Going into Friday night’s 100-lap season championship feature at Kalamazoo Speedway, the four big Outlaw Super Late Models races had been split by Jeff Ganus and Tyler Roahrig. Ganus won the Intimidator 100 and the Lane 75 on the same night in May, while Roahrig won the Firecracker 75 in July and his second straight Kalamazoo Klash earlier this month. So it was no surprise that the season championship feature came down to a battle between the “Constantine Comet” and “Rocket”.
Ganus started on the pole and set sail on the field early in the going, while Roahrig worked his way through the field after starting just outside the top ten. Roahrig took second place from Brian Bergakker just past halfway and the battle for the lead was soon on.
After a restart soon after, Ganus and Roahrig put on a show up front, racing side-by-side for the majority of the last 36 laps, but Ganus was able to fend off repeated challenges from Roahrig until a caution with eight laps to go put them on the front row for the final restart. On the final restart, Roahrig was able to use the bottom to pull ahead, then clear the race-long leader Ganus with seven laps to go and pick up his third Kalamazoo win of 2018.
It wasn’t the first time the two drivers battled each other for a win. In 2017, Ganus was able to hold off a hard-charging Roahrig and prevailed in the Gary Terry Follow Your Dreams 125 with a photo finish.
“Me and Jeff have had a lot of hard races together and I consider him one of my best friends,” Roahrig told Speed51.com. “That was a hard race. We touched a few times but I didn’t think it was anything major. I thought it was pretty clean for the most part. I got by him on that last restart there. I wasn’t real good after that restart and I didn’t think I could get back away from him. I thought I might get passed again. It was fun racing with Jeff. I hope he enjoyed it; I know we touched a few times but just barely.
"It’s a good night overall for us, I think. Won every race I started here other than the Intimidator because I couldn’t come back, but other than that we won every race we’ve been to here at Kalamazoo, which is really cool. I always love coming here. Full field of cars, a lot of fans, even with the rain, so overall just a good night for everybody.”
A former Kalamazoo Klash winner in his own right, Jeff Ganus led the first 91 laps, but was forced to settle for a runner-up finish after the spirited battle. He shared his thoughts on the race for the win.
“Every time you go to a racetrack with Tyler, you know you've got to be on you’re A-game,” Ganus said. “We were decent but just a little off; we got something going on with the rear end, something’s not right. It was a fun battle with Tyler. He kind of snookered me on that last restart; he went a little bit before I did. He had to do what he had to do. He wore me out. We raced side-by-side for I don’t know how many laps, but it felt like one hundred laps side by side.”
The rest of the top five was rounded out by Brian Bergakker, Adam Terry, and Mark Shook. Todd Harrington nipped Shook by single digits to take home his first Kalamazoo Speedway track championship.
-By Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (Michigan and Indiana) - Twitter: @KGeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com