It has been just over two years since Tyler Roahrig was involved an accident that could have potentially ended his racing career, yet he made a full recovery and is now stronger than ever. The Indiana native has shown the 2016 season who’s boss nearly every time he rolls onto the track, and he continued that trend Thursday night.
Each year when the Summer Sizzler is mentioned it is Roahrig’s name that comes up first. On Thursday night Roahrig continued his dominance in the race held at New Paris Speedway (IN) by winning his fourth Summer Sizzler in five years.
Roahrig started the 15th Annual Summer Sizzler at New Paris by setting the exact same time as Phil Bozell during qualifying. Since the qualifying order was set by reversing the practice times, the track decided that each of the two drivers would roll a die and the driver with the highest number would select the inside or outside lane of the eighth row for the beginning of the race. Roahrig won the roll with a five while Bozell rolled a four.
“I was a little nervous starting 15th especially, the first 30 laps I wasn’t really moving forward, and I didn’t really think I was going to either. The car was pretty free, and it stayed free but everyone else started to slow down a little more, it sure was a handful to drive tonight, but it was fast,” Roahrig told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
Roahrig got the lead from veteran driver Jack Landis by doing something that has never been done in Summer Sizzler history with madhouse-style restarts. Roahrig elected to take the outside lane and drove it around the high side of the bullring to take away the lead from one of his mentors growing up.
“Jack and I are great friends, he’s taught me a lot in racing and I owe a lot of my success to him,” stated Roahrig. “But the first restart when I actually got the lead from him I took the outside and got to the bottom in front of him and was in the lead, but the car didn’t handle as well on the bottom and I got a little worried so that is why I took the high side on the next restart. I figured I would try it then in case we lost a little and it would be better than with say five to go and lose out.”
Roahrig has collected a handful of wins already this year in his Outlaw Super Late Model, including the Intimidator 100 at Kalamazoo Speedway and the Stan Perry Memorial at Angola Motorsport Speedway. Although he was excited about his fourth Summer Sizzler win, Roahrig said that he is really looking forward to next Wednesday at Kalamazoo Speedway for the Kalamazo Klash.
“I’ve ran really well in that race before only to be passed by Terry Senneker Jr in the closing laps. I’ve had a lot of bad luck there (at Kalamazoo) until this year and we’ve ran great in this car,” Roahrig stated.
“Winning The Klash would be like a dream come true, it’s my bucket list race right now. To win The Klash and the Sizzler in the same year would be incredible, it has never been done so that would be huge,” Roahrig continued.
In less than one week the Outlaw Drivers will return to the Kalmazoo Speedway for another one of the biggest Outlaw races in the country. Roahrig has already created a bigger name for himself during the 2016 season and we will see if he can check another off his bucket list while putting his name on another record in the history books.
For an on-demand recap of our Trackside Now coverage presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies, click here.
-By Mikayla Kugler, Speed51.com Contributor
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
2016 15th Annual Summer Sizzler Results