The Pro Late Model portion of the SRL All-Star Showdown was shaping up to be a barnburner between two former Kulwicki Driver Development Program drivers during the closing laps Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway. However, that barnburner turned into controversy when a lapped car blocked the way for the leaders on the 1/3-mile inner oval at Irwindale Speedway (CA).
With two laps to go, Jeremy Doss and Cole Williams were even entering turn one when the No. 16 of Kyle Gottula slowed on the inside, just above the white line marking the track apron. As the leaders entered turn one, Williams took his No. 21 up high and backed off, trying to avoid a collision but turned Doss’ No. 35 in the process.
To the surprise of many, the race stayed green despite the chaos, with Williams crossing the line first to take the $10,000 victory. In his victory lane interview, an ecstatic Williams was also apologetic to his opponent.
“I apologize to Jeremy. I don’t know what the lapped car was doing,” Williams said. “They kept saying, ‘Pull down, pull down.’ Last second he decided to stay on the track. So, I apologize. Jeremy and I have raced together many years, and I don’t like racing like that. I even backed out thinking the caution was coming out and they stayed under green, so we kept on going,.
“I respect the hell out of Jeremy; he’s a heck of a racer. We both were in the Kulwicki Program together. It’s a shame, I thought it was going to be a really good race for the two of us at the end there.”
When approached by Speed51, Doss declined to comment after the race.
Williams was proud to take the No. 21 ride to victory lane, a ride that had just come together in the past few days.
“I got to thank my dad and everyone at home watching. It was a last second deal we weren’t expecting. I got a call last second to do this saying everything’s paid for, come on down and drive this thing. I wanted to make sure I performed, we had a really fast race car; they worked their tails off all weekend.”
In a chaotic final two laps, Williams got up to speed before Mike Beiler could catch him for the lead. Beiler would retain the runner-up spot at the finish. Robby Hornsby, Lucas McNeil, and Kyle Meyer completed the top five.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51