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1January 5th, 2014 - In most events a 2nd place finish in the main event would bring nothing but smiles to the face of Eric Cooley, but a runner-up finish for the personable young driver on Sunday afternoon in the 23rd Annual Ice Bowl at Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, Alabama) proved to be a bit of bitter pill to swallow. (Heath Lawson Photo)

Super Late Model competition in the annual event began on Saturday afternoon with time trials being contested for the 64 entries on hand. Cooley's weekend started on a great note as he powered his #33b Bryson Motorsports Barry Wright to the fastest time of qualifications with a 14.708 second lap around the 1/3 mile oval.

Via his qualifying performance Cooley locked into the pole position for his heat race, which he won to move onto the pole starting spot for Sunday afternoon's finale. As the finale went green Cooley jumped to the lead with fellow front row starter, William Thomas giving chase. The first half of the race found Eric cruising at the front of the pack, but by the halfway point he was encountering heavy, lapped traffic. With daytime conditions making passing difficult Cooley pressured the backmarkers before he was collected in a melee with a lapped car. The lapped car was credited with the caution, and Eric was reinstated as the leader. However, his entry sustained considerable damage in the accident, which made it a handful to control.

Over the remainder of the Cooley battled an extremely tight race car, and his battles came to a head on the white flag lap, when his car pushed exiting turn four, which allowed Thomas to slip past for the lead and the win. Eric finished a disappointing 2nd.

Full results from the event are available at