Joliet, IL – Kelley, Polini bring home 1-2 finish for RCR.
#3 Tommy Kelley Takes The Win at Chicagoland
The Showtime Cup drivers took to the 1.5 mile tri-oval speedway Chicagoland Wednesday, January 20th @ 9:15est for 100 laps.
Sponsors for the Showtime Cup Series:
Buttkicker – Feel what you’ve been missing.
SimNut Racing Sims – Sim Rigs & More.
Budget Sim Boxes – Find them on Facebook for your button box needs.
Last weeks winner #13 Preston Puryear put his Geico Chevy on the pole for the race beside his RCR technical alliance teammate #3 Tommy Kelley in the Tracker Boats Chevy. The first 8 qualifiers were separated by less than a tenth.
For the second week in a row a early race caution plagued these drivers as the Fake Steak Chevy of #74 Jason Renowden got loose coming out of turn 4 and collected the Nationwide Chevy of #88 Ed Boyles Jr and the Monster Energy Chevy of #1 Dalton Hawbaker. With no fast repairs these cars were destined to make repairs to the damage the rest of the night.
After the race I caught up with #74 Jason Renowden, #88 Ed Boyles Jr, and #1 Dalton Hawbaker;
Interview with Renowden;
Jason what happened out there?
“I was just trying to take it easy for the first few laps…wasn’t pushing hard at all, but unfortunately got loose coming off 4 and lost it. It was incredibly frustrating. I feel bad of course for anyone that got caught up in it. It’s the first and only wreck I’ve caused during the season, but it still sucks.”
Prior to this race you were running 6th in points, are you concerned about points heading into Martinsville?
“Martinsville is always a concern. It’s not my favorite track by any stretch. Hopefully I can qualify well and stay out of trouble.”
“Thanks for supporting the league. All these guys work hard to put on a good show. We all appreciate the support of the fans.”
Renowden dropped to 8th in the points following The 29th finish in the race.
Interview with #88 Ed Boyles Jr;
Ed what happened?
“Jason got loose. I checked up and got clear then he turned right to save it instead of just spinning it through the grass. Nothing I could have done differently. Bad place and the right time. [I’m] not worried about points. Not many races left and only 4 different winners so I’ll definitely make the chase.”
Anything you would want to say to the other drivers involved?
“Hold the wheel to the left and lock it down. The guy in the 1 car that drove through all the way and crashed into me….would have been nice for him to check up. I hope the people are getting a show. Our team keeps working to try to stay towards the top. Excited for Martinsville and ’Dega. I’ve won a few times in officials on super speedways And so has my teammate Wade working together in the draft.”
Boyles Jr would finish the race 30th, 46 laps down.
Interview with #1 Dalton Hawbaker;
“From my perspective cars were wrecking in front of me and I thought the car below me was closer than he was. Wish I would have drove to the bottom, [That’s] about the only thing I could have done differently. Like I said, I thought there was a car down there.”
Are you worried about the chase and points at all?
“Right now I’m on a week by week basis. Probably won’t make all the races. Martinsville though is always a hectic place to race so anything can happen. Obviously I want to thank the fans for coming out and supporting us.”
Hawbaker finished 32nd, 99 laps down.
The race resumed on lap 5. #24 Wade Palmer V had a scary moment coming out of the tri-oval on lap 7 as he got loose but Palmer V kept the car going in the right direction and no caution was needed.
Lap 14 saw a new leader as the 5 Hour Energy Toyota of #19 Trevor Absher took the lead over #13 Preston Puryear. Though shortly after the caution waved as #96 Josh Noland and #17 Tim Ingram tangled coming out of turn 4. Ingram slammed into the wall and bounced into the path of Noland.
When asked about the wreck this is what the two had to say;
#17 Tim Ingram: “On lap 14 I ran a little too high on entry and the front end pushed to the wall. I felt traction was starting to fade the lap earlier. Fendered the wall and Then I bounced off collecting Josh. I hated that it happened considering last week my race was over on lap 2 incident and hated it for Josh. Especially happening early in the race. As far as doing something different I dont think there is anything other than entering better. I did apologize to Josh soon after it happened. He was cool with it.
Now with Martinsville next week……tight paperclip. No need for aero at this track. Passing is hard. If your not dented up after this race…well you weren’t in it. Emotions can run high but in the end we are still friends. I’ve seen Harry Gant win at Martinsville looking like a Ump modified.
For the short track race fans this is it! Martinsville is a fenderbanging close race. Hope the stands are filled cause its gonna be a show. I hope I can gain a few points to put me back up in the top 15.”
#95 Josh Noland: “As we entered the turn I knew both of us entered really low which was going to force us to push out towards the wall. I was going to follow Tim all the way through but about 3/4 of the way through the turn I realized he wasnt going to make it, I tried to stay in the second lane from the wall, but when he hit it bounced him off right into me. I wish I would‘ve backed it down a little more and taken the inside line but only a couple seconds of buffing needed so I wasn’t too concerned about it. With Martinsville coming up I’m actually fairly excited. I’ve made quite a name for myself at some short tracks such as Bristol and Martinsville so I’m hoping to bring home a podium and jump up a couple more spots in points. We are all pushing ourselves and the cars to their limits so an accident is inevitable. Just glad we were both able to compete and finish the race.
I want to say to the fans thanks for watching, love all the support from everyone. And of course huge shoutout to my sponsors, Buttkicker, General Steel Crane and Rigging, Random Design Paint Services.”
Both Ingram and Noland would be able to continue running.
During the caution several different pit strategies emerged as some pitted and others didn’t. With the fuel window around 32-34 laps and 3 sets of tires in the pits everyone was looking for a race winning strategy. Leader #19 Trevor Absher was among those who pitted, giving the lead back to #13 Preston Puryear.
#31 Pete Polini took the lead on lap 20 bringing teammate #3 Tommy Kelley with him as #13 Preston Puryear dropped to 3rd.
The field settled in with tight clean racing throughout the rest of the night with no other cautions making each tenth that much more critical.
For the drivers that stayed out green flag stops would begin on lap 33. And with them brought more excitement for the RCR team. Leader #31 Pete Polini locked up the brakes for the second week in a row and spun his car in the pits right in front of #3 Tommy Kelly on lap 37. Polini did not make any contact with the wall or his teammate, but did lose 2.5 seconds to his teammate in the pits.
When asked after the race Polini had this to say; “I didn’t hit my teammate, just locked it up. We are having pit practice every day this week. Or at least I am after the last two weeks.”
Once the green flag stops were complete for the drivers on a 2 stop strategy #00 Tim Wortman Jr was left with the lead.
By lap 47, #3 Tommy Kelley, who was running 3rd, passed Wortman Jr to get his lap back from the pit stop sequence. Kelley was the first car on the 2 stop strategy with fresh tires.
On lap 51 Tommy Kelly brought his Sim Seats Chevy to pit road, giving #3 Tommy Kelley the lead which he held until making his way to pit road on lap 69. No issues for drivers throughout this sequence of pit stops which started on lap 67 and was completed on lap 73.
During the sequence of pit stops #13 Preston Puryear, #77 Jon Coombs each lead a couple laps. After Coombs relinquished his lead the NOS Energy Chevy of #47 Alonzo King lead the field til lap 76 when he decided to pit, this put #00 Tim Wortman Jr back up front.
Wortman Jr must have been hoping for a caution to help him make it to the end, but unfortunately for the RCR driver one did not come and he had to pit on lap 84, when #3 Tommy Kelley would once again take the lead till the checkered flag. #31 Pete Polini rebounded from his pit entrance mistake to finish 2nd -7.691 behind Kelley. Twelve cars remained on the lead lap by the end of the 100 lap event at Chicagoland.
The running order was as follows;
- #3 Tommy Kelley
- #31 Pete Polini (-7.691)
- #4 Patrick Mclendon (-11.502)
- #47 Alonzo King (-14.419)
- #77 Jon Coombs (-14.715)
- #13 Preston Puryear (-15.080)
- #7 Chris Speer (-16.314)
- #12 Kaleb Leviner (-16.691)
- #48 Myke Miller (-27.636)
- #9 Matt Mackin (-28.252)
- #19 Trevor Absher (-29.886)
- #24 Wade Palmer V (-29.908)
After the race Paul Strickland Jr caught up with the top three drivers.
#3 Tommy Kelley; “We did well in qualifying – wanted to try to get a few laps [and] stay out front. Stay out of the eye of the storm. And…I think we did pretty well at that. Stayed up front most of the race. Unfortunate incident with the teammate there coming into that first green flag pit stop, but it could have been a lot worse – could have taken out both of us I guess. Seems to be our trouble point – getting on and off of pit road – we will get that figured out before too long. [For Martinsville] I sure [hope we have something for them] at Martinsville – that one is a bit of a wildcard one I think. Usually really love short tracks, but I’m not sure I’m going to like it with this many cars as we’ve got. But we will see – hoping for the best. I’d like to thank my parents, my grandparents – they are all watching tonight. I’d like to thank Budget Sim Boxes, ButtKicker – everyone that makes this deal happen. Marshall [Layton] runs this great league, lots of fun to race with these guys. Obviously I want to thank all my teammates, we work really well together and really getting dialed in with the setups here this season.”
#31 Pete Polini; “Crew chief? It’s all driver here that cost us the win 2 weeks in a row. I think I had a shot of giving Tommy [Kelley] some real competition but when you spin on pit road and lose ya know 7 seconds it’s not ideal. I think this upcoming week I’m just going to do pit stops and not practice any laps, just pit stops after pit stops and see if we can get it together here. Obviously [Kelley] and I are teammates and Tommy did a bulk of the work on our setup but I know we were definitely competitive – we were right there – so yeah like I said it’s just a matter of pit stops. Another small mistake cost us again and we didn’t have a caution to catch us back up. Strong night for RCR, great win for Tommy and we hope to keep this train moving and get another one next week. [I want to thank] you guys [Vidane TV] for sure for doing the broadcast for us you guys do a great job. [Thanks to] Fantom ESports, Outlaw ESports, Maconi Setup Shop, CEG Engineering, Martin Sports Apparel for supporting me this year. It’s great to have everyone on board.”
#2 Patrick McLendon; “The entire Penske team felt we had a pretty good setup On the long run. That’s just the way we set these cars up. We thought we’d have the opportunity to stay around the front, obviously the guys that finished up there – Pete [Polini] and Tommy [Kelley} they are fast every week. It would be good to see someone get Tommy eventually. But overall it was a good clean race. I wanna thank Marshall [Layton] here for starting the league – Kaleb [Leviner] for bringing me into it…Everybody in the league for making it a good time – good Wednesday night every week. I got to thank the sponsors ButtKicker, SimNut, and Budget Sim Boxes, and you guys [Vidane] for hosting us. Looking forward to next week.”
Points standings after 6 of 16 races before the chase are as follows;
- Tommy Kelley (3 Wins)
2. Tim Wortman Jr (2 Wins)
3. Preston Puryear (1 Win)
4. Ed Boyles Jr. (1 Win)
In On Points:
5. Kaleb Leviner
6. Trevor Absher
7. Derek Cook
8. Jason Renowden
9. Alonzo King
10. Patrick McLendon
11. Ken Ehlert
12. Stephen Wood (+10)
13.Pete Polini (+9)
14. Pete Woodrum (+5)
15. Jimmy Absher (+4)
16. Marshall Layton (+1)
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN:
17. Micheal Buckley (-1)
18. Matt Mackin (-5)
19. Tim Ingram (-17)
20. Wade Palmer V (-19)
Next for the Showtime Cup is Martinsville Wednesday, January 27th @ 9:15est.
Catch the action live on Facebook or YouTube by searching Vidane TV, and while you watch click follow/subscribe to see these great group of drivers and maybe join other programs along the way.
Written by #7 Chris Speer, Jan 22nd, 2021.