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 2015 Race 17 - Marathon Finale 150

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ElectricWolf71
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PostSubject: 2015 Race 17 - Marathon Finale 150   Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:35 pm

This is it. Three points separate Beau Phillips and Tyler Smith. Beyond that is a stretch. Is it going to be Ovota Development taking the crown with the modified driver or hard-luck JN Development driver who's path to AARO success can be put back on track? We'll find out tonight. Check the streaming channel later.

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PostSubject: Re: 2015 Race 17 - Marathon Finale 150   Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:05 am

Tyler Smith kicked off the weekend in the best way you can; topping practice and earning the pole. The lead would go on to change a number of times within the opening stint of racing, as is tradition at this track. Phillips did not start out great, but methodically began clawing his back into the Top 15 before the first caution. Jeffrey Perry gets dumped by Nick Kelly out of Turn 2 and comes back up the track in 3, BARELY missing getting clobbered by the 36 and what a tough break that would have been had that happened.

Everybody pit and Dalton Forrister led them out just as he led them in. Forrister seemed on rails, but had to pit for loose lugnuts on his tire. Saunders, Myers and Davis all got violations for passing cars before the start/finish line and served stop-and-gos. The 4, 82, 20 and 83 pit the next lap (this track is weird, man...). Michael Craig, Gayla Lemon, Tyler Smith, Dave Endicott, Jonathan Stern, Beau Phillips, Damien Miller and a few others all jostled for the lead for several laps just as before. But on Lap 73, Chip McGee drifts up in front of Matt Myers and is run into by Franco Gonzalez. They all gained control fairly quickly and continued on.

Restart was short-lives as Rachel Gardner laid on Aleksandr Mouta's rear bumper and turned him up the track into Franco Gonzalez, spinning the both of them out.

Silver Cody restarted as the leader, trying to make his case for an AAPT ride next year. Several drivers in the field are not certain of their status for 2016, so they are trying to do what they can to prove themselves. Wayne Saunders rode the wall trying to avoid the anchoring Chip McGee. On Lap 101, Dave Endicott blew up from the lead, ending his great day for SGD. After that, things go haywire. Lapped cars are not sparing anybody as Eun Yong Kim cuts off Nick Kelly without clearing him out of Turn 4 and collecting Wayne Saunders; Talia Anita decides to pile in and they drive off. Robert Biggs decides to pile into Nick Kelly as he misses Eun Yong Kim, taking himself and Kelly out. Gayla Lemon then hits Kelly's left front and takes herself out, getting a piece of Ken Morgan. Lemon is then is hit by Damien Miller in the right rear, taking the 39 out of the race along with everyone else involved minus Morgan.

Jonathan Stern led to the restart, not believed to be returning to that team next season. The championship battle has never been ended, but seasawed back and forth and as the race progressed towards the end it was tough to make a prediction. The fifth yellow was caused by Silver Cody straight up moving up the track out of Turn 2 and turning Eun Yong Kim. Stern restarted as the leader with Steven Conway in second, making some headway for himself as a replacement for the injured Jason Carter. Conway's 2016 plans are in the atmosphere that's how up in the air they are, so it is good to see things going right for this Carson ALNT team and Conway. As of 20 laps to go, Smith is 3rd while Phillips sits 6th.

Smith took the lead with some big help from a gaggle of lapped cars, but Franco Gonzalez might be getting some thank you cards from Preston Bell, who passed his teammate thanks to the 96 holding the 39 up on Lap 135. However, with ten laps to go, Ken Morgan moves up on 10th-place Albert Timmons and causes both of them to spin down the frontstretch. No harm, no foul.

With it being inside 15 laps to go, there are no double-file restarts, meaning Aleksandr Mouta would start in between Steven Conway and Tyler Smith. Smith takes until Turn 3 to pass Mouta and bring Frank Day of all people with him. Day has not had a great season and now he's running inside the Top 5; another good story to cap off the season. Conway would probably have loved to get a win to end 2015, but Preston Bell kept the lead he took on Lap 135 and cruised on to take his second win of the season. Finishing in third place, Tyler Smith has overcome the concussion troubles that have plagued him since an AAPT accident at Watkins Glen to take home the 2015 AARO Logitech National Tour championship for JN Development by a slim 14 points over Beau Phillips, who finished in 6th (just as they ran with 20 to go interestingly enough).

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PostSubject: Re: 2015 Race 17 - Marathon Finale 150   Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:36 am

Updated and the ALNT season is finally over.

Phillips so close, but not there as he falls short on ALNT title

Few would have expected a modified regular to go from the short tracks of Connecticut to some of the most prestigious tracks on the AARO calendar. A championship-caliber modified driver, yes, but not many expected a transition to stock cars to be nearly this seamless.

Beau Phillips is also 31 years old and will turn 32 in February 2016. He's been told his prime years are past him, but evidently those detractors were far from correct. With 4 victories, 7 Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and 253 laps led which is more than anybody else in the series, he has proven not only that he is fit to drive stock cars, but is beyond the level of the AARO Logitech National Tour. Whether Phillips agrees with that assessment is unclear, but team owners likely will say so.

"What a wild race, man", an exhausted Phillips said as he climbed from the driver's window of the #30 Havoline Buick Regal on a sunny Saskatchewanian day, a #30 Buick that had run in the AERS several years ago for that same team. "Wish we could have caught him [the 36], but we had a car to give him a run for the money. Just wasn't where we needed to be once the laps ran out. But I can't tell ya how happy I am to have a group o' guys like these behind me each race. They push the buttons every week and give me a chance to compete and I just drive. I can't drive half as well without them. They deserve a title, but I feel I fell short plus we got caught on a few unlucky breaks too. Ty [Smith] is a damn consistent guy and a class act; hoping he doesn't go get hurt again like last year so he can keep winning, but damn he put up a fight and a half today. Maybe we're gonna come back and get it."

When asked about his 2016 plans, which have not yet been confirmed, Beau put a grin on his brunette, bearded face and replied ecstatically: "I'd like to see how far I can go with this, but I'd be all in going for another title here too".

Smith had one less Top 5, one less Top 10 and oneless DNF than Phillips, but Smith also finished 92% of this season's laps compared to Philips' 86%. Consistency still plays a huge factor in deciding championships as evidenced at Saskatchewan, but talent is another element that is crucial; something Phillips seems to be flaunting with his performance this season that might move him up the AARO ladder for next season.

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