The South Boston Speedway played host to the Callaway Investments Sportsman Street Stock Series season finale for a 125-lap race, and it was also the final race of the Old Dominion Swing to close the season. Tommy Burns entered the night with a 26-point lead over Ty Spearman with Spearman coming off back to back wins.
In qualifying, it was Tim Bills who edged out James Linkiewicz and Spearman for the pole. However, a seven-car invert would shake up the field putting Travis Warling up front for the Dash and the race. In the Qualifying Dash, Travis Warling led early but Matt Rolfe claimed the extra bonus points to win the Qualifying Dash after passing Warling coming to the white flag of the 12-lap shootout.
To beat Burns for the title, Spearman had to not only overcome the point deficit but after winning the last two races, he had to start from the rear of the field. At the drop of the green flag, Warling led the field with points leader Burns starting in 2nd. Warling led the opening 35 laps and the field through the first couple cautions until on a lap 36 restart, some contact amongst the leaders caused Warling to go around in front of the field, causing a stack up as Burns went to the lead.
Burns would lead the field through a 20-lap green flag run until a caution flew on lap 52. At this point Spearman had moved his way through the field into the 2nd position, and on the lap 57 restart, Spearman overtook Burns for the race lead. The race would then go under a 50-lap green flag run, as Spearman’s lead grew and grew all run long. By lap 100, Jacob Linkiewicz had moved into the second spot around Burns, but they were 3.5 seconds behind Spearman who looked like he was in cruise control to his third victory in a row. However, the long green flag run was interrupted short of the finish with a caution on lap 111.
With tires available to the drivers, a mixed bag of strategy shook up the running order as the race would resume with just 8 laps to go. Burns and James Linkiewicz stayed out on old tires, while Jacob Linkiewicz slipped to 3rd, Cody Erdmann moved from 7th to 4th, and Rolfe now was in the fifth spot after each coming down pit road for fresh rubber. The big loser was Spearman, who was dominating prior to the caution, and cycled out after pit stops in 6th.
With fresh tires surrounding him on the lap 117 restart, Burns led the field back to green. There was plenty of beating and banging, two and three wide racing, but a near incident at the front allowed Cody Erdmann to slip by for the race lead on lap 119 with Rolfe in hot pursuit as well as Spearman who followed him through.
Erdmann held a sixth tenths of a second lead with five laps to go, but Rolfe ran some of his fastest laps of the race in the closing laps and got to Erdmann on lap 122. Rolfe started to work to the inside with three laps left, as the two drivers now ran side by side for the next lap, and Rolfe edged Erdmann at the line by 0.014 seconds coming to the white flag. Spearman attempted to put the bumper to Rolfe entering turn one, but Rolfe held on as he and Erdmann drag raced down the back stretch.
Rolfe’s momentum on the bottom was too much for Erdmann as he was able to come out of turn four and came around to pick up the checkered flag, to win his first SARA race in over a year. This was Rolfe’s first SARA victory since a January 2015 Street Stock race at New Smyrna.
Behind Rolfe for the race victory was Erdmann, who seemingly came out of nowhere after losing a lap early and taking just two tires on the late caution, to lead 5 of the final 7 laps to get a 2nd place finish. Spearman, after dominating the middle portions came up just shy in the race with a third place run. Clay Snider ran in the back half of the top 10 for most of the night but surged to a 4th place finish during the late stages. Colin Allman ran outside the top 10 before the final yellow, and was able to work his way up to a 5th place finish in the closing laps.
Outside the top 5, James Linkiewicz restarted in 2nd on the final restart, but some contact forced him back to a 6th place finish. After staying out on old tires, Burns slid back to finish in the 7th spot despite being a top three car for most of the race. Jacob Linkiewicz was also shuffled back on the last restart after moving into 2nd place on the long green flag run, and found himself in 8th at the finish. Scott Bell started 9th, and seemed to run in the 9th spot for the majority of the night, and wound up finishing in that spot. Ian Layne started at the back, moved into contention for top 5 before halfway, then got shuffled back and rounded out the top 10.
With Spearman finishing in 2nd, and Burns back in the 7th spots, the driver would have to wait it out as officials calculated the final points. Once the numbers were final, Burns came out on top by 17 points, to be crowned the new Street Stock champion.
Tommy Burns’ championship run consisted of 2 wins, 10 top fives, 12 top tens, and 142 laps led on his way to his first career SARA title.
In addition to the overall championship, Burns’ impressive season also earned him the Rookie of the Season honors, scoring a perfect 80 out of a possible 80 points in the rookie standings during his first full season in the Street Stocks.
Despite not picking up any poles, Burns also showed that he could qualify well enough to pick up 19 Qualifying Dash bonus points as he also won the Qualifying Dash title.
In the final Old Dominion Swing Standings, Ty Spearman compiled a finishing total of 8 during the four-race Swing to earn some extra bonus points. Earlier in the season, Tommy Burns won the New England and Tar Heel Swings, while Hunter Combs picked up the win in the Florida Swing.