He didn’t start at the front of the field, but Jack Landis made sure he finished there at the end of 77 laps on the fast Indiana quarter-mile of New Paris Speedway in the Pat Riley Memorial.
Landis started in the seventh position and in the beginning it appeared that he was just biding his time. For the first few laps Landis stayed right around his starting spot until the race’s second caution came out near lap five.
On the restart Landis made quick work of the front starters and drove right to the front of the field. He began to battle with polesitter Jacob Maynard.
That battle was interrupted when the caution flag waved for the third time due to debris on the backstretch of the Indiana bullring.
When the green flag flew it was Maynard on the inside with Landis on the outside. While the inside line is normally the preferred line at New Paris Speedway, Landis drove right by Maynard on the outside of turn two to take the lead on lap 18.
JR Roahrig followed Landis by Maynard and moved into second-place right behind Landis. Roahrig followed in Landis’ tire tracks for the next 20 laps just waiting to make a move.
But that move from Roahrig never came. Roahrig headed pit-side on lap 42 because his red no. 25 was overheating.
“I tried a new fan,” Roahrig said. “It definitely didn’t work.”
Roahrig’s issues made things much easier for Landis. He and Roahrig built up a huge lead over third-place, but when Roahrig went to the pits that gave Landis a six-second lead over second-place.
Roahrig wasn’t the only driver to have mechanical issues throughout the 77 laps. The race began with 12 cars, but cars began to drop out one-by-one as the race continued on.
It appeared that it would be smooth sailing for Landis as the laps clicked off, but then the caution flag waved once again on lap 64 for fluid from Brent Jack’s no. 41 machine.
However, it didn’t matter that the field was back on Landis’ back bumper. He drove away from Steve Stacy on the restart just like he did the rest of the field earlier in the race.
Landis dealt with one more restart with six laps to go, but once again he was able to drive away from Stacy and the other three cars that remained on the race track.
Landis beat Stacy to the line by five car lengths to claim the win. Stacy, Josh Sommers, Kenny Whitman, and Steve Reid completed the top five.
“I was nervous the whole time,” Landis told Speed51.com. “I didn’t know how big of a lead I had and you start to hear noises and stuff. ”
The veteran driver credited his success to his new footwear after the race.
“I got a new pair of shoes,” said Landis. “Since then I’ve won three straight races. I think I’ll be taking those with me to the Summer Sizzler (on August 6).”
You can catch an on-demand replay of our Trackside Now coverage presented by Liberty University here: http://speed51.com/trackside-now-pat-riley-memorial-at-new-paris-speedway/
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
Pat Riley Memorial Unofficial Results: