Corey Ryman had the hot hand at The Gambler Saturday night, scoring the win at South Bend Motor Speedway in what has been the biggest Outlaw Super Late Model show to date in 2020. After starting seventh in the 100-lap main event, he used the madhouse restarts to his full advantage to take the lead and run away with the $5,032 check.
The Nappanee, IN driver was in fourth when a caution fell on lap 17, but restarted on the outside front row after being the first driver to take the top side at the choose cone. He powered past Cayden Lapcevich on the ensuing restart and was never challenged again, even owning a nearly half-lap lead over the field during parts of the race.
What turned out as a shot in the dark on lap 17 turned into a game-changer for Ryman, who was able to take off from both lanes on restarts.
“When I took the outside out of fourth place I realized how good of a bite there was on the outside of turn four. I had good momentum going that way so it made sense to do it again, even from the lead,” Ryman told Speed51. “The car just had tons of bite up there and I think the track had more bite up there than usual. It just made sense for me to do that. It helped keep people behind me and I knew who I had to race against.
“I trust Cayden (Lapcevich), I’ve seen him race other things and he’s a good driver. It’s good to start beside people that you know race good and clean.”
A past winner of the Pat Riley Memorial at New Paris and the Lane 75 at Kalamazoo, Ryman had come close to winning at South Bend multiple times but could not close it out. Saturday night marked his first win at the high-banked quarter-mile, and it came at the track’s biggest event.
“This was definitely a monkey off my back. I’ve raced all over the area, Kalamazoo, M40, Fort Wayne. This was the one track we had never got a win at, so it’s great to finally get one.”
Cayden Lapcevich turned a last-minute decision into a runner-up finish in Bobby Blount’s “Sweet 16” after his scheduled ARCA Midwest Tour debut at Grundy County Speedway was postponed due to weather. The reigning Glass City 200 winner and former NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion started on the pole and stayed toward the front all race, only having lost the lead to Ryman on the first restart of the event.
“We started off pretty good, we felt a little neutral. We ran around and logged some laps and got to the break. Lost the lead right before the break and we just couldn’t ever get back behind him,” Lapcevich said. “The madhouse made it a little tough because he used the top and I’d get stuck on the bottom. All in all, it wasn’t a bad night.
“This was a last-minute decision to come here. We were actually going to go to Grundy to run the Midwest Tour race but they canceled it this morning so we said well, let’s go run the Gambler. Coming in unprepared and rushing to get the motor ready, I’ll take a P2.”
Defending Gambler winner and current points leader Steve Stacy outdueled Phil Bozell late to finish third, while former track champion Charlie Hanna rounded out the top-five. Former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace was also in attendance driving a team car to track co-owner Kevin Sauer, finishing 12th.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51
Outlaw Super Late Models – The Gambler Results:
1. Corey Ryman
2. Cayden Lapcevich
3. Steve Stacy
4. Phil Bozell
5. Charlie Hanna
6. Rich Boal
7. Bobby Stremme
8. Kevin Sauer
9. Vern Sauer
10. Billy Shannon
11. Isaac Ross
12. Kenny Wallace
13. John Long
14. Adam Terry
15. Doug True
16. Harold Fair Jr
17. Andrew Devreese