Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Results from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada -- With two rounds of the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway calendar completed, there are some early season trends being formed among a small group of successful racers. But, there are also a much larger number of Pure Stock, Thunder Car and Late Model rivals who are just as determined to start a winning streak of their own.
Entering Saturday night’s competition, Kyle Donaldson (#53) and Darren Kearnan (#55) sat tied atop the Late Model points standings, with Mark Gordon lurking just a single point in arrears. Following a pair of 10-lap heat dashes, there was no shifting of positions, with Donaldson and Kearnan splitting the race victories, their results setting up a ‘rubber match’ in the 20-lap feature.
A three-wide scramble into Turn Three on the opening lap allowed Scott Harrison to snatch the early lead, but he was ousted from that position one lap later by Kearnan. Donaldson, Gordon and Dwight Brown (#12b) followed to round out the top four on lap three.
The race leading pack remained locked in position, running bumper-to-bumper until lap 13 when Gordon, having gotten sideways powering off of Turn Four, was tagged by Brown, both drivers relegated to the tail end of the field for bringing out the yellow.
On the ensuing restart, Donaldson suddenly found his challenge sidelined when a brake caliper locked up, sending him into a spin, and ultimately, the pits.
Eventually back under green flag conditions, Kearnan launched away from his pursuers, but with five laps remaining, he noticed the now recovered Dwight Brown mounting a late race charge. Able to maintain his edge, Kearnan took the checkered flag a car length in front of Brown.
“It’s the longest race in the world when you’re leading,” admitted Kearnan. “Things were looking pretty good, but when I saw Dwight (Brown) closing up, it made me a little nervous.”
Gordon battled the final few laps with the #01s of Shannon Kimmerly, and was able to pass her for third place on the white flag lap.
Bob’s Towing Thunder Car
It was a ‘Battle of the Juniors’ as a pair of second-generation drivers fought it out for race supremacy in the Bob’s Towing Thunder Car feature event.
John Baker Jr. continued his early season hot streak by seizing the checkered flag in the evening’s opening heat sprint, but was forced to settle for the runner-up spot in Heat Two, chasing winner Ken Donaldson Jr. to the stripe.
The two would find each other again in the 20-lap feature, with Baker taking the low line through Turn Four to wrestle the point away from Donaldson on lap five. In a race that ran ‘clean and green’ to the end, Baker claimed his second feature race victory of the young season, cruising to the checkers with a six car length advantage over the #03 Chevy of Donaldson.
“This car was awesome tonight, and it had to be,” exclaimed Baker. “Everyone is getting quicker, quickly, so we have to work even harder to stay in front.”
Another second-generation racer, Chad Strawn (#77) had pressured Donaldson throughout the mid-portion of the race, but eventually faded, crossing the line in third place.
Lucas Oil Pure Stock
There is nothing quite as gratifying as scoring your debut race victory in your rookie season.
With a promising start to his career, with a heat race win in the season opener one week ago, Willy Howells completed a major objective by leading 18 (of 20) laps in the Lucas Oil Pure Stock finale, and earning his first feature race victory.
“We had some complications in practice, but our team, my family and friends, worked hard and got this car together and we won this thing,” exclaimed Howells.
“This is a new experience for me. It’s unbelievable.”
Jeff VandeBelt (#33) had claimed back-to-back heat race wins, but the opportunity for an evening sweep almost disappeared when he was given a stop-and-go penalty for jumping the start. However, VandeBelt rebounded with a spirited drive from the back, taking the checkered flag in second place, just four car lengths behind Howells.