Goraum scores on 2nd chance at win

During the final laps of the Snowball Derby Bomber feature race, Mike Goraum started to have d�j� vu.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh, no, not again,’ ” said Goraum, a Cantonment resident, from Victory Lane at Five Flags Speedway late Thursday night. “I can’t let this lapped car get me.”

A lapped car got in Goraum’s way in last year’s Derby Bomber race, catching one of his tires and ending his chance at a victory.

But not this year.

Goraum led the final 19 laps of the 30-lap race, making a tricky pass around a lapped car and holding off a challenge from 16-year-old Courtney Rodrigues to end his final racing season with another notable victory. Goraum won the points championship at Five Flags in September.

“This feels fantastic,” Goraum said. “We ran well the whole season and won the championship, it’s a great way to go out.”

“It took a lot of luck and attrition,” he added, while standing next to his No. 5 car. “This isn’t even my regular car. This is my back-up.”

Goraum had already sold the car he raced during the regular season.

“This car is for sale, too,” he said.

Goraum, who started from the pole, was passed by Jay Jay Day on the second lap but then regained the lead on Lap 12, following the race’s second and final caution. He put a comfortable distance between himself and Rodrigues before Goraum got stuck behind the last-place car in the 24-car field.

That’s when Rodrigues, who led for two laps, made her move.

With just two laps left in the race, Rodrigues closed in on Goraum and tried to pass him on the inside. But Goraum found his way around the lapped car and barely held off Rodrigues for the win.

“This is pretty much the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Rodrigues, a Pensacola resident. “This is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

The second-place finish completed Rodrigues’ second season racing in the Bomber division.

Following disqualifications to Brian Lane and Tally Warwick, third place went to Gary Goodwin and fourth place to Brandon M. Burks.

The Bomber race, the first feature race during Snowball Derby week, got off to a sluggish start with two cautions and one red flag in the first 11 laps.

The red flag was brought out on Lap 9 when Chad Roberts spun coming out of Turn 1, causing a five-car crash. The accident was Roberts’ second of the night. In an earlier qualifying race, Roberts hit a wall on the first lap and then battled through the remaining nine laps to finish third and win a spot in the feature race.

The first caution flag was brought out on Lap 4 when Shane Scott spun Derek Long on the back straightaway.

Tony Jones brought out the second caution flag when he spun out Alan Seitz, who lost a tire, in Turn 2.