Over the years, Steve Needles had done everything but win the Glass City 200. On three separate occasions, the Michigan driver had been leading late in the race before mechanical issues ended his race short of the checkered flag. One year removed from his race ending under yellow due to a $1 gasket failure while leading late, he would not be denied.
Needles took the lead from Brian Bergakker on a lap 72 restart, then held off former ARCA Gold Cup champion Frank Jiovani on a restart with seven to go to find redemption and score his first win in the Outlaw Super Late Model crown jewel.
He had potential track record-breaking speed in practice before timing in third-quick in qualifying. Needles methodically worked through the field before his No. 14 found something at around the halfway point, using several restarts to his full advantage and picking off positions one-by-one.
Once taking the lead with 28 to go, he was nearly untouchable the rest of the way.
“I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t easy. We had to work for it,” Needles told Speed51. “We started off there and the outside was pretty bad. We were pretty free the first half of the race and as the race went on, things began to clean up.
“We had a couple hairy moments with some lapped cars and turned her sideways a couple times too. At about the halfway point the car came to us, and with about 25 to go it really came to us. From there on we got to set sail, it was great.”
If it wasn’t for misfourtune in his six previous attempts in the race, Needles could very well be the winningest driver in Glass City 200 history. Not only was Saturday night’s win his first in the Glass City 200, it was also the first time he had finished the event. His previous best was an eighth, coming back in 2012 when he led 136 laps before blowing an engine with three to go.
With a Kalamazoo Klash win already to his credit, adding the Glass City 200 came as a big relief after multiple years of near-misses.
“It’s incredible, it’s a huge relief. We’ve had this race won I feel like five or six times, and just haven’t been able to seal the deal. To finally get it done and have to work for it like we did tonight, it’s just an incredible feeling.”
Former ARCA Gold Cup champion Frank Jiovani finished second, a career-best for him in the event. 2019 winner Cayden Lapcevich matched his ARCA/CRA Super Series finish with a third, 2013 winner Dennis Strickland and Scott Hantz rounded out the top-five.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Outlaw Super Late Models – Glass City 200 Results:
- Steve Needles
- Frank Jiovani
- Cayden Lapcevich
- Dennis Strickland
- Scott Hantz
- Steve Cronenwett Jr
- Nick Bailey
- Guy Fire
- Austin Thiel
- Dennis Rederstorf
- Tom Cronenwett
- Brian Bergakker
- Dean Gassert
- JR Roahrig
- Brandon Short
- Adam Terry
- Austin Fredwall
- Joe Hawes
- Howard Kelley Jr
- Kyle Crump
- Chris Benson
- Steve Hawes