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February 26, 2023

BRL LM S21 R8 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

25 February 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 8
Late Model Series | Southern National Speedway

Mathew Thunhorst with Forge Racing took his first checkered flag of the season tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Late Model Series at Southern National Speedway ahead of Aiden Young and Matt Hoose. “It was just craziness out there”, Thunhorst commented at the end of the night, “Got a couple bites at the apple and finally just got enough that I could get in there and try to work [Young] over and, you know, got it done.”

J R Shepherd with Different Path Motorsports continued his top qualifying streak for the 8th week in a row setting down the fastest lap at 14.731 starting the night off in 10th place with the Bootleg Racing League grid invert with Kurt Smith leading the 24-car field around to take the green flag for the 100-lap feature event alongside Stephen Spies on the front row.

Smith jumped out to the lead with Spies tucking in behind him. Adam Schoen and Austin Boelke made contact trying ot get single filed out bringing out an early caution restacking the field to resume racing going into lap 7. Off the jump, Matt Hoose got under Spies to take away 2nd place before more contact further back in the field resulted in several drivers having to come down pit road for repairs very early in the night to include Shepherd who could avoid an incident directly ahead of him.

Smith continued to lead the field as the green flag came back out with 14 laps completed. Hoose was able to hold 2nd place as Spies found himself under pressure from Aiden Smith clearing around the outside to take 3rd. Tyler Shadduck was coming up through the field trying to get around the outside of Michael Goodman but unable to complete the move getting loose which allowed several drivers past him on the inside line pushing him back to 8th. Young got to the outside of Hoose and was trying to repeat the move he made on Spies a few laps earlier getting a nose to the outside of Smith in the lead.

Smith held the lead leaving Young nowhere to go other than the outside line with Hoose still to his inside. Hoose conceded the battle allowing Young to clear around with Hoose slotting in behind him holding onto 3rd. On lap 43, an incident involving several drivers in the back half of the field blocked up the track on the backstretch as the leaders were coming around unaware and Smith was collected bring an unfortunate end to his strong run and giving the lead to Young for the restart going into the 2nd half of the night.

Mathew Thunhorst was quietly moving up through the field throughout the chaotic race patiently avoiding incidents and was up 15 spots into 3rd. With 40 laps remaining, Thunhorst was pressuring Young for the lead as the 2 drivers pulled away from the rest of the field. In a shocking upset, Shepherd and Shadduck made contact ending the point leader’s night early as Young and Thunhorst continued to battle for the lead with 28 laps to go.

Going into the final 8 laps, Thunhorst got a nose to the inside of Young running side by side with both drivers trying to get their nose out front. After a few tense laps, Thunhorst cleared into the lead and started to pull away from Young. Coming around the last corner, Mathew Thunhorst took the checkered flag over 1 second ahead of Aiden Young in 2nd place. Matt Hoose, Justin Morton, and Lowell Jewell round out the top 5 tonight at Southern National Speedway.

J R Shepherd continues to lead in the point standings, even with an unfortunate end tonight, with 371 points. Michael Goodman holds onto 2nd place with 294 points. Lowell Jewell sits in 3rd with 273 points with Mathew Thunhorst sitting in 4th with 269 points. Justin Morton rounds out the top 5 in the point standings with 241 points going into the next round of the season. The Bootleg Racing League now heads over to Hickory Motor Speedway for the next round of Season 21 on March 4th with all of the intense racing action brought to you live at 9PM ET exclusively on the Virtual Grip Network!

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