The NEO Racing News SK Shootout Series rolled into “The Last Great Colosseum” this past Monday night as the division took on the Bristol Motor Speedway for a pair of 50 lap feature events.
Ty Majeski started off the night by setting a new track record in Time Trials as he picked up his 63rd career SARA pole for the first event. Majeski led the field to the green for race number one, but Bill Martin was keeping the pressure on early running just a car length behind the leader.
Only a pair of cautions slowed the pace of race one, it allowed Majeski to control things up front. He was able to get the jump on both the lap 13 restart where again Martin was trailing close behind. But it was after the lap 30 restart where Majeski began to pull away slightly, extending the gap to a handful of car lengths for the first time, but Martin was never able to close back in as the first 50 lap event went by very quickly.
Majeski went on to pick up the victory, the 61st of his career, as he went on to win by just over a half-second. Martin came up just short in the 2nd position. Matt Eddy and Matt Rolfe battled for the last spot on the podium for most of the race, before Eddy gained the advantage late to finish 3rd, while Rolfe finished in 4th. Dale Owen finished in the 5th spot which is where he ran for the entire event.
For the second feature event on the night, the lead lap cars from the first race would be inverted, resulting in a 9-car invert as the field rolled off under the lights. The invert brought Eric Block to the point where he led the field to the green in the second 50-lap feature, but it was James Wenzel that quickly made his move to the top spot on lap 2, just prior to the first caution.
After the restart, Wenzel jumped ahead into the lead once again while Derek Kraus and Matt Eddy worked their way into the top three. As the race stayed green nearly to the end, the top three cars raced single file up front while the leaders from the first event were trying to get back to the front after the invert. Majeski and Martin moved up into the top five prior to halfway and looked to chase down the front runners.
As Wenzel and the others in the top three continued to run fast laps up front, it took a while before Majeski and Martin finally reached them, and by that time the laps were closing in on just five laps to go. As Majeski tried to find away around Eddy for 3rd, the two cars made contact sending both cars around, bringing out the final caution of the race, and the event would end under the yellow flag.
The caution sealed the deal for Wenzel as he took full advantage of the invert to start up front, and led 49 laps of the race on the way to his first career SARA victory. Kraus moved up into 2nd early in the race and ran there all night to finish 2nd. Martin moved up to 3rd after the late incident to finish on the podium, while Matt Rolfe and Ian Layne rounded out the top five.
After nine events so far in the season, Majeski leaves Bristol as the points leader, just one point over Dale Owen in the standings. The SK division will take a two weeks off from regular competition, but will take on the USA International Speedway next week as a part of the Spring Shootout Big 3 event. While Majeski will miss the event, Dale Owen will lead the division regulars into next week’s race.