INDIANAPOLIS – The start of a new era began for the NSTA Top Speed Modified Tour with the crowning of a first time winner on Sunday.
Michigan driver Blake Rowe inherited the lead with nine laps remaining when former series champion Chad Poole dramatically slowed on the back straight. Rowe would hang on to win, his first victory with the series.
Sunday’s race at Lucas Oil Raceway marked the first race for new series owner John Robbins, who purchased the series during the offseason.
Rowe started seventh in the 32-car field and didn’t crack the top five until lap 19 when the caution flag waved for a spin by Darrin Bowman. With Jonathan Martin holding the point on the restart, Poole, Rowe and Tyler Nuckles drove around Matt Dimit and four laps later Rowe took the lead from Martin.
In what could have been a devastating end to the day, just five laps later Rowe was black-flagged and moved back to the fourth spot for jumping the restart. It only took him two laps to get back to second.
While that was going on, Poole had taken the lead from Nuckles with 12 laps remaining as Nuckles’ day came to an end in turn four. Shortly thereafter Rowe would take the lead when Poole’s car suddenly slowed.
Rowe was followed to the checkers by Doug Meyer and Dimit.
“We worked on the car all night and made a lot of changes,” Rowe said of his first ever visit to Lucas Oil Raceway. “Just to be able to race against these guys is special. After five laps the car would come alive.” he said.
With the victory Rowe locks himself into the Top Speed Modified feature at Bristol Motor Speedway in May.