Last night, the Les Enterprises MP Roy Inc. Upstate Racing League Pro Late Model Series rolled into the Richmond International Raceway for race 7 of 16 on the 2016-17 series schedule, the Eddie’s Meat Market 100. Along with it being a normal points race for the URL, it also was a special event as it was the inaugural URL Throwback Race! Many of the cars and stars were decked out in past paint schemes, whether it be their own throwback, or a throwback paying tribute to an old racecar. Let’s jump into the action!
VTFantasyRacing.com Race Recap:
It was clear in qualifying that we were in for a wild night, as a handful of cars had struggles due to a loose setup and track conditions in turns one and two. One driver who had no issues in qualifying was the 51 machine, driven by none other than Ol’ Three Time, Justin Fuller. For the 3rd time this season, Mr. Three Time grabbed the NHR Pole Award. The first two times he started from the pole this season he ended the night in victory lane, would he be able to make it three?
On the initial start, Fuller would grab the earlier lead and jump out to a sizeable advantage with Dale O’Neil, Jay Dee Callahan, and the 18 of AJ Hamel in hot pursuit. The first caution would fly on lap 7, as the 99 HAAG TV Ford Fusion driven by Erik Haag would be sent for the spin cycle. On the ensuing restart, Fuller would maintain control of the field until the caution flew on lap 17 for another incident involving Erik Haag. Erik came into Richmond hot off of a top 5 finish at Irwindale, but the early spin and second incident would end his night and relegate him to a 23rd place effort.
The green flag would fly again with 89 laps remaining and to no one’s surprise Justin Fuller would jump back out to the lead. A new player would come into the mix on this restart though, as the 25 Flash Ford driven driven by Stefan Marinak would move into the 4th position with a pass of AJ Hamel. The race would stay green until 63 laps to go, with Fuller leading and O’Neil hounding him for the top spot. Stefan Marinak would move himself into the 3rd position on this run with the HAAG TV Hard Charger Award winner and eventual race winner Charlie Ryan moving into the 4th position. Under this caution a few drivers would elect to play some strategy and take their allotted four tires a little bit before the rest of the field. One of those drivers was the race leader Justin Fuller and as result Dale O’Neil would inherit the lead.
O’Neil would lead the field back to green on lap 43 of 100 and would be chased by Stefan Marinak and Charlie Ryan. The caution would fly quickly though, as the number 2 Miller Lite Ford driven by CJ LaVair would go for a spin. This would bring majority of the field down pit road to take their tires, and a select few would elect to stay out again in hopes of having fresher tires later in the race. Stefan Marinak would lead the field back to green with Nein Shiza Autosport Rookie of the Year Contender Jason Stehney to his outside and Justin Fuller and Justin MacDuff in row two. Marinak would lead until the final caution of the race would fly with 41 laps to go. This caution was big for the drivers who elected to stay out previously because they now would have the freshest tires for the last run of the race.
The final restart of the race would come with 36 to go with Justin Fuller leading the field back to green. The first few laps of the run would see Dale O’Neil hounding Justin Fuller for the top spot. It wouldn’t take long though for Charlie Ryan to make a move and grab the runner up spot from O’Neil. With 30 laps to go, the top 5 began to separate themselves with Fuller leading, followed by Ryan, O’Neil, Oddo, and Rasmussen. Marinak was running 6th, and he would close in on the battle between 3rd through 5th as the laps ticked down to the 20 to go mark. Fuller and Ryan would separate themselves with Ryan following Fuller right in his tire tracks. The racing among the top six drivers was intense, as slight contact between the 16 and 24 machines would send Oddo outside of the top five with 14 to go.
The stage was set for a crazy finish as the racing inside the top 5 continued to intensify. As we moved inside the 10 to go mark, Fuller had opened a slight gap over 2nd place Charlie Ryan, while a fierce battle for 3rd ensued between O’Neil, Rasmussen, and Marinak for positions 3rd-5th. With 7 to go, Marinak would finally win the three car battle and grab the 3rd position and set his sights on the top two drivers. But, everything was getting ready to change. The drivers who did their homework got rewarded, as with 5 laps to go many drivers began to run out of fuel as a result of not putting any fuel in the car when they came in for tires. On the last lap Justin Fuller appeared to be in control until he made a rare mistake entering turn one. Turns one and two were a problem area all night for many drivers, and Fuller was no exception. Fuller’s slide opened the door for both Charlie Ryan and Stefan Marinak to have a shot for the win as all three drivers went into turn three for the final time. With all three refusing to lose and give each other an inch, contact was made which sent Justin Fuller spinning and saw a drag race to the line between Marinak and Ryan, with Ryan grabbing the win narrowly over a sideways spinning Stefan Marinak!
Charlie Ryan is the Champion of the Eddie’s Meat Market 100, followed by Stefan Marinak, Nicklas Rasmussen, AJ Hamel, and CJ LaVair in the top five. The Nein Shiza Autosport Rookie of the Race award went to Alex Orians and the HAAG TV Hard Charger Award went to race winner Charlie Ryan (18th to 1st). Nicklas Rasmussen regains control of the top spot in the points standings, followed by Justin Fuller (-7), and Stefan Marinak (-31) in the top 3. With three races remaining before the Chase, AJ Bunch currently holds the final transfer spot in a tie breaker (highest finish) over 13th place Justin MacDuff in the Tents of Champlain Points Standings.
Next week, the series heads to the South Boston Speedway for the Brian Rogers Motorsports 100! Coverage begins at 9:30PM on LSRTV. Be sure to have your friends and family tune in! Check the website and Facebook page often for news and updates regarding the league, and we’ll see you at the track!
CKF Construction Official Results:
Eddies Meat Market 100, Richmond International Raceway: 1. CHARLIE RYAN, 2. Stefan Marinak, 3. Nicklas Rasmussen, 4. AJ Hamel, 5. CJ LaVair, 6. AJ Bunch, 7. Brian Rogers Jr., 8. Cale Frennier, 9. John Ada, 10. Alex Orians (R), 11. Shawn Cool (R), 12. Brandon Oddo, 13. Justin Fuller (-1), 14. Dale O’Neil (-1), 15. Jay Dubuque (-1), 16. Al Smith Jr. (-1), 17. Jason Stehney (R)(-1), 18. Justin MacDuff, 19. Travis Wallace (R)(-1), 20. Jay Dee Callahan (R)(-2), 21. James McIntyre Jr. (R)(-4), 22. Eric Spencer (R)(-14), 23. Erik Haag (-82), 24. Nate Anderson (R)(-100)
Provisionals (15 points): Dan Dubuque, Mike Fortier (R), Rex Hoyle (R)