(May 14th, 2023) – Ryan Messer (#1) made Super Late Model Series history Sunday afternoon by winning the Riverview Ford Season Opener at Speedway 660 – the first race in series history.
Messer, who led four times for forty-three laps, made the winning move on CRF teammate Steve Halpin (#03) with under 20 laps to go, and held him off before pulling away in the closing laps to seal the victory.
Messer would emerge in victory lane enthusiastic and a bit shocked, comparing the victory to his 2018 Pro Stock 250 triumph in the Geary Woods.
“That was unreal, I’m speechless. The 250 was a big, big win for me, but a lot of cars were wrecked out. This felt like we were one of the best cars and we put it in victory lane. That was awesome.”
Halpin led the most laps on the afternoon but would ultimately settle for second at the end after he and Messer put on a show for the lead in the final portion of the race. There was an equally heated battle for the final podium spot, with Lonnie Sommerville (#23) edging out pole sitter Dylan Gosbee (#16) for the third position. Dave O’Blenis (#48) rounded out the top five.
Several drivers made drives through the field throughout the day to finish with a top 10 result. Robbie MacEwen (#40) started twenty-fourth on the grid but fought to a sixth-place result after making several pit stops. Recovering from an injury, Ashton Tucker (#2) dipped into the pits early from a top 5 starting position but worked his way back inside the top 5 before settling for seventh. Nicholas Naugle (#08), the only Nova Scotia driver in the field, started nineteenth and overcame a pair of incidents to finish eight.
The race started with Cory Hall (#83) leading the opening laps, with Hall being part of an entertaining shuffling between the top 10 in the first third of the race, but an issue forced Hall to pit, and he would bounce back to finish ninth. Likewise, Mike Rodgers (#41R) ended up in the beach midway through the race, but it would be a tenth-place effort for Rodgers.
The 150-lap main event was slowed by fourteen cautions and took just over two hours to complete. Eleven lead changes amongst four drivers gave fans their money’s worth.
The Riverview Ford Season Opener began on Saturday with qualifying before rain forced the postponement of the 150-lap main event to Sunday. On Saturday, Mike Rodgers, Devin Snell (#10), Dylan Gosbee, and Dave O’Blenis captured heat race victories.
Twenty-eight competitors had checked in for the Riverview Ford Season Opener on Saturday, with Chris Duncan (#97) withdrawing due to mechanical issues, and Wyatt Alexander (#96) and Allison MacKinnon (#07) being forced to withdraw due to the event being pushed to Sunday.
Unofficially, Ryan Messer will lead the points after round one. The next race for the Super Late Model Series will be Saturday June 3rd at Petty International Raceway. A 4pm start time is slated for this one. Stay tuned to SLMS.ca, Super Late Model Series on Facebook, or @SLMSeries on other social media platforms for more information.