SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — official series release by Evan Posocco —
The iCARS Super Late Model Tour hit the track under the lights in South Boston, Va. on Sunday night for The Showdown 200 to officially beginning the series’ inaugural racing campaign.
At the end of the night, Justin Brooks was the driver who was able to celebrate, taking home the first-ever iCARS SLM checkered flag by winning the 200-lap affair at South Boston Speedway.
After a random.org calculation and a field inversion, the car on point for the green flag was the man who just happened to be fastest in practice, the No. 37 STP Dodge Charger. The top four were single file by the time the field put lap number one in the books, while an aggressive two wide fight three rows deep marked positions five through ten out of the gates.
The outside proved to be extremely costly in the laps off of the multiple restarts for many small, and a few large incidents stemming from the close quarters racing, where drivers would drop anywhere from one to six spots in a few moments’ notice once somebody got a nose to the inside.
Many big names struggled through the evening, which — without any quick fixes available to the drivers — proved to be very demanding on the crews with some of the extensive damage they had suffered from on track contact, leaving only six cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag and only eight on track actively turning laps. Names like Ben Nile, Karson Aube, and Derek Holzhausen ended on the hook after entering the evening with such high hopes.
The event was not a night of racing that was dominated by one driver. The No. 15 of Matt Rolfe, who was driving his SLM which was actually scanned by iRacing out of his own family’s race team, had a good run in the top 10, reaching the top three for a little while before finishing the night in ninth — 22 laps down.
The opening quarter was all the No. 37 of Tim Bills, who was able to use the advantage of being the control car to get out in front of heavy traffic on restarts, however relinquished that position on one of multiple fuel only stops, allowing the No. 87 of Derek Holzhausen to lead the field ahead of Rolfe at lap 67. Pit stops every few cautions for additional fuel would hand the lead back to Tim Bills, who was overtaken easily by Justin Brooks just past halfway, giving the No. 33 Wheelin’ n Deelin’ entry his first lead of the night.
Another car that made some noise was the No. 35 of Kevin Walker in the Childhood Cancer Canada entry, who had a night very similar to that of Matt Rolfe. He was in the top five almost all night before having to limp home for a sixth-place result, but had times where he would mix it up with the frontrunners — he just did not quite have the car to compete with Brooks or Bills.
Holzhasen would return to the top spot late in the race, after that team elected to take one four tire stop to use their limited Hoosier tires. It was the call of the night though for teammates Brooks and Cody Kelly, who followed each other through the field all night long, taking two tires early and leaving two more in the stalls to pop on with 25 to go.
That was the move which gave them the upper hand late. Brooks would easily get around Holzhausen and survived a last second push by teammate Cody Kelly to hang on and win The Showdown 200 at South Boston.
“[The win tonight] involved pit strategy,” said Brooks, who had practiced throughout the night and made some late race changes to get competitive with Holzhausen. “[Derek] was faster than me throughout the night, [but at the end], our car was smoking [fast].”
Parker came home second, only two tenths off of Brooks when the checkered flag flew.
“I was going to take 4 tires in the middle of the race, but Brooks convinced me to take two and we could get two later in the race… and it worked out…” said Parker. “If I could have gotten a little closer to him (Brooks) I would have put the bumper to him,… but he raced me clean all the time so, I held serve and didn’t rough him up.”
Derek Holzhausen would snag the final spot on the podium, and said on pit road that “a podium finish behind Justin and Cody, behind those guys, is always a good night.”
While Holzhausen recognized the strategy call they made was the right one, he said he would learn from that going into the next event, learn from what worked and didn’t, and go into Indianapolis focused on getting a lot of practice in beforehand.
The iCARS season, which features 10 races (9 remaining) will resume on May 31 with the Spring Brawl 125 from the Lucas Oil Raceway (6:00 p.m. Eastern on LSRTV).
For more information on the iCARS Tour, visit the series website at www.icarstour.com.
CREDIT: iCARS Tour
RESULTS: iCARS Super Late Models; South Boston Speedway; The Showdown 200; April 26, 2015
- Justin Brooks
- Cody Kelly
- Derek Holzhausen
- Tim Bills
- Steven Burnett
- Kevin Walker
- John Milwain
- Paul Fugate
- Matt Rolfe
- Derek Gress
- Ben Nile
- Demarco Starks
- Ray Farlow
- Raphael Lessard
- Cody Dunn
- Ricky LaDuke
- Karson Aube
- Kyle Holzhausen
- Denny Clark