After having two bad finishes in a row, Kevin Cornelius and the KDR Motorsports team were not going to go racing this weekend. However, a late night decision on Friday night, followed by putting the motor back together after last week’s tear down, had the No. 17 Halton Crushed Stone Lee Sand and Gravel, Hanson Pipe, Sandbox Tech Child Care, Alliston Transmission, Ed’s Automotive and Fierce Wraps Late Model at the track. The team’s effort was rewarded at the end of the night as he would win the feature, 0.01 seconds ahead of Mike Bentley with a last lap pass.
Points leader Tom Walters would take his No. 47 Late Model to victory lane in the first heat for his sixth heat win of the year. Cornelius would finish second, followed by Dario Capirchio, Ernie Fumerton and Bruce Rankin.
Mike Bentley would win the second heat in his No. 51 Late Model for his fifth heat win of the year. Chris Morrow would finish second, followed by Gary Elliott, Sean Grosman and Taylor Holdaway.
Walters would go for the sweep as he would win the third heat, followed by Scott Beatty, Cornelius, Jason Witty and Keith Maiato.
Morrow would win the final heat behind the wheel of his No. 11 Morrow Electric and CRS Rental Late Model for his fourth heat win of 2012. Sean Cronan would finish second, followed by Bentley, Holdaway and Grosman.
Virtue of his points position and qualifying effort, Bruce Rankin would start his No. 55 Rankin’s Automotive Late Model on pole for the 30-lap feature. Ernie Fumerton would start second, followed by Gary Elliott, Sean Grosman, Dario Capirchio, Taylor Holdaway, Scott Beatty, Chris Morrow, Sean Cronan, Kevin Cornelius, Mike Bentley, Tom Walters, Keith Maiato, Jason Witty, Billy Zardo, Frank Davey and Kyle Mombourquette.
Rankin would grab the early lead on lap one, ahead of Fumerton, Elliott, Grosman and Capirchio. Elliott would make his way by Fumerton on lap two, taking the lead from Rankin on lap three. So at lap four, it was Elliott leading Rankin while Fumerton battled with Capirchio for third.
Beatty would make a three-wide move on lap five, passing both Fumerton and Capirchio to move into third. Though the caution when then come out when Chris Morrow would stall on track with a distributor problem. After going back a lap in scoring, Elliott held the lead in his No. 36 Quaker State, JDS Insurance, Lincoln Electric, Auto Spa, Timber Green Landscape and Grind Stone Landscape Late Model, ahead of Rankin, Beatty, Capirchio, Fumerton, Holdaway, Grosman, Cronan, Bentley, Walters, Cornelius, Witty, Maiato, Zardo, Davey and Mombourquette.
On the restart, there’d be another caution as Fumerton would spin on the front stretch and make contact with the inside wall after contact from Holdaway. This would put Holdaway to the back as an involved car.
On the second attempt at a restart, Elliott would jump out ahead of the field, well Beatty looked to pass Rankin for second. Beatty would complete the pass on lap eight for second past Rankin, ahead of Grosman while Capirchio and Bentley battled for fifth. Bentley would make the pass on Capirchio on lap nine while Grosman looked for a way by Rankin for third on lap 10.
At lap 12, it was Elliott continuing to lead, now ahead of Beatty, Grosman and Bentley while Walters battled Rankin for fifth. Walters would complete the pass on lap 13, with Cornelius looking for a way around Rankin for sixth. Though that same lap, the caution would come out as Kyle Mombourquette would stall his car.
On the restart, Elliott would once again to jump out to the lead well Beatty and Grosman battled for second. Though the caution would come out the next lap as Walters would try to make the battle for second three-wide going into turn three, causing contact between the three cars with Beatty going for a spin. As a result, all three cars were put to the back of the field as involved cars. This would allow Bentley to move up to the second position behind Elliott. Cornelius was now up to third, followed by Cronan, Rankin, Capirchio, Witty, Zardo, Davey, Holdaway, Fumerton, Maiato, Beatty, Walters and Grosman.
On the restart, Bentley would make the pass on Elliott for the lead while Cornelius looked for a way around Elliott for second. Though the caution would then come out as Davey would go for a spin.
The restart would go off cleanly and with 13 laps to go, it was Bentley leading Cornelius, Elliott, Cronan and Capirchio. The field would stay in that order all the way till a caution with two laps to go for Rankin getting into the frontstretch wall.
On the restart, Kevin Cornelius would keep alongside Mike Bentley and they would stay that way all the way to the checkered with Cornelius winning by 0.01 seconds at the line. It’d mark the third feature win of the season by the defending series champion. The driver dedicated the win to the team for their hard work so far this year.
“The guys had put so many hours, (car owner) Dick had put so much money into trying to get this right, trying to work with Mike McColl to get it right, still fighting it,” Cornelius said in victory lane. “Actually have been fighting it since the end of last year.”
Following an 18th and 14th in the last two features, the KDR Motorsports was ready to park the car for the season.
“But come Friday night, the guys got antsy so the boys worked their butts off and jammed it back together and worked late into Friday night to get it done,” Cornelius said. “This is for all them.”
Coming into the night, Cornelius sat 51 points behind Walters for the lead in the points. With that being said, the plan for the No. 17 team from here on out is come out and enjoy these final races of the season as the driver officially announced he will not be running a full schedule next year.
Bentley would finish second for his seventh feature top five of 2012 with Gary Elliott getting third for his third feature top five. Sean Cronan would finish fourth for his seventh feature top five with Jason Witty rounding out the top five. Dario Capirchio finished sixth, followed by Taylor Holdaway, Tom Walters and Scott Beatty.
I stress these results for positions sixth and back are highly unofficial as I didn’t get them written as quickly as warranted when the cars crossed the finish line. Please check the track website for the official results.