It wasn’t without controversy but Cole Williams held off Jeremy Doss in the closing laps to win the Pro Late Model portion of the All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday night.
An incident inside of the final three laps left the car driven by Eric Nascimento disabled well off the racing groove. The next lap, a collision between Nick Joanides and Kyle Gottula caused their cars to slow on the frontstretch. Joanides was able to get back up to speed in an open area of the field, but Gottula struggled to get back up to full speed.
All of this happened with the leaders side-by-side for the win, Williams to the inside and Doss to the outside. As they caught the slow car of Gottula in Turns 1 and 2, Williams had no choice but to move up half a lane to squeeze by the lapped car. Doss and Williams made contact, enough to send Doss spinning.
“I don’t know what was happening with that lapped car,” Williams said after celebrating his victory. “I thought he was going to go low or get out of the way, but at the last second, he decided to stay on the track. Jeremy (Doss) and I have raced together for so many years, and I haven’t raced him like that. Those were fun laps, but I have to apologize to him.”
It appeared at the time that Williams either felt some guilt from the situation or thought the caution was coming as he slowed right away. Race officials never called a yellow flag, so the field raced back to the line for the finish. Luckily for Williams, he was able to get to the next corner before the new second place driver, Mike Beiler reeled him in.
“I slowed because I thought the yellow was coming out,” Williams explained. “I thank the good Lord above for allowing us to do this and put on a show. This wouldn’t be possible without him.”
For Doss, it was the second consecutive race in which he fell short of a potential All Star win due to racing incidents out of his control.
“Man this weekend is going to sting for a bit,” Doss shared on social media after Pro Late Models race.
Beiler had a front row seat of the race-deciding collision, and was able to close the gap to half a second. He couldn’t get close enough to Williams to use the bumper, but was still very happy with the night.
“I had a great front seat to a lot of duels,” Beiler stated in his podium interview. “What a great track and a great crowd. I had such a great time out there. I just want to thank my team. These guys put it together for me. Thought I had a chance there, just didn’t quite have enough for it at the end. It was just exciting.”
Irwindale regular Robby Hornsby started on pole and kept his car up front all night. Across the 100 lap race, he was able to avoid many incidents with lapped cars spinning, leaders crashing and even the No. 28 car of Tegan Harlen made heavy contact with the Turn 3 wall, catch fire and causing the only red flag of the race. Harlen was uninjured, able to climb out of his vehicle under his own power, but it was yet another incident near Hornsby.
“It’s been a while since I raced on the small track,” said the past Irwindale Speedway mini-stock champion. “Totally different car, but huge thanks to the team. I got a call and they asked if I wanted to race the car, so I said ‘Heck yeah!’ We’ve been having fun, and a good finish with a packed field. Thanks to my wife, the kids, my dad and my mom, everyone that came out.”
Lucas McNeil recovered from a spin on Lap 44 to finish fourth, and Matt Erickson, who led early, recovered from a late race spin to finish in the top five. Kyle Meyer fought and clawed his way up to sixth. Rob Kiemele, Doss, Ryan Schartau, and Nick Joanides completed the top 10 results.
Complete results from the $10,000-to-win Pro Late Model feature are listed below.
- Cole Williams
- Mike Beiler
- Robby Honsby
- Lucas McNeil
- Kyle Meyer
- Rob Kiemele
- Jeremy Doss
- Ryan Schartau
- Nick Joanides
- Kyle Keller
- Kenny Smith
- Matt Erickon
- Justin Westmoreland
- Kyle Gottula
- Bory Molina
- Holly Hollan
- Takuma Koga
- Tyler Herzog
- Eric Nascimento
- Parker Malone
- Mike Weimann
- Tegan Harlen