(Bowmanville, ON – June 11, 2013) After a one week, weather related delay, stock car racing returned to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway on June 8. And the performances produced by the Lucas Oil Pure Stocks, the Late Models and the Canadian Vintage Modifieds made the wait well worthwhile.
Lucas Oil Pure Stock
With the evening’s opening ceremonies completed, the Lucas Oil Pure Stocks took to the half-mile oval for their eight lap qualifying sprints.
Picking up where he had left off two weeks previously, defending series champion Willy Howells claimed the victory in the opening round, while the second dash saw Jeff Vanderbelt edge Howells by mere inches to capture the checkered flag.
If these two combatants were planning to break the victory deadlock with a win in the 15-lap feature, they must have lost sight of a third, front running member of the Pure Stock fraternity.
Henk Mulders, driver of the #45 Vos’ Independent/Link Greenhouses Integra, led the Pure Stock field to the green flag from pole position, and launched into the early lead.
While stable mate Vanderbelt (#33 Attention to Detail Automotive Acura) diced back and forth with Howells, Mulders was able to sneak away, increasing his advantage to four car lengths over the tussling tandem.
On Lap 4, Howells was able to poke the nose of the #19 Sanford Racing Engines Honda underneath Vanderbelt’s Acura as the pair exited Turn One, eventually emerging in the runner-up spot.
Closing in on the race leader, Howells narrowed the gap to a single car length on the white flag lap, and despite a determined, hard charge coming out of the final turn, could not wrestle the point away from Mulders, the Bowmanville driver scoring his first feature win of the season.
“It sounds funny, but I have to thank Willy for this win,” laughed Mulders. “I was missing something in the handling, so Willy, Jeff and I worked on the setup and we got it rolling pretty good.”
Vanderbelt held on to score a top three finish, crossing the stripe three car lengths behind the leading pair, with series sophomore Stuart Hinds (#57) and Scarborough’s Gary Fallis (#64 Ford) rounding out the lead lap finishers.
Dedicated fans of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway recognize that the defending Late Model champion Kyle Donaldson could not be shut out of the Winner’s Circle for very long. True to form, ‘Wheely’ picked up the challenge on Saturday and claimed the feature race win, becoming the third driver in as many weeks to claim the victor’s trophy.
Starting the 25-lap feature from the outside of the front row, Donaldson in his #53 Crowe Brothers Roofing Chevy enjoyed an early race scrap with pole sitter Mark Gordon, with previous race winner Darren Kearnan (#55 RMJ Trucking/ProTech Custom Exhaust Chevrolet) and Linc Brown (#99) following closely behind.
By Lap 3, Dwight Brown, (#12b) making a rare Late Model start, joined the front running train, the leading group slowly opening an advantage over the remainder of the Late Model pack.
A flurry of late race caution periods would regroup the field, but Donaldson continued his domination, and would lead all but one of the 25 laps on his way to the first feature race victory of the 2013 campaign.
“This field is so strong, and so close in the points, even though it’s early in the season every race is a point’s race,” stated Donaldson.
“I have to keep track of where everyone else is in the field, and where they are in the standings. But if you can pull off the win, the points will take care of themselves.”
Inheriting the runner-up spot when Mark Gordon cut down a tire on the #52 Boston Pizza Chevy, Linc Brown was able to fend off a late race surge from Dwight Brown to secure the position. Kearnan and Scott Harrison (#12) rounded out the top five.
Lucas Oil Canadian Vintage Modifieds
In June of last year, Adrian Donkers piloted his #6 – 1929 Studebaker into the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway Winner’s Circle, and on Saturday night, it appeared that the Elora, ON driver was heading for a repeat performance.
But Corey Jones and a dozen fellow Lucas Oil Canadian Vintage Modified rivals had other ideas.
Having split the 10-lap qualifying heat race wins with past champion Jason Keen (#18 – 1931 Chevy), Donkers was on a roll, and in the 25-lap feature contest, dispatched the #15 Ford of TJ Marshall on a Lap 3 restart to snatch the race lead.
Opening a slight advantage over his pursuers, Donkers was able to keep the battling trio of Jones (#82 – 1936 Dodge), Daryl Henwood (#29 – 1938 Dodge) and Keen safely behind him until a Lap 15 caution period regrouped the pack.
Powering hard into the first turn on the restart, Donkers “just overcooked the corner,” and slid high allowing Jones to tuck low, moving into top spot as the pair headed down the back straight.
“I could have been a little more aggressive, but I thought I had enough to get back around him,” explained Donkers.
Noted Jones, “He locked up going into (turn) One, but he gave me the line, he didn’t come back down on me.”
For the remaining ten laps, Jones, despite a worsening handling condition in the #82 Dodge, maintained his lead, eventually grabbing the checkered flag, and claiming his first win on the half-mile oval.
“Adrian never let up, I knew he was back there right to the end,” said Jones.
“My car was good for the first 15 laps, and after the yellow, it started to go off. If he hadn’t gotten high on the restart, I don’t think that I could have passed him.”
In a last lap scramble, Donkers and Keen encountered some slowed traffic as they came off of the long back straight, and Keen was able to take advantage of the situation to slip through to capture the runner-up position. Donkers was forced to settle for a third place result with Brian Atkinson (#92 – 1937 Dodge) and the #29 Dodge of Daryl Henwood rounding out the top five finishers.
Completing the top ten were Marshall (#15), Chris Milwain, struggling with a fuel issue, Mike Klotz (#46), Steve Trendell (#57) and Jeff Shaw (#81).
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For further information:
Ryan Chalmers, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
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Photo Credit – Wally Nesbitt