A picturesque evening in Lyndon Station, WI, set the stage for the Alive For 5 Super Late Model Series’ “Badgerland 125” at Dells Raceway Park. A starting field full of heavy hitters looked to be a challenging task for any one driver.
Gabe Sommers unloaded his No. 15 from the hauler, ready to roll, as this event had been one that the entire crew had looked forward to up to this point of the season. Missing key crew and family members Max and Jeff, the team looked a little lighter than usual in manpower, yet the goal remained the same.
A quick technical inspection was completed, and soon enough it was time for practice. Sommers was able to get the No. 15 on track multiple times throughout the half-hour-long session, making consistent improvements before landing in the 8th spot at the conclusion of practice. The Travis Sauter-led crew went to work on Gabe’s car, doing their best to meet the needs of the driver. Just a short while later, it was time for their second and final practice session of the day. The changes showed, and Sommers narrowed his gap to the top of the leaderboard by half a tenth, and improved to seventh on the speed charts.
Seventh continued to trend for Gabe, slotting in that same spot twice more during the scuff and qualifying sessions. Duel-style heat races were on the docket as well, with your finishing position in your heat determining your starting spot in the feature. Rolling off from fourth in the “Odd Heat,” a log jam of race cars prevented any forward momentum for the No. 15, relegating him to a fifth-place finish and locking him into a ninth-place starting spot for the Badgerland 125.
Nineteen cars took the green flag for the 125-lap main event, and with tight racing throughout the field, it would take some strategy to work through traffic. With the help of Tucker Miller, usually the tire guy for GSR, up on the spotter’s stand, Gabe was able to pick his way up into the top five of the running order by lap 34. A caution just ten laps later would allow the No. 15 to slide into the second spot on the restart, which he would hold on to through the break at lap 75/125.
Multiple cautions dotted the final fifty laps of racing action, changing the chassis handling. Sommers would lose the second spot on lap 105 as he began to fight the handling while the laps wound down. Another restart would cost Gabe one more spot, which he would hold on to until the end, crossing the line in fourth.
Another top-five finish continued a statistical dream for GSR, notching his tenth of the year in just 22 starts. The momentum will be carried along to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the ASA Midwest Tour’s only trip of 2023 to Hawkeye Downs Speedway. A technical half-mile track, you’ll see many searching for grip among a multitude of lines that will force driver and spotter to work hand in hand to stay one step ahead of the competition. You can tune in on Saturday, August 19, at 3 PM CST to watch Gabe defend his points lead in the “Hawkeye 100” on MidwestTour.tv.