PLOVER, WI (for immediate release)

Many witnessed the dawn of a new era in Super Late Model racing kick off at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The weight of the ASA STARS National Tour’s inaugural event was not to be ignored, nor was Gabe Sommers’ run through the field, broadcasted to a national audience.

The weekend started off rather damp, with rain showers pushing back practice into the early evening, throwing many teams for a loop with a green racetrack. The GSR team focused on the fundamentals. Make sure the car felt solid, and run laps as the track changed into the night with more and more rubber being laid down. Times were not indicative of what Travis Sauter and the crew had in store for Saturday, as Gabe sat in the 20th spot of the 35 car field throughout Friday’s practice sessions.

Saturday brought forth better track conditions and a chance for the GSR team to show their muscle. Gabe was able to fire off a lap time good enough for ninth position in the one and only practice session of the day, proving that the No. 15 was a contender in Florida. Rolling into qualifying, Sommers felt he had good race pace, knowing that the attrition of a long race would be his biggest opponent. A 25th place qualifying effort wasn’t ideal, but it certainly didn’t take away the confidence of the team as the sun began to set.

200 laps around Five Flags Speedway test man and machine, pushing both to their limits each and every lap. The guarantee of only green flag laps counting gave Travis Sauter and crew plenty of time to adjust on the No. 15 Mustang to get it to Gabe’s liking as the track changed with 35 of the nation’s best Super Late Model drivers working the abrasive surface. Gabe was able to swiftly work his way into the top twenty of the running order, and continued picking off drivers before settling in around 15th, and watched on as the cards began to unfold.

“The car was very good over a long run, but we struggled a little bit on short run speed. I have started deep in the field before, so I knew that I could get up front just had to play thing/ out and have a few things go our way,” Gabe said. “We didn’t have to change much outside of tire pressures on pit stops, which let us manage our race with consistent pace”. 

Caution after caution allowed Gabe to reset himself within the field, and use lane choice to his advantage with guidance from brother and spotter Max Sommers. On the cusp of the top 10, a melee on the frontstretch involving the two leaders scattered the field, forcing Gabe into evasive maneuvers, narrowly avoiding a spinning Jake Finch. Smooth sailing came soon after, allowing Gabe to get to work and pick off a few more cars before finishing the grueling 200 lap, 3 hour long marathon in an impressive sixth place.

Gabe was all smiles afterwards with his crew, feeling positive about the future of the team. “We’ve definitely made strides over the offseason and during our time in Florida this winter, hopefully we can bring some of that home with us as we get ready for the Midwest season to kick off”.

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