The NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series visited home of the SK Modifieds, the Stafford Motor Speedway, on Monday for a 100 lap feature event on the relatively flat 1/2 mile located in Connecticut. Darik Bourdeau made his first career SARA start and made it count as he battled it out with Tyler Hudson during the second half of the race, and went on to pick up first career SARA victory.
Bourdeau started off the morning qualifying session by jumping to the top of the speed charts with a lap of 18.605 to grab the pole. A 7-car invert however would drop him back into the pack for the start of the feature event. It took just 16 laps for Bourdeau to reach the top three, and from there he looked content to ride in the 3rd position throughout the first half of the race.
A lap 49 restart shook things up a bit though, as leader James Linkiewicz got the jump out in front of the field, but just two laps later Linkiewicz was fighting a very loose race car. Linkiewicz exited turn four on lap 52 and broke loose on corner exit, resulting in contact between himself and Hudson who ran in 2nd, sending both cars around for a spin in front of the field. Linkiewicz was unable to continue on, while Hudson was able to retain his position up in 2nd, but it was Bourdeau who snuck through and took over the race lead on lap 52.
Bourdeau led the field back to the restart on lap 57, on what would be the final restart of the race as the field settled in on a 43-lap green flag run to the finish. Hudson made his move into the lead on lap 61 for a few laps, but Bourdeau fought back and retook it just three laps later. From there, Bourdeau would go on to hold off Hudson and a charging Camaron Hamilton, and came around to take the checkered flag, leading 46 laps and winning in his first league start.
Behind Bourdeau, Tyler Hudson brought his car around to finish 2nd. Hudson start on the front row for the feature and hung inside the top three all race long. Despite some damage from the mid-race caution, he was able to battle up front for the win, before settling into a 2nd place finish.
One of the top Super Late Model contenders this season, Camaron Hamilton made his first career SK Modified start and put together a solid outing. After starting in the back half of the top ten, Hamilton was able to charge to the back bumper of the top two cars during the long green flag run, but was unable to make a move and ended up with a spot on the podium in 3rd.
Andy Shuck seemed to battle right around the 5th position for most of his night. After moving in and out of the top five a few times during the course of the race, Shuck finally settled into the 4th spot during the final run. Although his lap times matched the leaders during the late stages of the race, Shuck was never able to close the gap and wound up with a 4th place run.
Derek Robinson made his return to the league and rounded out the top five in his first start of the season. Robinson started back in the 17th position before climbing into the top ten during the first half of the race. The mid-race caution allowed him to gain some spots into the top five, where Robinson was able to hang on for a 5th place finish.
Samuel Roush, Jason Miller, and Bradley Haveard each started outside the top ten, and the trio of newcomers were able to avoid any major incidents as they worked their way towards the front and ended up with 6th, 7th, and 8th place finishes respectively. Clay Snider recovered from a spin on lap 27, and worked his way forward up to a 9th place finish. Another newcomer Alan Pajari rounded out the top ten after running outside of it for much of the race, before picking up a spot on the final lap to take 10th.
As the division leaves the Stafford Motor Speedway, two drivers that didn’t make any noise were the two points leaders as Ty Majeski was unable to get to the track, and the mid-race incident ended Bill Martin’s chance at a strong finish. But with Majeski missing the event, Martin was able to make up a sizable amount of points, and will head into next week’s season finale at South Boston with a 15 point lead over Majeski, and a 23 point lead over Ian Layne who lurks back in 3rd.