Patience was the winning difference for Upper Lake, California’s Jeremy Doss on Sunday afternoon. The third-place finisher in last year’s Montana 200 steadily ran in the top five all day and made his bid for the lead a successful one, passing Tayler Riddle with less than 25 laps to go at Montana Raceway Park.
“It was definitely tough; (Tayler Riddle) made me work for it,” Doss, the first driver from the Golden State to win the prestigious Super Late Model race, told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I felt like he was using his stuff up a little more than he needed to, where I was saving. You could tell his car was losing more and more drive off, and my car was coming in. It worked out for the best. I just have to thank the JD Motorsports crew for giving me a great car.”
The 26th annual event, which was rescheduled from Saturday night after severe storms passed through the Kalispell, Montana area, initially looked to be a show dominated by brothers Owen and Tayler Riddle from the onset. Owen Riddle, who led every lap in the 2015 running, went mainly uncontested for the first 70 circuits.
After that point, the direction of the race’s outcome would completely change. Northwest racing legend Garrett Evans climbed from the 13th position up to second, and began to challenge Owen Riddle for the top spot. On a restart, the two most recent Montana 200 champions made contact in turn three, sending both cars out of control.
With each driver having to return from the back of the pack, Owen Riddle’s day would come to an abrupt end a few laps later after involvement in a multi-car wreck.
Tayler Riddle and Doss would be the ones to capitalize on the misfortune of the leading competitors, and Tayler would set sail until the halfway break.
For the first 100 laps, Jeremy Doss fought a tight condition with his car, but the team got it to his liking over the 15-minute period given to teams to change tires and make approved alterations.
“When I got pinched down I couldn’t get the drive off,” Doss explained. “So we just made a minor adjustment and it fixed our problems.”
Tayler Riddle set the pace at the beginning of the second half, but it was noticeable that his machine was fading ever so slightly.
“I knew I was going to be pretty free there,” the recent Summer Showdown winner noted. “Thought I would be able to hold (Doss) off and I wanted to keep four or five car lengths on him. He slowly started catching me and the right rear kept going and going and going. All I could do was hang on from there. I just want to thank everyone for helping me.”
Evans made an incredible run from being mired in the back of the field after a couple pit stops to repair his car from the earlier contact and an ensuing flat tire, and was even able to pass Tayler Riddle to claim the second finishing position.
“We were free in and had to go and run the second groove and hope for the best,” the two-time and defending Northwest Super Late Model Series champion mentioned. “By when it was time to go I wasn’t any better than (Tayler Riddle) was, but we had a little bit more drive off once we got it pointed straight and we got by him. I didn’t have anything for (Doss).”
Additionally, Evans gave his vantage point on what had occurred earlier in the race with the altercation between him and Owen Riddle.
“I thought I had my nose in enough to where I was making his spotter let him know we were there, but that’s the way I see it,” Evans remarked. “Maybe that’s not the way it was, but that’s the way I felt it was. I don’t know if the spotter told him he was clear or what, but obviously I was there and we got together. My right front tire has marks on the side of his number.”
Owen Riddle was unavailable for comment as he and Braeden Havens were taken by their own crew members to the local hospital for further evaluation due to effects from the lap 77 hard impact. Blake Williams was also treated by track medical crew and transported after briefly losing consciousness prior to the race, and was forced to withdraw from the starting order. All three competitors were later released.
Former Montana 200 winner B.J. Tidrick overcame battery issues to move up to fourth in the final finishing order. Last chance qualifier winner from earlier in the day, Ryan Wells, charged to round out the top five in his home state event.
Doss’ 2016 season has certainly feature several achievements, including wins in Utah and California as well as a podium finish in the Winter Showdown, but the Montana 200 could arguably be considered the biggest of his young career.
“It’s a special one for sure. I really wanted to win this one. Hard work pays off.”
Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage can be seen by clicking here.
-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
26th Annual Montana 200 Results
1 3 75 Jeremy Doss 200
2 13 64E Garrett Evans 200
3 2 15 Tayler Riddle 200
4 5 09 B.J. Tidrick 200
5 19 5 Ryan Wells 200
6 6 27 Gracin Raz 200
7 22 20 Bodie Morton 199
8 20 46 John Newhouse 199
9 18 56 Tyler Corpron 199
10 21 33B Mike Behar 198
11 10 97 Jason Jefferson 197
12 8 09H Clint Habart 177
13 9 1 Agni Howell 166
14 12 48 Preston Peltier 148
15 15 99 Shane Mitchell 143
16 14 33 Nicole Behar 89
17 1 10 Owen Riddle 78
18 16 93 Dave Garber 78
19 7 83 Braeden Havens 78
20 11 64 Brock Denney 77
21 4 25 Zack Beaman 50
22 23 23 Brandon Sickler 40
23 24 2 Devin Clayton 34
24 17 1K Mitch Kleyn 15