The NEO Racing News Legends League made the trip up to New England on Monday night to take on their final double header event of the season. The New England Cup would see the Legends first hit the road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for 12 laps, before heading a couple hours north to Oxford for 50 laps in the oval portion of the event. Going into the night, Travis Warling entered as the points leader and held a 34 point lead.
In the road course event at the Magic Mile, Warling would put his car on the pole for the race, with a lap time of 1:16.208 seconds. The last two times the division had visited the track, Warling took the pole in those races, and drove off the victory both times as well.
Warling would bring the field off the final corner and to the green flag, and would quickly pull into the lead as he headed down into the first turn. Bill Martin qualified in the 2nd position and fell in line behind the leader through the first couple of corners, just ahead of Matt Rolfe in 3rd. But it didn’t take long for Warling to settle in up front, and he began to pull away in the opening laps. With the first lap complete, the lead was already out to over 1.5 seconds over Martin.
Behind Rolfe in 3rd, was Ryan Borges in the 4th spot, and he would look to put pressure on Rolfe for the position. Borges was able to close the gap for the spot a number of times during the course of the race, as he would gain ground in some parts of the track while Rolfe would pull away in others. But the two would battle it out through the remainder of the race, all the way until the checkered flag.
As the race continued on, Josh Kotten settled into the top 5 in his return to the division. He started in the 5th spot in his first start since week 3, and would hold onto the spot the entire race. Behind him, Patrick Hahe moved into the 6th spot early on and would catch up to Kotten as the laps ticked off. Hahe would catch up to Kotten’s bumped a couple of times, but couldn’t get the run he needed to get by and would eventually slip up later in the run, but was able to hang onto the 6th spot. Behind those two, Bobby Timmons and Jacob Beauchesne would battle for 7th, and would exchange the position a number of times before Beauchesne would slide off track. He would fall back to the 10th position, allowing Timmons to move back into 7th, with Clay Snider and Jeff Hoggard moving into 8th and 9th.
Back out front though, Warling was long gone in the lead, and wouldn’t be contended for the win. He came around for the final time, bringing the field to the checkered flag with a 4.6 second lead to pick up the victory. The win would be Warling’s 6th win of the season, and his 12th career SARA victory. Martin would finish his strong run in the 2nd position. Rolfe would face multiple charges from Borges for the 3rd spot in the closing laps, but would hold him off for the position to hang onto 3rd. Borges would finish 4th, and Kotten would round out the top 5.
In the oval portion of the double header, the division would make the trip north to Maine to visit the Oxford Plains Speedway. In qualifying, Kevin Myers would pick up the pole with a lap of 17.250 seconds, which would be his 6th career SARA pole.
When the green flag flew, Myers led the field around and would bring them down into turn 1 with the lead in hand. Bill Martin started to his outside but was quickly able to find the bottom groove as Matt Rolfe in 3rd would spin his tires, leaving a gap for Martin on the bottom. The top 3 would settle in though and would come around on lap one in the same order.
Behind them, the battle was on for 4th, as Tim Bills had started in the 4th spot, and would hang his car in the outside groove, looking to hold off the pressure from Clay Snider on the bottom. They ran side-by-side for the opening 3 laps of the race, before Snider would finally edge ahead on the bottom, and would bring Ryan Borges up the inside with him into the 5th spot, as Bills fell in line back in 6th. It wasn’t long after that though, that Borges would get by Snider to take the position from him, dropping Snider all the way back to 7th as Bills and Bobby Timmons would also get by him.
Back out front, Myers continued to lead with Martin right on his bumper, and as the two battled it out for the lead, it allowed Rolfe to catch up and join the mix in the early laps. The top 3 had separated themselves from the field by over two seconds, but the only caution of the race would come out on lap 13 to slow the field down and bunch them back up.
Myers led the field back to the lap 16 restart, and the top 4 cars were all able to quickly fall in line. But behind them, Bills in 5th would spin his tires as he got going which stacked up some cars behind him. Bills slid up, allowing Patrick Hahe and Thomas Bennett to sneak by him on the bottom, but when Bills recovered and drove it into turn one, there would be some contact between himself and Bennett. This sent Bills around, also collecting Snider who was on his outside, and a couple other cars further back in the pack. But the green flag would stay out, and the field would race it out to the finish.
Myers continued to lead up front, while Martin continued to hang on his rear bumper. Rolfe would again stay close behind, but just after the restart, he found himself facing pressure from behind from Borges. The leaders began to catch some of the cars caught up in the restart incident, and would start to put them a lap down by lap 24. Myers would bring the leaders past the lapped cars, with Martin following him through, and Rolfe not far behind as he began to separate himself from Borges in 4th. Bennett had made his way into the top 5 and ran in the 5th spot, 2.5 seconds back from the top four at the time.
Once the leaders got by the lapped traffic, Martin began to reapply the pressure for the lead. And on lap 31, he got the break he needed as Myers would clip the inside curb, and would get loose on the bottom groove. Martin was able to drive by, and took the lead from him as Myers was recovering. Rolfe also tried to take a spot away, but Myers was quick to recover and held onto the 2nd spot. The mishap by Myers looked to be what Martin needed to get by and run away, but Myers wouldn’t quit there, as he looked to track back down the leader. Martin had pulled ahead by just over a half-second, but that lead would shrink as the laps began to wind down.
By lap 38, Myers had closed the gap back down to just a couple of car lengths, and with just a handful of laps to go, he had closed back up to the rear bumper of Martin in the lead. On lap 48, Martin would go into turn one, but slid up just a little bit, allowing Myers to close the gap. Coming out of turn two, Myers was close enough to give Martin a small tap, and would get the run down the backstretch to make his move to the bottom entering turn three, and would retake the lead with just two laps to go.
After making the late race pass to regain the lead, Myers would come around on the final lap to take the checkered flag, leading 33 laps to pick up the victory. The win for Myers, would be his 2nd career SARA victory. Martin would come up a spot short in 2nd place, with Rolfe finishing in the 3rd spot. Borges would hang onto 4th, while Bennett would hang onto his spot for a top 5 finish.
Next time out, the division will head to South Boston for SoBo Championship Week, where we will crown a brand new champion for the 2014 Fall Season.
With drop weeks coming into effect, the overall points battle would tighten up at the end of the night. With a victory in the first race, and just an 8th in the second race, Travis Warling’s points lead shrinks down to just 14 points over Bill Martin who picked up a pair of runner up finishes.
While Warling still looks to hang on for the overall points title, he did pick up the Road Course Championship at the end of the night with his victory. In the seven road course events this season, he picked up 5 wins, 4 poles, 77 laps led (of 108), 6 top 5’s and 7 top 10’s.
For full results and standings, click HERE.