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November 13, 2022

BRL SLM S19 R8 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

12 November 2022
Bootleg Racing League | Season 19 | Round 8
Super Late Model Series | Southern National Speedway
Sim Racing Software: iRacing

Kenny Kibbey with Nocturnal Gaming took the checkered flag tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Super Late Model Series at Southern National Speedway ahead of J R Shepherd and Mathew Thunhorst. “Sometimes you’re forced to make the outside work and there were a couple of situations where I was put there and it actually worked out really well so I thought ‘Well, this might actually become an option’.”, Kibbey commented at the end of the run, “I had to take what was mine and give them what was theirs and all of us just had to hit our marks and that’s really what it came down to.”

J R Shepherd had the fast time in qualifying with a 4-lap average at 13.970 gaining the much needed 10 points toward the season championship and would start the 100-lap feature event off from 10th place with Ruben Altice sitting on the pole alongside Lowell Jewell because of the Bootleg Racing League qualifying invert. Altice had a good jump off the start clearing ahead of Jewell as an early caution was thrown when Steve Hilbert and Donny Moore came together as the field shuffled for position off the start.

The green flag game back out going into lap 7 as racing resumed with Altice again clearing into the lead. Jewell struggled to get slotted in line with Bruce Pearson and Austin Boelke pushing past him along the inside. Mathew Thunhorst tucked in behind Boelke with his two championship competitors, Shepherd and Justin Morton, following him under moving up to 4th through 6th respectively. Kenny Kibbey started the night in 9th and was struggling to get through traffic still running in 9th with 15 laps completed.

Boelke got a nose under Pearson to challenge for 2nd, but Pearson decided to try to go for the lead going around the outside of Altice. As drivers saw the move working, Morton and Shepherd quickly moved up to the outside to do the same cleared around Boelke and Altice into 2nd and 3rd. Thunhorst saw the success and went to go high just as Boelke checked up to avoid contact with Altice ahead of him and Thunhorst unintentionally sent Boelke around on the track bringing out the caution with 25 laps behind them. In a sign of good sportsmanship, Thunhorst, who is in the race for the championship, did a pass-through down pit road sending himself to the back of the field demonstrating the respect the drivers of the Bootleg Racing League have for each other.

As the green flag came back out, Morton and Shepherd again went high to clear around Pearson and started battling amongst themselves for the lead. Kibbey was starting to make moves toward the front running in 5th and pressuring Matt Hoose ahead of him. Thunhorst made a few quick passes off the start and was up to 12th behind Todd Liston. Boelke tucked in behind Thunhorst and was following him up through the field as Kibbey cleared around Hoose and Pearson into 3rd running over 2 seconds behind the leaders.

Going into the second half of the night, Morton was still holding the lead ahead of Shepherd. Kibbey had closed the gap and was in the battle for the lead in 3rd place. Thunhorst was showing his speed and skill as he continued to make solid strides through the field working back into the top 10 and moving up fast. The leaders had started to build up a gap between themselves and Pearson in 4th with all three drivers following very closely behind each other waiting for someone to make a mistake they could take advantage of.

The laps were quickly counting down without incident as the majority of drivers were settling into a long single file train around the track. Shepherd looked to the inside of Morton for the lead several times but wasn’t able to take risks with Kibbey close behind. Kibbey went to the outside of Shepherd to again try passing along the outside but wasn’t able to make the move work and dropped back in line. Thunhorst had moved around Adam Schoen up to 7th and was looking under Tim Shinoski for 6th with 27 laps remaining.

With only 25 laps remaining, Shepherd went low under Morton and again couldn’t complete the pass which allowed Kibbey to get a solid hold to the outside again challenging for 2nd. Kibbey and Shepherd ran side by side for several laps before Kibbey was able to make the move stick and cleared into 2nd and immediately moved up tight on Morton’s bumper. Again, Kibbey looked to the outside of Morton going after the race lead and was able to get even with him on lap 83.

Thunhorst cleared up into 4th ahead of Pearson and was working on the 1.6 second gap between himself and the leaders as Kibbey cleared ahead of Morton and secured the lead going into the final 15 laps. Shepherd tried to repeat the move going around the outside of Morton. As the laps counted down with Morton and Shepherd running side by side, Thunhorst tried to make use of the battle over 2nd and close the gap without either driver having a clear advantage over the other.

The battle allowed Kibbey to streak away with the lead well over 2 seconds ahead of Shepherd who cleared into 2nd as Thunhorst reached the rear of Morton. With 2 laps to go, Thunhorst dove beneath Morton going for 3rd. Kenny Kibbey came out of the final corner to take the checkered flag tonight with J R Shepherd, Mathew Thunhorst, who was able to complete the last second pass into 3rd, Justin Morton, and Adam Schoen rounding out the top 5 tonight at Southern National Speedway.

J R Shepherd holds onto the lead in the point standings tonight with 368 points. Mathew Thunhorst sits in 2nd place with 360 points over Justin Morton with 343 points. Joseph Snyder holds onto 4th with 266 points and Donny Moore rounds out the top 5 with 258 points. Next week, the drivers of the Bootleg Racing League head out to Hickory Motor Speedway for the 9th round of Season 19 on November 19th with all of the action broadcast live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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