After a season that had its low points with some bad finishes, and some good points with five feature victories on regular nights, 2012 Gary Reynolds Memorial winner Mike Bentley closed out the season on a high note with a win in the Velocity 250 Late Model feature at Sunset Speedway. It wouldn’t be easy for the 24-year-old as he would restart at the rear of the field with 45 laps to go after being involved in an incident with Marvin Freiburger.
“I got into Marvin,” Bentley admitted in victory lane. “I got a little upset with him; he was cutting me off a little bit and shouldn’t got in cause it sent me to the back. But we were a little bit loose, took it in the pits, got an adjustment, the car was a lot better after that. We came from the back.”
Bentley used the outside groove to his advantage, making passes each lap to work his way through the field of stout drivers.
“I love it out there,” Bentley said of the outside groove. “I drive it in hard and it sticks.”
Following qualifying on Saturday and the five-car invert as a result of the die roll, it’d be Sauble Speedway regular Marvin Freiburger starting on the pole, followed by Chris Morrow, Tom Walters, Andrew Kamrath, Mike Bentley, Taylor Holdaway, Jason Parker, Dwayne Baker, Frank Davey, Tom Gibbons, Tony Tiemersma, Nick Goetz, Billy Zardo, Scott Beatty, No. 28, Mike Brown, Cory Horner, Sean Grosman, Gary Elliott and Cole Weber.
On the opening lap, Freiburger would jump out to the early lead ahead of Morrow while Walters and Kamrath ran side-by-side for third. Kamrath would get by Walters on lap two, and looked for a way by Morrow, though didn’t get by. Instead, it’d be Walters passing Kamrath for third on lap five.
Meanwhile on lap seven, Morrow got alongside Freiburger for the lead and they ran side-by-side till a caution at lap eight for Sean Grosman spinning in turn four. Frank Davey would also go for a spin after the caution came out. Gary Elliott would make a pit stop under the yellow flag.
As a result, Freiburger would restart the race as the leader, followed by Morrow, Walters, Kamrath, Holdaway, Bentley, Parker, Gibbons, Davey, Goetz, Beatty, Tiemersma, Zardo, No. 28, Horner, Weber, Jason Witty, Dario Capirchio, Thane Woodside, the 37x, Mike Brown, Grosman, Ernie Fumerton and Elliott.
As the green flag was waved, Tiemersma would make his way down pit road with a problem. Meanwhile, Morrow and Freiburger would run side-by-side for the lead all the way till a lap 10 caution for Elliott having a problem. Under caution, Gibbons would make his way down pit road.
With 40 laps to go, Morrow was now the leader ahead of Freiburger, Walters, Kamrath, Bentley, Holdaway, Parker, Baker, Davey, Beatty, Zardo, Goetz and the 28.
On the restart, seven-time Sunset Speedway champion Chris Morrow would pull ahead of the field while Freiburger and Walters battled for second. Walters would clear Freiburger on lap 12. So on lap 13, it’d be Morrow leading ahead of Walters, Freiburger, Bentley and Holdaway while Baker and Kamrath battled for sixth. Baker would clear Kamrath on lap 14.
On lap 17, Walters would get alongside Morrow for the lead and they’d run side-by-side all the way till lap 30 when Walters would clear Morrow just before a caution for Freiburger spinning around as a result of contact from Bentley. As a result, both Freiburger and Bentley would have to restart the race from the back of the field. Under caution, Bentley and Kamrath both made pit stops.
So with 45 laps to go, it’d be 30-time Late Model Champion Tom Walters leading Morrow, Holdaway, Baker, Parker, Beatty, Goetz, Witty, Grosman, Zardo, Horner, the 28, Weber, Fumerton, Elliott, Gibbons, Brown, Freiburger, Kamrath, Capirchio, Davey, Bentley and Woodside.
On the restart, Walters and Morrow would once again run side-by-side for the lead, with Walters clearing Morrow on lap 35. Though there’d then be another caution on lap 39 for Freiburger having a mechanical problem in turn one. He’d quickly pull into the pits and be done for the rest of the race. Under caution, both Elliott and Kamrath pitted.
With 37 laps to go, it’d be Walters leading Morrow, Holdaway, Baker, Beatty, Parker, Witty, Zardo, Goetz, Grosman, Horner, the 28, Gibbons, Fumerton, Capirchio, Bentley, Weber, Woodside, Brown, Elliott and Kamrath.
On the restart, Walters and Morrow would be side-by-side for the lead with Walters once again clearing Morrow on lap 41. The top five then strung out single file with Walters leading Morrow, Holdaway, Baker and Beatty. Meanwhile, Bentley continued to work his way through the field, making his way up to the sixth position by lap 54. He would then pass Beatty for fifth on lap 55 just before the fifth caution of the race due to a maylay in turn four. Witty would go for a spin, collecting Grosman and Goetz. Everybody would be able to continue.
With 20 laps to go, it’d be Walters leading Morrow, Holdaway, Baker, Bentley, Beatty, Parker, Goetz, Horner, Zardo, Fumerton, Elliott, the 28, Capirchio, Davey, Weber, Gibbons, Kamrath, Witty and Grosman.
On the restart, Walters would drop back to about the sixth position due to not getting a good start, allowing Morrow to grab the lead. However, a caution would be thrown on the next lap due to debris in turn one near the wall.
Sunset Speedway rules state that when the caution comes out, you go back a lap to determine the running order, minus the cars involved in the incident to cause the caution. As a result, Walters would regain the lead, ahead of Morrow, Holdaway, Baker, Bentley, Beatty, Goetz, Horner, Zardo, Fumerton and Elliott.
On the restart, Walters would get a good restart and be alongside Morrow for the lead. However, the seventh caution flag of the race would come out when Baker stopped on the race track up in the turn due to a flat tire. As the caution came out and everyone slowed, there’d be an incident on the front stretch involving Weber, Kamrath, Capirchio and Elliott.
With 18 laps to go, it’d be Walters leading Morrow, Holdaway, Bentley, Beatty, Parker, Goetz, Horner, Zardo, Fumerton and Witty.
On the restart, it’d be Walters and Morrow side-by-side for the lead, with Walters clearing Morrow on lap 60. Bentley, meanwhile, would work his way up to the third position and began to look for a way by Morrow on lap 61. However, the eighth caution would then come out for Gibbons cutting down on Witty, resulting in Witty going for a spin, collecting Davey.
With 13 laps to go, it’d be Walters leading Bentley, Morrow, Holdaway, Parker, Beatty, Goetz, Fumerton, Zardo, Grosman, Baker, Weber, Witty and Gibbons. Horner would pit under caution.
On the restart, it’d be Walters and Bentley side-by-side for the lead, with Bentley completing the pass on Walters on lap 65.
“Tom has got me before on the restart; it wasn’t happening tonight,” Bentley said of the final restart in victory lane.
Walters wouldn’t let Bentley go easy, though, as he’d get back beside him on lap 66. However, Bentley would clear Walters on lap 71 and go on to take the victory.
“Couldn’t ask for a much better weekend,” Bentley said. “We worked hard on the car. We had a good qualifying run, got the pole position, fortunately rolled five. Would’ve liked pole, but that’s the way it works.”
The win for Mike Bentley continues to lengthen his impressive racing resume that includes an Ocktoberfest victory and two Gary Reynolds Memorial victories. Bentley announced in victory lane that he will be going to Flamboro Speedway to try and add another win.
Tom Walters would get second, followed by Taylor Holdaway, Chris Morrow and Jason Parker.
2012 Barrie Speedway Champion Dwayne Baker would come back to finish sixth after his flat tire, followed by Scott Beatty, Sean Grosman, Ernie Fumerton and Billy Zardo.