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March 25, 2023

BRL SLM S21 R1 Recap

by Ryan Senneker

24 March 2023
Bootleg Racing League | Season 21 | Round 1
Super Late Model Series | New Smyrna Speedway

James Tiernan took the first win of the new season tonight in the Bootleg Racing League Super Late Model Series at New Smyrna Speedway ahead of Aiden Young and Tyler Shadduck. “On the other broadcast, I called out all the late model guys to come over and try our stuff, so I figured I come over here”, Tiernan shared with us as he considers himself a primarily sprint car driver. Admitting that he never had to deal with pit strategies before tonight, he joked, “I’m surprised about how well I did after that pit cycle… Once I realized the people on the lead lap would kind of shuffle back through the pack even if they pit I was like ‘Oh, well, I should do that!'”

Tyler Shadduck with Refined Motorsports led the 22-car field around to take the green flag on opening night for Season 21 with Aiden Young to his outside. Off the jump, J R Shepherd was able to get under Young clearing up into 2nd as the front runners were aggressively going after positions early in the night. Young was able to slot into 4th behind James Tiernan while Shepherd kept the pressure up on Shadduck out front with the front 4 drivers breaking away from the rest of the field.

With the first 25 laps behind them, Shadduck began to build up a gap between himself and Shepherd as Tiernan moved up into 3rd and was challenging Shepherd for 2nd. Coming out of tour four on lap 30, Shepherd made contact with the outside wall and Tiernan was left with nowhere to go spinning Shepherd down to the infield dropping far back in the running order. Shadduck still had a strong hold on the lead with over 1 second back to Tiernan and another 2 seconds from Tiernan back to Young.

Lap traffic became an issue 50 laps into the night. Tiernan continued to pressure Shadduck trying to get his nose under the leader several times unsuccessfully with Shepherd multiple laps down from his earlier incident close on Tiernan’s bumper trying to get one of his laps back. Shepherd was able to tuck in behind Shadduck after Tiernan touched the outside wall losing enough momentum for Shepherd to quickly clear around him while Shadduck aggressively negotiated through dense traffic.

Tiernan was getting impatient as Shadduck struggled to keep pace leading to contact between the two drivers as Tiernan got around into the lead as they approached the halfway point of the run. Matt Hoose was the first car to come down pit road signaling to the rest of the field to come down in 2 or 3 car groups lap after lap with Tiernan regaining the lead as all drivers completed their pit cycle and resumed racing with 84 laps remaining. Shadduck was running in 2nd but found himself being challenged by Young as the laps counted down.

Young was patiently working on Shadduck when he got loose and made hard contact with the outside wall on lap 157 coming down pit road under caution for tires and rejoining the track still on the lead lap in 2nd place while Shadduck stayed out to take the lead and was running on almost 60 lap old tires. Off the jump, Young quickly single filed out behind Shadduck to block Tiernan’s advance in the first corner, but Tiernan made contact going into turn three sending Young around in the middle of the track.

Young was able to recover the spin and continue running in 3rd with 37 laps to go. Jeffery Hardin was having a quiet race patiently making his way up through the field and found himself closing on Young and the battle for the lead between Tiernan and Shadduck. Tiernan took the lead which allowed Young to dive low and follow him around into 2nd as Shadduck struggled on the older tires. Going into the final moments, James Tiernan was proving to be dominant tonight claiming the first win of the season with Aiden Young, Tyler Shadduck, Jeffery Hardin, and Mark Hertzog rounding out the top 5 tonight at New Smyrna Speedway.

James Tiernan starts the season off strong coming out of the night with the points lead ahead of Aiden Young and Tyler Shadduck. The drivers of the Bootleg Racing League will be back in 2 weeks to tackle Myrtle Beach Speedway on April 7th with the action going live at 8:10PM ET only on the Virtual Grip Network!

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