“Rocket” held off 12-time Kalamazoo Speedway track champion Andy Bozell in a shootout over the final 41 laps to win his fourth Kalamazoo Klash in the last five years. By doing so, the Indiana driver became the first driver to sweep Outlaw Super Late Model racing’s crown jewels in the same year.
Tyler Roahrig became the first driver to ever win the Summer Sizzler and Kalamazoo Klash in the same year with his win Wednesday night at Kalamazoo Speedway.
In his last eight Kalamazoo Klash starts dating back to 2012, Roahrig has not finished any worse than second.
I’ve won either the Sizzler or the Klash I think the last seven years or so but never the same year. A lot of those times I’d get second in one or the other. It’s always been a personal goal of mine to win both in the same year,” Roahrig told Speed51. “I’m pretty proud of that, proud of my team. I wish I could’ve won it a little bit better than I did but at least it was exciting for the fans.
The day started off uncharacteristically for Roahrig, who would find himself seventh quick in qualifying. With a lower invert than in recent years, he started fourth and dodged a major pileup on the opening lap before taking the lead early on.
While he would lead the rest of the way, it did not come easy. The only other yellow of the race put Bozell and Steve Needles on his bumper for the final run. While Needles fell off late, Bozell stayed on the hunt to the checkered and helped write another chapter in the Kalamazoo Klash history books.
“It definitely wore me out, I knew he was right there. I didn’t do a good job with (my car) this weekend. I just didn’t show up with a good package and I couldn’t really get it when we got here. It wasn’t for a short of effort, me and my team worked really hard on it.
“The first run of the race, we were decent I thought. I know we had a gap from what my guys were telling me. I knew that Andy was probably going to be better but my car just went away after that caution, which is shocking because my car normally gets better after a couple cautions.”
Bozell came up just short of what would’ve been a record-tying fifth win in the event. He did everything he could to get around Roahrig but would come up just a car length short.
“It was just a short track battle, you have to get what you can get. We had a good car, just used up too much to get to the front there,” Bozell said. “He was right there where he needed to be, he was up just a couple feet and I was right on the bottom, just couldn’t dig there deep enough and make it stick.”
With his start in Wednesday night’s race, Bozell has now competed in all 29 Kalamazoo Klashes. He won the first two races held in 1993 and 1994 while adding wins in 1997 and 2007.
His runner-up effort Wednesday night was his best result in the Klash since his fourth win 14 years ago.
“It’s the Klash, it’s a pretty cool race. We put a lot of effort into it to try and have a good run at the Klash. It’s cool, that’s a lot of races.”
Bozell’s son and former Klash winner Phil Bozell finished third, with defending race winner Steve Needles and two-time track champion Mark Shook rounding out the top-five.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo
Kalamazoo Klash XXIX Results:
- Tyler Roahrig
- Andy Bozell
- Phil Bozell
- Steve Needles
- Mark Shook
- Kyle Crump
- Zack Cook
- Adam Terry
- Matt Frazier
- Monte Tolan
- Doug Rodanhisler
- Trever McCoy
- Brian Bergakker
- Hayden Sprague
- Craig Everage
- Todd Harrington
- JR Roahrig
- Andrew Brest
- Shawn Amor
- Doug True
- Jamison Russell
- Scott Hantz