By Spencer Lewis - Sunset Speedway kicked off the 2013 season in front of a spectacular crowd on a beautiful May 4thevening. The grandstands were full, as was the pit paddock, with Sunset’s headline Limited Late Model division treating the fans to one of the best opening night events the speedway’s seen in recent history.
Guelph, ON’s Mike ‘Lights Out’ Bentley (No. 51 Latitude Land Effects Chevrolet) spent the entirety of the afternoon atop the practice charts, and rattled off a pair of heat race victories en route to top-qualifier honours. The 2012 winner of Sunset’s ‘crown jewel’ Velocity 250 event, Bentley entered into the evening’s A Main a heavy favourite for the victory.
Starting alongside 7-time track champion ‘Mr. Excitement’ Chris Morrow (No. 11 Morrow Electric/Contractor Rental Supply Chevrolet), Bentley would waste little time propelling himself to the front, overtaking Morrow by the time the field crossed the stripe on lap-2.
From there, Bentley would open up a commanding lead – through a number of late race restarts – to hold off Morrow and defending track champion Stompin’ Tom Walters (No. 47 Knightworks Designs/Pro Floor Sanding & Refinishing Ford).
“We couldn’t be happier. After 2 heat wins and a feature like that – we’re stoked” beamed Bentley in victory lane.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, responded Bentley when asked about any off-season changes to his McColl Racing Enterprises chassis, “We came out strong. This is a great way to start the season.”
When asked about his late-race restarts with Morrow, Bentley smiled and nodded, “Those restarts are tricky. I had to pull a few tricks out of my sleeve to keep the lead”
With a pair of heat race victories and a feature triumph, ‘Lights Out’ will carry the unofficial points lead into week 2 of the Sunset season on May 11th.
In Super Stock action, 2012 Sunset champion Randy ‘The Rocket’ Rusnell (No. 72 Spira Fire Protection/Marvin Freiburger & Sons Truck Repair Monte Carlo) turned in an evening every bit as dominant as Mike Bentley. The Cambridge, ON star took down a pair of qualifying heat race victories, before overcoming a tremendous side-by-side battle with 17-year old fan favourite Lane Zardo (No. 46 Holmes on Homes/National Exhaust Monte Carlo) for the feature win.
Warren Paxton crossed the stripe in third, in Graham Landscape Limited Mini Stock action, but after a discrepancy in tech removed on-track winner Ryan Oosterholt and teammate Chris Mulders from the final rundown, the Holland Landing, ON veteran walked out with the feature win trophy. Paxton managed a pair of runner-up finishes in both of his heat races, and confirmed in his post-race interview that he will be looking for a track championship in 2013.
LIMITED LATE MODEL
1) Mike ‘Lights Out’ Bentley Guelph, ON
2) Stompin’ Tom Walters Bradford, ON
3) ‘Mr. Excitement’ Chris Morrow Anten Mills, ON
4) Scott Beatty Barrie, ON
5) ‘The Bully’ Dwayne Baker Stayner, ON
1) Randy ‘The Rocket’ Rusnell Cambridge, ON
2) ‘Young’ Lane Zardo Brampton, ON
3) ‘The Prodigy’ Cayden Lapcevich Grimsby, ON
4) Matt Bentley Guelph, ON
5) Paul Maltese Alcona Beach, ON
1) Warren Paxton Holland Landing, ON
2) Ben Melenhorst Stayner, ON
3) Ken Townsend Barrie, ON
4) Nicole Podewils Barrie, ON
5) Terry Clodd Holland Landing, ON