Home track driver Tommy Kelly showed the drivers of the Brandon Ford Wheel Man Sportsman Series how to get it done Saturday Night at 4-17 Southern Speedway in Punta Gorda, Florida. Kelly qualified on the pole, drew a 13-car inversion, and then marched his way to the lead to secure the victory against championship contenders Patrick Thomas and Devon McLeod in the third race of the season.
“It feels great to finally get one of those Wheel Man wins,” Kelly told Speed51. “The car was fast. We qualified really good. I think it was a track record. We started thirteenth, got up there really quick and what can I say it was really good. I was trying to be careful. A couple of them spun in front of me and luckily I missed that. I was just trying to pick them off when I could as quickly as I could and it just worked out for us.”
“We had a great race car,” Thomas said. “We struggled in practice and put some tires on in the last session and really, really ran good. It probably cost us a little bit in qualifying but the car was really good in the race. I got kind of stuck back there for a while. I couldn’t get moving, bouncing off the backstretch fence like I typically like to do. Had a great race with several cars. Ended up coming home second. Just not enough for the home track guy.”
Journey man driver Devin McLeod finished third on the evening, a victory in itself for his team as they have struggled to overcome an early season slump.
“We’ve thrashed on this thing,” McLeod stated. “The car is not where we’ve wanted it to be. We did a lot more with an eighth or ninth-place car tonight to get it up to third. I’m proud of the effort my car owner Dale Lewis has put in along with his brother Wayne. We didn’t have much help here tonight. My old man was out fishing here this weekend. But overall a big improvement. I’m still not satisfied and I’m just going to keep digging and try to get better.”
The Wheel Man Series Sportsman will return to 4-17 Southern Speedway for their fourth race of the season on April 20 when Kelly will look to maintain his competitive edge against the best drivers in one of the country’s fastest growing touring series.
Race fans who couldn’t make it out to 4-17 Southern Speedway Saturday night can watch a full on-demand replay of the broadcast on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51.com National Correspondent – Twitter: @ajorgensen24
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Wheel Man Series Race #3 Unofficial Results
4-17 Southern Speedway (FL) – March 9, 2019