Augie Grill only led one lap during Saturday night’s Show Me the Money Series Pro Late Model 100 feature at Montgomery Motor Speedway, but one is all he needed.
As the white flag waved for the rest of the field, Grill was already side-by-side with leader John Bolen into turn one. The battle continued out of turn two and down the backstretch as Grill set himself up for a last-ditch pass.
The Alabama crowd roared louder than the engines as Grill dove to the inside of Bolen, stealing the lead and the victory as he exited turn four to take the checkered flag.
“Hard racing is fun,” Grill said. “You’re not in it to try to wreck somebody, you’re just trying to get the position. I haven’t won a race in a while and they’re getting harder to come by. I was going to try a little extra effort to get there at the end and had to nudge [John Bolen] a little bit, but raced him clean from there.”
Even more impressive than his final lap were the previous 99, where Grill had to work his way back up through the field after a punctured tire brought the No. 112 machine to pit road.
“We had a right-front tire going down,” Grill said. “I thought before the restart it felt kind of funny. I got [Perry Patino] to pull up beside me and he said it looked fine, but running off in the first corner it wouldn’t turn. It about hit the wall, so I knew something was wrong and luckily we got a caution and I was able to change it.”
A flat tire would be considered misfortune to most, but Grill contributed his win to the unlucky turn of events.
“Hats off to John Bolen,” Grill said. “He ran a smart race, saved his tires, and if we hadn’t had a right-front tire I wouldn’t have been able to pass. I definitely didn’t have the best car tonight, but circumstances sometimes fall in your lap.”
Despite losing the lead through the final turn, John Bolen was in good spirits as he gave a congratulatory handshake to Grill in victory lane.
“I’m just glad to be back and racing a little bit,” Bolen said. “It’s fun when you know you’re racing someone that’s not just going run through you and you know that a nudge is all you’re going to get, that they’re not going to take it any further. It makes it fun.”
Third-place finisher Justin South gave props to Bolen, who was able to keep the No. 43 machine in his rearview mirror as the laps wound down. South, like Grill, also had tire issues.
“John Bolen did a hell of a job driving that two car,” South said. “He held me off for 30 laps and I had two [newer] tires, so I’m really proud of him.”
South also expressed admiration for Grill, relating to his struggles of working his way back up through the field after a flat tire.
“Proud of Augie because he had to come up through there, too,” South said. “Everyone is in one piece, so that’s the important thing. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks.”
Jackson Boone and Ryan Herbert rounded out the top five. After dominating the early portion of the race, defending Show Me the Money Series champion Casey Roderick was sidelined at lap 71 due to a broken left-front control arm.
-Story by Melissa Strahley, Speed51.com Gulf Coast Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Show Me the Money Series
|13||30||Bobby Knox Jr.|