Close, but not quite enough. Mike Bentley raced hard all season, fought back from early season adversity and came up short, finishing second in Limited Late Model points at Sunset Speedway to Tom Walters.

The battle between the pair was memorable for fans, as there were a lot of highlights throughout the summer.

“Racing against Tom made me a better driver,” Bentley said. “You got to be on your game cause if you’re not, then he’s going to get by you.”

The season didn’t start off the way Bentley wanted as he destroyed his primary car on opening night, while wrecking on the last lap on the second night. However, he was able to bounce back and climb through the standings after picking up a division high five victories.

In the process, Bentley had some other memorable moments, including a second place finish to Taylor Holdaway late in the season.

Taylor is getting better,” Bentley said. “He beat me once this year. I know how he beat me…..We were coming off turn four and somehow the 41 car got closer and closer to me and put me in the wall and got the victory.”

Beyond his success at Sunset, Bentley picked up his second straight Gary Reynolds Memorial win at Barrie Speedway while winning the 112 lap Open Late Model Autumn Colors features.

“We could not had been happier,” Bentley said of that win. “That’s the top. I think that race, it is talked as one of the toughest races every year.”

Bentley has made it known that he will be back at Sunset in 2013.

“We’ll be back at Sunset for that championship after narrowly missing it last year,” Bentley said. “We got to come back and win it.”

However, it won’t be easy for Bentley in 2013. The competition at Sunset Speedway has been talked about across Ontario, with the fact that there are multiple drivers that can win any given night. Adding Andrew Kamrath and Shawn Chenoweth to the field is just going to make it that much stronger.

However, if he can get off to a solid start, there is no question that he will be one of the toughest guys to beat.

For his success last season, Mike Bentley was ranked third in Spencer Lewis' Inside Track Motorsports News Ontario Short Track Asphalt Rankings.