BARBERVILLE, FL (May 16, 2017) – Grant Ryals proved that his first career win at VLR last Wednesday night was no fluke, as the Florida native dominated race number two on the season at Volusia Speedway Park to go back-to-back to start the season. Ryals led all 45 laps in his Team D1RT sponsored Super Late Model to take the victory at the 1/2-mile oval.
In a race that was marred by seven caution flags, Ryals was able to take command after every restart and keep the number 16 Dirt Late Model ahead of a strong running Travis Marsh.
“It's awesome to come out here at VLR and be able to win the first two races of the season,” said Ryals after the race. "We had a really good car all night and I knew if I could manage the restarts that we could win this thing. Travis was really the only one to get too close to us but for the most part it was pretty smooth sailing.
Travis Marsh was making his first appearance at a VLR sanctioned race, and the Mississippi driver started and finished second after battling with Ryals for much of the race.
"We'll definitely take a top two finish in our first race at this series," said Marsh. "I'm not sure if we had anything for Grant or not but we were able to keep the car out of trouble and get a good finish so I'm happy about that."
Brandon Smith brought home a third place finish, but a mistake with two laps to go in the feature caused mayhem behind him. Smith made contact with the inside wall in turn two and shot up into the side of then third place driver Austen Semmelmann which caused Semmelmann to slow coming off the corner.
During the action, Howard Weaver, who started third but was in a lap one crash, was making his way back toward the front and slammed into the back of the slowed car of Semmelmann. This contact sent Weaver's car down the track and into the right rear of Bryce Sheasby.
Sheasby's car then violently shot up the track and into the slowed car of Semmelmann and both drivers collided with the outside wall. Fortunately all four drivers involved in the crash were OK, but were not able to finish the race as well as they had ran.
Two drivers who were able to take advantage of the crash were Eric Hough and Kory Kohler. Both drivers were able to quickly react and dive to the inside of the track and avoid much of the melee to record 4th and 5th place finishes, respectively.
"That crash looked really really bad," said Hough. "I hope they're all OK after that, but I can't complain about a fourth place finish. We were completely lost here earlier but things went our way and we took advantage of other people's mistakes and finished about as well as we could've hoped."
Chebanse, IL driver Kory Kohler held on for his third career top five at VLR. The Winview Games sponsored Toyota Camry of Howard Weaver came home sixth after the late race accident, and he was followed by Jon Smith, Bryce Sheasby, Austen Semmelmann, and last weeks hard-charger Trevor Denton in tenth.
In preliminary action, Grant Ryals set the TeamVLR.com fast time with a 15.71. Grant Ryals and Travis Marsh both won their heat races. Next week the Super Late Model tour heads to Lakeland, FL to USA Speedway where Ryals will look to three-peat to start the season here at VLR!
For the latest breaking news on the Team VLR Late Model Dirt Series, log onto www.teamvlr.com and follow the series at www.facebook.com/teamvlr.