While the focus for the RB Performance Super Late Model Series over the last few weeks of the season will be the championship battle, one driver spoiled the party on Thursday night as the division took on the Oxford Plains Speedway for a 125-lap feature event.
In Time Trials, it was James Linkiewicz that grabbed the pole with a lap of 14.240 seconds. However a 7-car invert sent him back while bringing Petie Madrid to the front of the pack. The top ten cars from Time Trials advanced to the Qualifying Dash to battle it out for bonus points, and Madrid led the field to the green but it took just two laps for Austin Yarbrough to get under him and Yarbrough went on to pick up the Dash victory.
For the 125-lap feature event, Madrid led the field back to the green flag and got the quick jump into the lead. Much like the Dash however, Yarbrough was able to put the pressure on early for the race lead. The entire field was able to settle in single file early during the run, which led to a 70 lap green flag run to start the race, and it allowed everyone to ride early in the race, saving their stuff for the end.
Madrid was able to open the gap up front out to about five car lengths in the opening laps before Yarbrough chased him back down, and Yarbrough was able to make his move into the top spot once Madrid left the door open on lap 10. That door stayed open for a while as Madrid would slide back through the top ten on the outside.
As the green flag run continued, the top four cars started to separate themselves from the rest of the field, with Yarbrough continuing to lead the charge. The third place points runner, Camaron Hamilton, moved up into the 2nd position and rode within just two-tenths of a second of the leader for the first 30 laps of the run. James Linkiewicz moved up into the 3rd spot ahead of second place points runner Ty Spearman, but Spearman would eventually get by to move up, half way through the opening run.
By lap 50, the top four cars began to space out a bit as they worked through lapped traffic, and Yarbrough built himself a half-second lead that continued to grow. Behind the top four, another four car battle began shaping up as the points leader David Krikorian, Matt Rolfe, and Windell Stratton each looked for a way by Derek Kraus who had fallen off the pace but was able to hold his position until Krikorian finally got by just after lap 50.
A caution on lap 70 bunched the field back up for the race’s only restart of the night, and it would shake things up as the drivers in the inside lane would have the advantage. On the restart, Yarbrough jumped back out into the lead, but Ty Spearman was able to slide up into 2nd up the inside, and Krikorian was able to follow him up as well into 3rd. This dropped the outside line back as Linkiewicz had to settle back into 4th, with Hamilton dropping back into 5th before he was able to fall in line.
By the time the top five had sorted things out, Yarbrough was out front by .7 seconds already, and it was a lead that continued to grow over the course of the race. The second green flag run of the night carried on until lap 120, and the final caution sealed the deal for Yarbrough as he had built his lead out to 1.3 seconds, but was able to coast around to the victory under the checkered and yellow flags. Yarbrough led 116 laps on the night, to pick up his first Super Late Model win, and the 2nd victory of his career.
After Spearman moved up into the second spot, he was able to maintain his position for the rest of the race, but had to hold off David Krikorian for the 2nd spot over the final 40 laps as they ran nose-to-tail. Spearman finished in 2nd, while Krikorian settled for 3rd after picking his way up towards the front after dropping back to 9th early in the race. A battle for 4th was the cause of the late caution, that collected a couple of the cars battling around the top five. This allowed Tim Bills to move up into a 4th place finish despite getting collected in the incident, but he was able to make it to the finish after having to come from the back of the field. Ian Layne also benefitted from the late caution to pick up a 5th place finish, after starting near the front of the field but ran in the back half of the top ten before moving up late.
Just outside the top five, Hamilton ended up with a 6th place finish after running in the top five for most of the race before slipping back late. Jake Poulin made his first SARA start in nearly two years, and had a quiet night running outside the top ten for a majority of the race, before moving up late and gaining some spots on the late caution to finish in 7th. Russell Berry also ran outside the top ten for most of the night before picking up spots late to finish 8th. Linkiewicz was a part of the lap 120 caution which dropped him back to a 9th place finish, but had a top five car until the incident. Madrid rounded out the top ten after he led laps early in the race, but slipped back throughout the run before picking up the 10th place finish.
With his 3rd place finish, David Krikorian hangs onto the points lead, but the gap shrinks down ever so slightly to just 6 points as Spearman was able to pick up a point over him. The division will head to Martinsville next week for their final Triple Crown event of the season.
Super Late Model Division Page