Bill Martin Fends Off The Field at Phoenix


The NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series traveled out to the desert on Monday night when they took on the Phoenix International Raceway for a 75-lap feature event.

The night got started with Bill Martin setting the fast lap in time trials, as the only car to break into the 29.5 second bracket and picked up his 32nd career pole. The top ten cars from Time Trials were sent into the Qualifying Dash and an 8 car invert dropped Martin back while Hunter Combs was inverted to the front. Combs jumped out to the lead early, and held off Matt Rolfe over the final couple laps to pick up the Dash victory.

Combs led the field to the green flag of the feature as well, but it was Rolfe that made the move into the lead by lap one. The two drivers swapped the lead two more times, before Rolfe got the advantage on lap 3. From there, Rolfe would continue to lead up until lap 25 when Martin had made his charge to the front and made his move to the inside to grab the lead. Martin looked strong out front, holding off attempts by Derek Robinson and Ty Spearman, and with some timely cautions Martin was able to hang onto the lead and went on to take the checkered flag, for his 2nd win of the season and his 29th career SARA victory.

Spearman would end up finishing in the 2nd spot on the night after he looked to have a strong car early before being involved in an incident, but was still able to recover and was looking to make a pass on the leader late before the final caution. After dropping back early, Combs would make a pit stop prior to halfway and was able to pick his way back up to finish 3rd. Clay Snider wouldn’t get a qualifying lap in forcing him to start at the back, and he was able to work his way inside the top five by lap 30 and stayed up there to finish 4th. Ian Layne rounded out the top five after having a quiet night battling for the 10th position before moving up late to take 5th.

Just outside the top five, Anthony Celentano would take 6th after he had an extremely up-and-down night, running as high as 2nd before fighting a loose condition that dropped him out of the top ten before working his way back up. Ryan Borges gave up a top three spot with less than 25 laps to go to take tires, but was caught up in an incident on his way back up through that halted his progress to just a 7th place finish. Cameron Hobbs also had an up-and-down night, but was able to work back into the top ten for an 8th place finish. Dale Owen would salvage a 9th place finish, after ending up on his roof after a very early race incident, but recovered to work his way back up, finishing just ahead of Patrick Hahe who also shuffled throughout the top ten before receiving some damage before settling for 10th.

After 7 races on the season and his 2nd victory, Bill Martin extends his points lead in the standings and will lead the series into the off-week, before they resume at Stafford the week after Thanksgiving.