In 2014, Tim Roszell had one of the best seasons in recent Talladega Short Track lore. Five victories led his way to a convincing track title. But he was still lacking a signature career victory to throw him to the forefront of household southern Dirt Late Model names.
That changed in a big way on Sunday as Roszell claimed his first big-money event with the 2015 Ice Bowl Super Late Model victory at his home bullring in Estabooga, Alabama. Roszell had a picture perfect weekend, being the fastest qualifier in his group, winning his qualifying heat, starting on the pole, and leading all 50 laps in the featured race.
The jubilant driver, appropriately from the city of Coldwater, grabbed a handful of ice from his winner’s trophy cup and playfully threw it into the crowd as he emerged victorious to acclaim from the packed grandstands.
Roszell had been a strong but unspectacular driver in recent years at Talladega. But early in 2014, Roszell switched to a new 525 and he’s been batting around .500 ever since. This was the exclamation point of a team that is clicking on all cylinders and finding even more speed.
“We’ve been running really well and having a lot of fun lately,” said Roszell, the defending track champion, “But this is the best effort by these guys yet. The car just kept getting better and better every lap.”
Not only was his win wire-to-wire, but it was about as uncontested as a short-track feature can be. He routinely drove away to leads of a straightaway and cautions fell at a timely time to avoid him getting trapped too much in lapped traffic. That said, there was still a little bit of drama for Roszell on those closing laps.
“On that last caution, I went to hit the brakes, and they were pretty much gone,” noted Roszell. “I had to start pumping on them, I couldn’t believe it. Got enough back in them to run those last few laps. Heck, I feel like I could go race another 20 or 30 laps right now.”
Defending champion William Thomas was the runner-up. He ran second the first 49 laps of the 2014 Ice Bowl before slipping by Eric Cooley. Sunday, he could do no better than finish 1.6 seconds behind Roszell. The most exciting piece of driving in the feature came as three cars wrecked racing for third coming to the checkered. Riley Hickman made a bonsai move to get around Donald McIntosh in turn three. McIntosh tried the crossover with Hickman getting loose and made contact with Ogle. Both went spinning with Hickman shooting the middle to claim third. McIntosh crossed the line sideways in fourth while Ogle wrecked right at start finish and was credited with fifth. Hickman had a good laugh exiting his car while Ogle shrugged it off as he waited to be towed off.
284 cars for seven divisions came out to compete at Talladega. The race lived up to its name as a cold front that has set left New England and the Upper Midwest miserably cold swung low enough to plunge temperatures into the 30s during daylight hours at the track. Other highlights of the day came from the Crate Late Model division and even a Super Late Model B-Main.
In the Crate Late Model 40, with three laps to go, Ray Cook went around leader Jason Welshan on the outside as Jimmy Elliott blocked Welshan. Welshan bumped him to try to get around, but both wound up stopped in turn one. Race officials determined Elliott caused the caution by cutting off Welshan, allowing Welshan to reassume command and pull away on the final restart.
In the first Super Late Model B-Main, Cass Fowler, high wide and handsome, made a three wide pass to claim the B-Main to go from not making the feature to B-Main victor in a single lap. He was the only driver that seemed to get the high lane to work for him all day, as the cold weather made the track a bottomfeeder most of the afternoon. Jeff Smith gouged enough of a hole to the inside to edge Mark Bangs for the second and final transfer spot.
Dirt Late Model action goes quiet for a few weekends before Screven Motor Speedway (GA) in Georgia kicks open the full racing season with Winter Freeze V.
— Tim Quievryn // @thethirdturn // 51’s Third Turn(powered by 51's Third Turn)
| 1||6||Tim Roszell||50||50|
| 2||19||William Thomas||50||0|
| 3||R1||Riley Hickman||50||0|
| 4||7||Donald McIntosh||50||0|
| 5||201||Billy Ogle, Jr.||50||0|
| 6||81||Aaron Ridley||50||0|
| 7||33||David Brannon||50||0|
| 8||11S||Lavon Sparks||50||0|
| 9||97H||Luke Hoffner||50||0|
| 10||00||Jason Welshan||50||0|
| 11||53||Ray Cook||50||0|
| 12||57||Josh Adkins||50||0|
| 13||376||Mark Bangs||50||0|
| 14||9||Cass Fowler||49||0|
| 15||41||Ted Lackey||45||0|
| 16||1||Jason Hiett||42||0|
| 17||47M||Ross Martin||41||0|
| 18||23||Cory Hedgecock||33||0|
| 19||15||Tim Busha||28||0|
| 20||7B||Brian Smith||28||0|
| 21||1T||Todd Morrow||21||0|
| 22||F9||Frank Ingram||17||0|
| 23||17S||Jeff Smith||12||0|
| 24||51X||Mack McCarter||7||0|
| 25||33B||Eric Cooley||3||0|
| 26||93||Charles Zimmerman||0||0|