While three-time series champion Ryan Martin was unable to secure a fourth straight individual championship, he still rose to the occasion in what was truly the championship that defined the Street Outlaws No Prep Kings series in 2023: the $200,000-to-win team championship.
With double points on the line at the season six finale at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas on the line, Martin and his team, composed of heavy hitters Nate Sayler, Giuseppe Gentile, Robin Roberts, and Rich Bruder, leapfrogged the season-long leading squad of Kye Kelley and the team of fellow challenger “Daddy Dave” Comstock. Both Roberts and Bruder advanced to the semifinal round of competition, and Sayler to the quarterfinals, giving the team enough points to clinch the title. Kelley’s team didn’t put a single entry past round two, and Comstock’s group got to the quarters with Paige Coughlin and the final with rookie Clay Cole.
“This has been a tough season, a lot of ups and downs. But these guys, I picked these guys and they’ve done great for us as a team in many different ways individually , and when they say this is a team championship, it was absolutely that…an even effort from everyone onboard. I’m very proud of these guys.”
Sayler was traded to Martin’s team from Jay Boddie’s squad prior to the Martin, Michigan event on October 6, and was an immediate difference-maker for the team — he won that event at 131 Motorsports Park, and continued to stack on points. On the same day, Merchant was also sent by Boddie to Kelley’s group, and like Sayler, he began adding maximum points quickly, winning at GALOT Motorsports Park in his second weekend on the team. From there, it proved to be a team effort for both groups, relying on points accumulation from each and every member down the stretch.
Justin Swanstrom turned back what was a season of high hopes turned disappointment, winning his first invitational of the season Saturday evening over upstart racer Clay Cole. The Florida native, with nary a final round appearance all season prior to the Ennis event, advanced to the final round with wins over Chris Rankin, James “Doc” Love, John Odom, and Robin Roberts. Cole, for his part, got past David Gates, Jimmy Taylor, Sayler, and Bruder on his way to the money round. In the money round, Swanstrom got away evenly with Cole and steadily pulled away, crossing the stripe more than a car length ahead of Cole’s Camaro.
Swanstrom wrapped the season with 14-14 invitational round record, and despite the challenging season, finished tied for the 10th-most points scored overall in the invitational.
Ryan Martin won the season’s final Great 8 on Friday evening. He drew Sayler in round one and Lizzy Musi in round two, while final round opponent Merchant got past Kelley and Merchant.