The weather was great and twenty four of the fastest Pro Late Models were ready for action. The first race in the series was at Sunset Speedway a few weeks back and Brandon Watson was victorious on the track. But after a trip to the "tomb of doom", four out of the top five cars were disqualified and the top spot was taken by the last man standing in the top five, J.R. Fitzpatrick. The night would get started shortly after 6pm with Bennett G.M. Pole Qualifying for the APC United Late Models. Twenty four cars would set down times and by the time the top point runners were out, the track was primed and ready for the track record to be challenged. Ryan Kimball looked as though he might set the quick time but Brandon Watson and J.R. Fitzpatrick had other ideas. Watson would set a new track record with a fast time of 14.855 and one lap later Fitzpatrick also bettered the previous record time, falling just short of the pole with a 14.904. The field was set and the cars all were pit side ready to do battle later in the evening.
PHOTO GALLERY: JUNE 2, 2018 FLAMBORO BY DEREK SMITH - www.RacePulse.com
The first feature of the night was for the McClurkin Properties of Cambridge Pure Stocks. Leo Labarbera and Travis Hofstetter led the field to green. Labarbera led early and would soon battle with the 0 car of Phil Givens. Heading through 3-4 on lap 4, Givens would assume the lead and then battle Rodney Rutherford, Dylan Sharpe and Chris Pendlebury. Givens and Rutherford started to break from the pack and would be neck and neck down the backstretch. Lap 13 Rutherford would make his way past Givens to take the lead. A couple laps later the right rear wheel was off Pendlebury's car bringing out the caution and then red as the scene was cleared. Blake Near also had some issues. He was off and on trying to make it work but would be off. Near had a rough night. I understand he was missing his helmet when he got to the track so had to scramble to get one and then had some bad luck on the track. Hope for better luck next week for Blake! On the restart, Rutherford would continue to lead and hold off the pack to take the checkered flag.
The Klotz Auto Repair & Engine Machine Shop Mini Stocks were up next and twenty cars were ready for battle. These girls and guys are primed and ready for their first really big race of the season next Sunday, June 10th as the Flamboro Nationals will take place. I understand that 55 Mini Stocks have given their intent to show up and they will battle for just 30 spots. Should be pretty amazing! Kyle Istead and David Gallinger were on the pole and Istead led one. Nice to see Istead having a good start to the season, with some consistent top five finishes. This division has a lot of top runners and this will be a dog fight all season long. The battle of the Jakes will likely be one to watch as Watson and Gilbert battled early. Another top runner is Shawn Taylor. He has had some good runs but also some really bad luck over the past year or so. Talking to Mark Thorne who had the car out for Shawn in practice. He said the team seems to have diagnosed the issue and hope the bad luck is behind them. if his two finishes on this night are any indication, that seems like in just might be the case. Watson, Gilbert and Taylor battled early and got by Istead. Taylor had a bit of a bobble and that allowed the two Jakes to get clear. Watson would be the new leader on lap 8 and he would look back and took the checkers.
After a brief intermission, the APC United Late Models lined up on the front stretch. Each driver was introduced and we were ready for the Interstate Batteries 100. Ryan Kimball was on the pole after the top 10 cars were inverted based on the points standings. Kimball would lead early and would have a mirror full of Shawn Chenoweth early. By lap 7, Chenoweth and Brandon Watson were side by side and as the went through 3 and 4 a few laps later Watson moved Kimball and was the new leader. Kimball got stuck on the outside and the freight train of cars passed him and before long Kimball was back to sixth.
The first caution of the race came on lap 20 as Rick Burbridge and Jr. Farrelly tangled on the front stretch. Watson and Chenoweth were side by side on the restart and Watson took advantage of Chenoweth going high in two to get past but a caution behind them as Mat Box, Jade Franklin, and Paighton Jacobs got involved. Chenoweth would head to the pits under caution and would return to the track at the back of the pack. This put Andrew Gresel up along side Watson for the restart and he would be the leader. A few laps later heading into one, the hood of Farrell's car flipped up and he drove around a few laps hoping it would close and slowed enough that is started to but the caution flew. Watson once again continued to lead. Further back Fitzpatrick got past Matt Pritiko on lap 37 for fourth and Shawn Chenoweth who was at the rear of the pack after pitting was moving up clicking off spots. Lap 43 saw another caution as the 10 car of Tom Gibbons made a hard and quick right turn into the wall in 3-4. Watson and Gresel battled but another caution on 45 slowed the field. Next lap saw another caution, you guessed it in 3-4 as the 31 was around. As the cars lined up for the restart, the crowd was incensed as Watson still held pole. Looking at the replay its hard to tell who actually led but I guess the transponders don't lie. Or do they. When you're 81 or 9 its hard to say which one will get the call since one or the other always do. One fan in particular was very voicetress and kept chanting "Anyone but 9". This got a huge cheer for the crowd.
A few laps later through 3-4 Fitzpatrick and Gresel made contact and this allowed Fitzpatrick to move past and go to second. At the half way mark, the Gresel and Treyten Lapcevich were battling and as they past the flag stand the starter waved the rolled up yellow flag at Lapcevich. Heading down the back stretch the two made contact and Lapcevich was around facing the wrong way and Gresel hits the pits with some front end damage. Apparently there was a fight later in the pits involving the two teams. By lap 63, Shawn Chenoweth made his way all the way back to fourth spot after taking up position at the rear earlier. The same lap Fitzpatrick battled Watson and much to the delight of the crowd Fitzpatrick was the leader for a short time but Watson with a nice crossover move in 3-4, took the lead back. A few laps later as the leaders were approaching a lapped car, Watson made contact with Paighton Jacobs sending her a round and that collected quite a few of the cars that had a full head of steam heading out of four. Once again, the crowd went crazy. They couldn't figure out how the lead car spun another car and wasn't shown the rear of the field. It appears in my opinion a couple of cars in this series have a free pass. After a caution, Watson and Fitzpatrick continued their battles. On lap 79 heading into one, Fitzpatrick got his nose under the back of Watson and knocked him off pace enough to get past and take the lead out of two. The starter gave the 84 car a warning on the way past. As the cars went through 1-2. Matt Pritiko shove Watson up the track and he was followed by Chenoweth through sending Watson to fourth. Once again the crowd went nuts. A few laps later, Watson moved past Chenoweth to take third. On lap 87 the leaders were heading through 1-2 and Watson moved Pritiko and was up to second. With ten laps to go, Fitpatrick's lead was about a half a straight away and it looked like Watson was slowly gaining on the leader. Five to go and Watson was closing the gap and the leaders were approaching lapped traffic but Fitzpatrick was able to hold off Watson and picked up the checkered flag and in a very exciting finish.
Two features remained and the Pure Stocks were first. Courtney Scott and Mark Dennis led the field to green. Scott led early followed by Travis Hofstetter. Rodney Rutherford got by Hofstetter on lap seven for the lead and built up a half straight away lead and made it a clean sweep on the night picking up both feature wins.
The Mini Stocks would close out the night with their second 20 lap feature. "The Pavement Princess" Kaitlyn Wallace lined up beside Jonathan Ayrton and Wallace was the leader after one. She led a few laps but the 81 of Karl Sault soon was breathing down her neck. Mark Klotz brought out the caution with a spin in one and that brought the field to even. On the restart, Wallace got off to a good start but heading down the back stretch Sault seemed to get the upper hand on the outside and took the lead followed by Wallace's teammate Wayde Thorne. She slowed and a few laps later headed for the pits. A caution the next time past as Matt Young made contact with the rear bumper of Erik Dalla Riva's Mustang. Sault battled Jake Gilbert on the restart for a few laps with Sault eventually moving out in front as the raced approached half way. Shawn Taylor's good night continued as he moved to second. They would battle the rest of the way along with Jake Watson. Another great battle was between David Gallinger and Kyle Istead. As the checkers flew it was Sault followed by Taylor and Watson edged Gilbert at the line. Matt Young rounded out the top five.
That brought to a close a very exciting night of racing. Join us next weekend for a doubleheader race weekend. Saturday pits open at 4pm, front gates at 5pm with racing at 630pm when the Grisdale Late models make their return and are joined by the Ray’s Auto Centre & Towing Super Stocks, the Klotz Auto Repair & Engine Machine Shop Mini Stocks, the McClurkin Properties Pure Stocks and the Pro Four Modifieds. It's $500 Klotz Automotive Bonus Night with the top three overall finishers June 9th (2x20lap features) & June 10th (50 lap feature) receiving : 1) $250 2) $150 3) $100. Cars running June 9th must be Flamboro legal but do not require a membership.
And Sunday is Round one of the Flamboro Nationals. Pits open at 1pm, front gates at 3pm with racing at 4pm. Three 50 lap Invitationals for Super Stocks, Mini Stocks and Pure Stocks. Total prize money is $16,350 plus lap sponsors. The Mini Stock laps are all sold and many are for the other two divisions. If you still want to sponsor laps, they are available!! Super Stock winner gets $1500 while Mini and Pure Stock winners get $1000. I hear that 55 Minis are confirmed for just 30 spots in the big race! Should be amazing!! Get all the details at www.flamborospeedway.ca
Thanks to Derek Smith www.racepulse.com for the great pictures and to Ingrid Hartman for the videos. You can follow her on youtube at petalpower51.