Defending Kalamazoo Klash winner Tyler Roahrig returned to Kalamazoo Speedway (MI) victory lane on Friday night, this time in the Firecracker 75. Roahrig took the lead from defending track champion Mark Shook on Lap 26 with a daring three-wide pass on Shook and a lapped car before setting sail on the field and taking the familiar black No. 24 back to victory lane.
The only incident of the night was a big one. On Lap 4, two cars spun at the entrance of three, leaving no room for other competitors. In all, seven cars were involved in the pileup, including fast qualifier and Kalamazoo Speedway points leader Todd Harrington.
“The key to it was missing that big wreck there,” Roahrig told Speed51.com. “It’s a shame that happened and a lot of cars got tore up in it. I really would’ve liked to race those guys. They’re all good racers and it’s a bummer that happened, but that’s just part of it sometimes.”
After the green flag came back out, the final 71 laps were completed without a caution. Roahrig quickly took the lead and left all but two other competitors at least one lap down.
“It just went from green to checkered then. I ran as hard as I could just to get a good feel for the Klash in a month,” Roahrig stated. “We just kind of wanted to see what it was going to do then. It’s kind of the whole reason we came. But all in all, awesome night. We qualified second and won the race. Grandstands were packed. Couldn’t ask for much more.”
Roahrig is the defending winner of the Kalamazoo Klash, outdueling 2015 Monster Energy Cup Series champion Kyle Busch over the final 43 laps. He told Speed51.com after Friday night’s dominating performance that he is still not where he wants his car to be in order to repeat as Klash champion.
“I think I still have some work to do to be good in the Klash,” he admitted. “I ran it really hard and I still think toward the end of the race, it could’ve been a little bit better, and even at the start. We just got to work on it a little bit. I’ve been trying to change my program over a little bit. We’ve been good the past couple of years and I feel like a lot of other guys have caught up. Been working hard to try to get that back, but it’s just hard to do sometimes.”
Adam Terry finished second Friday night, followed by Mark Shook, Matt Corliss, and Chris Garrett rounding out the top five.
-Story by Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com