Saturday night at Dixie Speedway, it seemed as though a familiar story was playing out in Woodstock, Georgia, as home state driver Michael Page was on his way to yet another triumph on the red clay. However, fellow statesman Casey Roberts had other ideas, seizing an opportunity in lapped traffic to make the race-winning move in the 40-lap ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series feature.
After patiently moving to the lead in the first half of the race, Page left the field in his dust initially on a Lap 21 restart, but five laps later as lapped cars were hampering his progress, Page got pinched down on the inside multiple times over a couple of laps, allowing Roberts to close the gap.
Then, coming off turn four to complete Lap 28, Page got his No. 18x pinched down once more, costing valuable momentum. Page drifted up to defend against Roberts, but Roberts maneuvered the No. 101 to the bottom, getting to Page’s inside while splitting the lapped car.
A half lap later, Roberts took the lead for good off of turn two.
In victory lane, Roberts talked about how he was finally able to get an opportunity to close out hist first ULTIMATE race win of the 2019 season.
“It’s great to be here. We’ve been running good this year, and I felt like I let one or two get away,” Roberts said. “Any time you can outrun Michael here, you know you’ve done some good work, he’s awesome here. Kind of snuck up on him there in lap traffic, that’s the only way we got by him there. But we were able to keep pace with him. I saw an opening, and it worked out.”
Saturday’s win also came with a little extra satisfaction, as Roberts had finished runner-up the night before at Laurens County Speedway (SC).
“It was our night. After last night, I felt like we had a good chance to win there, so it’s good to get a win. It’s what we do this for, and we’ve been running pretty good.”
While the near miss for Page was certainly disappointing, he was still pleased with the gains his team made from the heat of the day to the dark of night for race time.
“Yeah, I just missed my mark and it just hung getting in there,” Page stated. “I thought I heard him. But, it was a good, fun race. Lapped traffic was making it a little difficult at times, you’d lose your front end, and hang. But it was fun. I gave it everything I could, I gained way better from the beginning of the night, and I had a good time, it was fun.”
Chris Madden rounded out the podium, despite not having the car to deal with the race track conditions on the night. Despite a charge through the field, Madden knew that dealing with the two home-state guys would have been a truly tricky task.
“We just dealt with what the race track dealt us with,” Madden said. “If it was 50 laps it would’ve been the same, one lane there, and it is what it is. We needed a caution there and I think we could’ve had a win. But, I’m pleased with all the hard work and support each and every one of our supporters.”
Polesitter and local ace Justin Shipley came home in fourth, followed closely by current Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points leader Jonathan Davenport, who completd the top five.
The ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series returns to action on Saturday, May 17 at Modoc Speedway in South Carolina.
Race fans can watch full video highlights on the Speed51 Network by clicking here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com