The 2011 Show Me the Money racing season has seen great battles, come from behind wins, and above all, a lot of torn-up race cars. Among the great racing has been a tremendous amount of carnage in the four races leading up to Saturday’s round five. Round five was no different, as the 100 lap race trudged through 10 caution periods. Augie Grill was the driver to beat, leading the most laps, but two late-race restarts changed the complexion of the event and let series points leader Hunter Robbins grab his second Show Me the Money win of the season.
Robbins started off the season by winning the opener in early April. Since that first race, Grill had risen to the forefront as the man to beat. Consistency kept Robbins in the points lead, but the aggravation of constantly coming up short to Grill was the motivation his team needed to make their car better.
“I’m very proud of my guys,” said Robbins. “We’ve been working really hard on this car. (We have) just been tired of getting out-run by Augie; finishing second to him or top five. To get this win, we really worked for it.”
Work for it they did. Robbins battled back after a spin on lap 72, the result of contact with Bill Bethea III. After making pit stops to make adjustments on his car, and with the help of five additional yellow flags, Robbins found himself in prime position when Augie Grill had trouble on two late-race restarts.
“We had a good car from the start,” said Robbins. “We were trying to get up to the lead and got spun around in a couple of incidents. We were a little loose to start the race, so we can down pit road and made some adjustments to tighten it up and that ended up being too much. There were a lot of cautions tonight so we came back down pit road and made another adjustment, then the car was awesome from that point on. Somehow we managed to get through wrecks. It was a wild night. There were a lot of times we cleared wrecks by inches.”
Augie Grill’s take on the night wasn’t as optimistic. After leading most of the night, Grill’s car looked to get a bad restart on lap 80. It turns out that there was a bit of confusion on when to go. Grill pointed to confusion on firing at the restart point on the racetrack or to go at the drop of the green flag from the flag stand. Grill contested that he had been starting the race all night from the same spot, and that the lap 80 caution flew in part because of the jumble from the restart.
“I was the leader at the restart,” said Grill. “They said I jumped the start, then they caused a big wreck by throwing the caution. They said in the driver’s meeting to go off the flagman. I restarted at the same place every time and they never said anything.”
Kyle Benjamin, who was one of the fastest cars on track in both practice and the race, was the big loser in the lap 80 wreck. From his point of view it was Jake Moore, driver of the number 13 from the Mitch Smith stable, that ended his night after diving into turn three.
“The 13 took us out and he’s gonna get it next time,” said Benjamin. “That was unfortunate. We had something there for Augie at the end. We were good on the short run and I think it would have worked out pretty good for us... but you can’t fix stupid.”
Tyler Miles’ night was a roller coaster as well. His adventure started early in the night as he and Kyle Sirizzotti made contact, sending both spinning to bring out the race’s first caution. After the race, Miles told Speed 51 that he was happy with the night, and that they fought a tight condition much of the night. Miles’ third-place finish was his best of the season, and is a momentum builder going into the season finale’ Alabama 200.
“I wasn’t a terrible race,” said Miles. “We were fighting a tight condition in the center. We were good in and good off, but I just needed to use a little more brake, and a little bit more wheel to turn. I just couldn’t keep up my momentum as well as Augie and Hunter could. We got into two spins because of my tight condition, just got hit. Just one of those racing things, something you sign on for. We almost got through with no damage, a little bit on the left side here, but it didn’t affect the driving. There was another 15 laps to go after that, drove fine and we came home third.”
The season finale for the 2011 Show Me the Money Series will be on September 17-18, 2011 in the Alabama 200. After his win, Hunter Robbins goes into the 200 42 markers ahead of second place Jason Young. When asked what the key to winning the Alabama 200 would be, Robbins told us that much like in the rest of the Show Me the Money races this season, surviving the wrecks is the first key. He expressed that he was dumbfounded as to why there have been so many torn up race cars this season, but said that he and his team will be ready.
He finished off by saying, “We just want to be there at the end, and win the race. Hopefully we’ll have a big pay day come September.”