By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia)
Stroud, Ont. – Gary McLean (#8 McLean Industrial Design Chevrolet) led the final 18 laps of the North Toronto Auctions 30 to earn his first victory of 2013 on the OSCAAR Modified tour.
McLean took the lead from Matt Barton (#2 MDB Racecars Chevrolet) on a lap 12 restart, and never looked back.
“I love this track. The guys did a super good job of making the car fast,” said Gary McLean. “We didn’t have any practice (before today).”
A pair of heat race wins earned McLean the top-qualifier spot for the redraw process, where he pulled the pole starting position.
Barton, who started third, took the lead from McLean on a lap six restart, using a power move on the outside line of the speedway. He would lead for six laps, until another caution with 12 in the books would put the pair side-by-side once again.
“We were kind of hoping that if we finished mid-pack we would be okay,” said Barton. “We’ll take this. I said on the radio during one caution ‘do you realise we just led laps?’. They told me to get my head back in to the game.”
The difference may have been McLean’s four fresh Hoosiers for the feature, while Barton bolted his on at the start of the night.
The first caution of the night came on lap five when Bobby Tolton (#13 Eloquip/Engines From Hal/Amsoil/California Dave’s Chevrolet) spun in turn one. Tolton had trouble with that end of the race track all night, spinning twice in turn two through the heat races.
It was on this restart that Barton got the better of McLean for the lead.
Caution would fly again on lap 10 as Tolton went around on the backstretch. He would park his car for the night, frustrated by a multitude of different problems. Tolton battled high engine temperatures and a temperamental rad hose all night long.
The race would run green for the final twenty laps. McLean took the lead on lap 12 from Barton, eventually running away, despite an impressive attempt from Barton to retake the lead.
The real battle would be for the second spot between Barton, Davey Terry (#14 Wasteco/Brennan Haulage Toyota) and Brent McLean (#7 Bowmanville Home Building Centre/Pro FX Signs Chevrolet).
The trio engaged in a 15-lap battle for the final two spots on the podium. Barton held down the second spot over Brent McLean with Terry in third. The group approached lap traffic with ten to go. Brent moved to the outside of Barton with a lapped car in sight, pinching the #2 down behind the slower car.
“Gary and I saved our tires for the feature and it sure paid off in the last ten laps,” said Brent McLean. “I used the lapped car as a pic. That’s what you’ve got to do. When they make a mistake, you’ve got to capitalize right away or the opportunity’s gone.”
“Brent just did a better job reading it than me,” said Barton.
“It’s great to see these guys putting on a challenge,” said Gary McLean. “We’re doing it for fun, that’s the whole deal. Hopefully we can get another half-dozen or so of those guys every week.”
Barton would be forced back to third, but was able to fend off Terry for the remaining five laps to earn the final spot on the podium. David McCullough (#39M Oaks Auto Chevrolet) rounded out the top-five.
Despite a strong run in both heat races, Lane Zardo (#34 Chevrolet) would suffer a DNF in his first OSCAAR modified start, ending his day with five laps remaining.
Heat race winners included Gary McLean (2), Matt Barton, and DaveyTerry.
The OSCAAR Modified tour is back in action in a month’s time at Barrie Speedway on June 15, and will be joined by the OSCAAR Super Late Models.
News and Notes
Despite making a long haul from Southwestern Ontario, Rob Fennema (#22 Dodge) was unable to start a heat race or the feature due to a malfunctioning starter. Fennema was the only driver to compete with a Dodge engine and, as a result, no other driver had the required part.
Ryan Dick attempted his first career OSCAAR Modified start on Sunday as well. Unfortunately for the #88 team, it didn’t go as planned as he hit the inside wall in his second heat, damaging the left front suspension.
A number of cars are expected to be ready for round two of the 2013 tour, including Chuck Marsh, Max Beyore, Mike Ford, Mike Westwood, Steve Smith, Monty Kelly, and Brian McLean.
Results: North Toronto Auctions 30 (Sunset Speedway - May 19, 2013) (Starting Position in Parentheses)
1. #8 Gary McLean (1); 2. #7 Brent McLean (6); 3. #2 Matt Barton (2); 4. #14 Davey Terry (3); 5. #39M David McCullough (7); 6. #11 Dave Osborne (5); 7. #19 Dean Scott (9); 8. #67jr Branden Bullen (10); 9. #34 Lane Zardo (4)(DNF); 10. #13 Bobby Tolton (8)(DNF); 11. #88 Ryan Dick (DNS); 12. #22 Rob Fennema (DNS).
The OSCAAR Modified tour is presented throughout Ontario by a number of dedicated sponsors, including: Knightworks Design, Hoosier Racing Tire, Klotz Synthetics Canada, Race2way.ca, Dave Franks Photos, Dickson Printing, Finishline Fabrication, McColl Racing Enterprises, McGunegill Engine Performance, Stefko Racing Engines, VP Racing Fuels, OntarioOval.com, RaceTime Radio, Inside Track Motorsport News, Jenco Equipment, Midas of Orangeville, Reinhart Trailer Sales, North Toronto Auctions, and South Shore Services.