 restart, Kelley would choose the outside lane as the leader, but as he took off, Brooks was able to hang with him down the front stretch and would use the inside lane to take the lead away going into the corner. Kelley would drop back into 2nd but with the older tires, Martin would quickly get by him as well and would then look to chase down the leader. But just behind them, Bills had a battle on his hands for the 4th spot until he got stuck on the outside and would begin to get shuffled back on the outside. On lap 61 as Bills continued to drop back, he would get loose off of turn two on the outside, and would smack the wall, collecting Hoggard with him, dropping both cars out of the top ten to bring out the final caution.
On the restart with 7 laps to go, Brooks would jump ahead on the inside with Kelley right behind him moving up to 2nd. But Martin would pull a crossover as they exited turn two and took the 2nd spot right back away, and set his sights on the leader. With the laps winding down, Martin would catch up to Brooks and closed the gap to just a car length with two laps to go.
As they came to the white flag, Martin would get a run down the front stretch and looked to the inside of Brooks for the lead, but Brooks would throw a block down the inside of the track as they entered turn one. They would make contact entering the corner, and both cars would slide up the track. Martin was able to gather his car back up first and got the run on the inside of Books down the back stretch. Then as the entered the final corner, Brooks would back off and gave it one more shot looking to the inside entering turn three, and he would get into the back of Martin, sliding him up the track. Martin would get loose through the corner, and wasn’t able to save the car as he would spin coming to the line, losing a couple of spots in the process. This allowed Brooks to come around and he would cross the line first for the checkered flag.
Despite crossing the line first, officials determined that the bump and run on the final lap was considered aggressive, and the win would be stripped away from Brooks. This would hand over the win to the next car in line, which was Traves as he came around after making contact with the spinning Martin as they came to the stripe. Cody Kelley would come around to finish 2nd ahead of Linkiewicz in 3rd, with Martin spinning across the line in 4th just ahead of Spearman who took home 5th.
Justin Brooks – Aggressive Driving – EOL in Results + 3 Week Suspension + Removal from the Acceleration Series league page.
With a 2nd place finish, Cody Kelley extends his points lead out to 54 points over 2nd place in the standings. Next time out the series will head to Thompson for a 75 lap feature event.