This past Wednesday night, the GM Parts XPerts Pro Late Model Series took on the Martinsville Speedway for a 100 lap feature event.
The night got underway with Time Trials and Ty Spearman set the fast lap to grab the pole with a lap of 19.660 seconds, just .001 seconds ahead of Ty Majeski for his 13th career SARA pole. The top ten cars from Time Trials advanced into the Qualifying Dash, and an 8-car invert sent Spearman further back in the pack while Tyler Howell was inverted to the front. Howell brought the Dash field to the green flag, but it was Bill Martin that would bring the field to the checkers for the Dash win.
In the feature event, Howell led the field back to the green flag but this time it was Austin Yarbrough that took over the top spot early on lap 3. The first caution flew on lap 10 for a single car incident, which set up a lap 15 restart and an 85-lap green flag run to the checkered flag.
After the restart, Yarbrough jumped back out ahead but would quickly face some pressure from behind as a trio of cars were making their way to the front. Ty Majeski was the first car to get there and made his move under Yarbrough for the lead on lap 22, and he brought James Linkiewicz and Spearman with him into the top three. Those three cars quickly began separating themselves from the rest of the field as Majeski’s lead stretched out to 1.3 seconds ahead by lap 50, while the gap back to 4th had climbed to over 5 seconds.
As the run continued, Majeski was on cruise control out front, extending the gap even further out to over 2 seconds, while lapping up to the 13th position. However on lap 69, some technical issues cut Majeski’s race short and forced him to drop out of the lead and the race, handing the lead over to Linkiewicz.
With a new leader out front, it meant a tighter battle for the lead as Spearman was lurking just a couple car lengths behind Linkiewicz for the top spot. But that fight didn’t last long as now Linkiewicz began to pull away out front as he expanded the gap out to over a second in a matter of just 8 laps.
With the race going green to the finish, and with Linkiewicz pulling away out front, he would easily lead the field to the checkered flag and came around to pick up the victory. He would lead 32 laps after Majeski’s misfortune, and Linkiewicz would pick up his 8th career SARA win.
Spearman ran right in the tire tracks of Linkiewicz for most of the race while running in the top three, but just didn’t have enough late in the race to challenge but would still finish in 2nd. Hunter Combs dropped back to 5th early in the race but was able to work his way back up to finish on the podium in 3rd. Joe Schaffer was another driver that dropped back a few positions early and then made his way forward during the long run as he climbed to finish 4th, while Darrell Hamlin rounded out the top five as he and Schaffer worked together to move up.
Just outside the top five, Derek Krause made his way up into a 6th place finish after having to start at the tail end of the field due to not getting a qualifying lap in. Yarbrough led laps early in the race and hung inside the top five for a while before ultimately dropping to a 7th place finish. Scott Dunlap had a solid night as he qualified just outside the top ten and ran right around that 10th spot all night before picking up a spot late to finish in 8th. Tyler Howell finished as the last car on the lead lap in 9th after leading the field to the green but fell back throughout the run. Russell Berry finished out the top ten as the first car a lap down.
After three races on the season, and after his victory, James Linkiewicz leads the standings by 10 points and will bring the field into the next pair of races with Double Features at Lanier this coming Wednesday.