On Tuesday evening, the Callway Investments Sportsman Street Stock Series traveled to Lakeland, Florida for their season opening event at the USA International Speedway. The first event in the “Florida Swing” ran for 75 laps, with a Street Stock record of 38 cars that attempted to qualify for the race.
In Time Trials, Hunter Combs bested the field with a lap of 23.142 seconds to set a new track record. The top 10 cars advanced into the Qualifying Dash, and a 9-car invert brought Tommy Burns to the front while Combs was inverted back in the pack. Burns had no issues in the Dash and went on to lead every lap to grab the Dash victory. Only the top 25 cars from Time Trials made the field based on times, with a couple provisionals handed out to make a grid of just 29 cars, sending 9 cars home early.
In the feature, Burns once again led the field to the green flag and jumped out to the lead, but the pace of the race was slowed early and often throughout the race. During the first half of the night, Burns continued to lead out front while Parker Traves, Tim Bills, Darrell Hamlin and Hunter Combs battled within the top five behind him. Just past halfway, Combs was able to work up to the 2nd spot just prior to Traves and Bills getting together behind him to bring out a caution, and positions within the top five got shuffled up as a result. With Combs back near the front, he put pressure on Burns for the lead out front, but couldn’t find his way around the leader in the closing laps. Burns came around on the final lap to take the checkered flag and grabbed the victory, leading all 75 laps en route to picking up his first career SARA win in just his 3rd career start.
Combs came up just one spot short on his charge back to the front after the 9-car invert, and settled for a 2nd place finish. Matt Rolfe hung around inside the top ten all race long and worked his way up onto the podium with a 3rd place finish. Tom Wetmore was one of the few drivers near the front of the field that took new tires during the race and was able to charge back up to 4th. Rounding out the top five was Kevin J Myers, who despite was caught up in an early wreck and had front end damage, ended up taking a 5th place finish.
Just outside the top five, Scott Bell was able to charge his way through the field twice throughout the race after starting back in 20th to finish in 6th. Mike Rhyno had a quietly strong run as he battled within the top ten all race long before settling into a 7th place finish. Ian Layne was able to recover from a mid-race wreck to work back up inside the top ten to finish in 8th. Scott Dunlap needed a provisional to make the field and started back in 29th before climbing through the field to finish 9th. Kyle Wood also had to come from deep in the field after getting caught up in a couple incidents before recovering to finish 10th.
After the first event of the season, Tommy Burns holds the top spot in the points standings after his win, and will carry a 3 point lead into next week’s race at New Smyrna.