Kalamazoo, MI (Friday, June 4, 2021) - Entering Friday night’s Covid Klash XXVIII at the Kalamazoo Speedway, Steve Needles hadn’t had the finishes he would have liked over the past several years. That all changed this weekend as Needles swept the night and grabbed the big $5,000 payday.
His perfect night started in qualifying, topping the 16 car field. But then came the dreaded dice roll for the inversion, with Kalamazoo Speedway’s reputation for large inverts. Needles rolled an “8”, and added to the typical “6” for large events, it meant he would start 14th for the 100 lap feature event. That number seemed to be no problem for Needles as he knifed his way through the field, while also using patience at times.
By the halfway mark, Needles found himself running in the 2nd position. With 36 laps remaining, Needles worked underneath Doug True on the front stretch, and never looked back. Tyler Roahrig, who has been dominant in events at the West Michigan bullring in recent years, tried to keep pace with Needles. Inside 25 laps to go, Roahrig moved his #24 machine to the runner-up position. Roahrig seemed to be closing on Needles in the final 10 laps, but never got close enough to mount a challenge.
“Tyler’s so good here, he’s so good everywhere,“ commented Needles. “We tried to save a little bit for the end, but he was still going to have to pass us. I think we need to find a little more speed before we come back for the second Klash.”
Even though Roahrig had a nice runner-up finish, he was far from happy. “Steve was the best car no matter what, and we have some work to do. We could kind of keep pace there at the end, but that’s about it.”
Phil Bozell, who had a very consistent car all day, worked around True late in the event to put himself on the podium, and had another solid performance following his 2 wins in 2021 at Corrigan Oil Speedway.
“We were lacking a little bit of that rip off speed,” stated Bozell after the event. “Steve was fast all day. We’ll take a 3rd, take it home and get ready for Spartan.”
Also competing on Friday night were the Street Stocks, where Bubba Brooks took home the win in the Raber’s Rumble 50 lap feature event, and took home a cool $2,500.
Story - Rich Frantz, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Jim DenHamer File Photo