Outlaw Super Late Model star Tyler Roahrig will begin his racing season earlier than usual in 2020, but in a different type of race car. The three-time defending Kalamazoo Klash winner and two-time defending Tony Elliott Classic winner will hop into a Super Late Model and make the trip south to Georgia for CRA SpeedFest at Crisp Motorsports Park in January.
Roahrig’s SpeedFest attempt will be just his second time in a template-bodied car since the beginning of 2018 and his first major Super Late Model start since the 2017 Falloween 150 at Dells Raceway Park for Justin Oertel. He will drive a similar No. 24 for Berlin Raceway regular Lee Vandyk.
It won’t be the first time the two have paired up, with Roahrig taking Vandyk’s car to a fast time and two second-place finishes at the tricky 7/16-mile oval on season championship night. Now, what started out as a opportunity has turned into a trip to a major Super Late Model race.
“I ran one race this year for Lee Vandyk at Berlin, it was funny how it turned out,” Roahrig told Speed51.com. “I was there the week before racing a Winged Sprint Car and Lee was there. I’ve known Lee for a while, he’s a customer of mine. We just got to talking and he told me he couldn’t make it there the following week because he was going to be out of town for work. I wasn’t totally serious about it but I said well, I could drive it, you know. He thought it was a good idea, so we went back the next week for season championship at Berlin. It’s a good car, I was pretty happy with it.”
It will be the second time Roahrig competes at SpeedFest, finishing 13th in the 2011 edition at Lanier Raceplex. With a new racing discipline in a new region of the country, it brings some of the top talent in the country together to compete in the same race. While he looks forward to race with a new crop of drivers, he plans on treating the race just like any other race he runs in the Midwest.
“It’s kind of like any other race, you know. I just want to run good,” he said. “I don’t want to take away anything from the guys that I normally race with in Sprint Cars and Outlaw racing. As far as driver talent goes, I think it won’t be any different than any other time. I am excited to race against guys I haven’t raced against in a long time, or ever.”
While his Super Late Model starts have been sporadic at best over the years, he is still no stranger to template racing. Roahrig was the 2009 ARCA/CRA Super Series Rookie of the Year in his only full-time season with the series, while also having starts in the Winchester 400, Battle at Berlin 251, and SpeedFest. Despite that, he admitted he had to get reacclimated to a Super while at Berlin and expects he will have to do the same at SpeedFest.
“I’m sure there’ll be a bit of a learning curve just because I haven’t done a lot of this racing in a while. Getting acclimated at Berlin took me a few practices because I was trying to get myself to slow down compared to what I’ve been driving, they are quite a bit slower than an Outlaw car or a Sprint Car,” he said. “That was kind of the biggest challenge but once I got tuned in, it was more or less second nature.”
Roahrig’s goal for SpeedFest remains the same as any other race he enters, whether it be an Outlaw Late Model or a Sprint Car.
“Just to win, every race we go to really. I don’t go to finish second in anything I drive really, so our main goal is to go to every race and win and have fun.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com