By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia) - Stroud, Ont. – Brandon Watson (#9 Shear/Barrie Frame and Alignment/Knightworks Design Chevrolet) led all 51 laps of the Lucie Aylwin Memorial presented by North Toronto Auctions at Sunset Speedway en route to victory in the 2013 OSCAAR Super Late Model season opener.
Starting from the pole, Brandon fended off multiple challenges from Derrick Tiemersma (#7 Wayfreight/Spira Chevrolet) and Uncle Glenn Watson (#22 Line-X/Race2way.ca/Rival Office Solutions Chevrolet) to begin the defense of his 2012 championship title.
“It was amazing. The crew did a great job to get the car here. It was great all night, right out of the trailer,” said Watson.
Brandon led by as much as two seconds over Tiemersma during a 32-lap green flag run from lap nine to 41.
Glenn Watson would finish second after using a final restart with eight laps remaining to get by second place runner Tiemersma, who would wind up third.
The 21-car field was slowed for caution six times, including two red flags. The first caution, and subsequent first red flag, came with just one lap complete as Rob Clarke (#49 London Mechanical/JBM Leasing/FLF Racecars Chevrolet) was turned on the backstretch by Shane Maginnis (#03 Budds GMC Chevrolet).
The two were running near the front of the field, and a number of drivers stacked up as a result, including Ethan Courneyea (#71c Jenco Equipment Chevrolet) who ended the incident with the front of his car resting on the hood of John Owen’s #2 (Owen Performance/DVR Masonry Chevrolet). The red flag was displayed as officials lifted Courneyea’s car from Owen’s front end. Both were able to continue.
Charlie Gallant (#40P South Shore Services Chevrolet) was also collected in the mess, his second set of misfortune on the evening, ending his night. Jim Bowman (#63 TMG Mortgages/Remax/Hanover Holidays Chevrolet) was tagged as well in the wreck and did continue before retiring on lap 21.
The second caution of the night came on lap four when Dwayne Baker (#48 Baker Performance Parts Ford) stopped in turn four with a flat right front tire.
Caution came out once more with nine complete for debris before 32 laps of consecutive green flag action. The top-five of Brandon Watson, Tiemersma, Jesse Kennedy (#10 Cameron Crane/Bev’s Auto/Quality Collision Ford), Glenn Watson, and Rob Poole (#45 Visser Farms/Alliston Auto Sales/RA Electrical Chevrolet) maintained their order for the duration of the run.
The real battle was for the seventh spot, between Clarke, Baker, and Maginnis. The trio ran nose to tail and side-by-side for much of the interval, until Maginnis spun in turn four with 41 laps complete. Maginnis appeared to have an oil line break, leading to the spin.
As a result, Maginnis laid oil all the way around the race track, forcing officials to red flag the race again while track crews cleaned up.
On the ensuing restart with ten to go, Brandon surprised many by choosing the outside line for the restart. He made it work to his advantage, despite having to try the restart twice after Tiemersma jumped early on the first attempt.
“I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do coming to the ‘double-up’ sign,” said Brandon. “My car was starting to get tight from the centre and off, so I thought I would be able to keep my momentum on the outside better.”
“The crew left it up to me. It’s a good thing I made the right decision,” joked Brandon.
Jesse Kennedy surrendered his third-place position just prior to the green to change a right-front tire that had gone soft.
The final caution with eight to go came as Gary Passer (#13 Jenco Equipment Chevrolet) got mixed up in turn four, but escaped unscathed. Kennedy ended his night with eight to go, after he lost oil pressure following the restart.
“I noticed just before we took the white the right-front seemed soft,” said Kennedy. “We lost oil pressure. Not sure what that’s about yet, but we’ll try to fix ‘er up and come back next time.”
Clarke would also fail to finish as he lost power under caution on the front stretch and was taken off on the hook.
Brandon chose the outside line for the final restart as well. Tiemersma appeared to spin the tires, allowing fourth-place runner Glenn Watson to make a pass for second on the outside.
Rookie Kevin Cornelius (#17 Halton Crushed Stone/Lee Sand & Gravel/Triplecrete Pontiac) had restarted third, but was pinched behind Tiemersma, falling to fourth. Dealing with a misfire throughout the night, the problem would rear its ugly head in the closing laps as Cornelius fell to seventh.
“On the last restart, I tried to dial some more front break in to it, but my adjuster jammed up, so I had a ton of rear-break going in to the turn on the high-side,” said Cornelius, “it just got away from me.”
Glenn Watson didn’t appear to have anything for nephew Brandon in the closing laps, as the twenty-year-old held on for the first victory of 2013.
Klotz Synthetics Qualifying Heat race winners were Brandon Watson (#9), Rob Clarke (#49), Shane Maginnis (#03), Jesse Kennedy (#10), Glenn Watson (#22), and Derrick Tiemersma (#7).
The OSCAAR Super Late Models are back in action in two weeks on Saturday June 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) for round two of the 2013 tour.
News & Notes
After two wrecks on opening night, Charlie Gallant is expected to miss the series next event at CTMP on June 1.
Despite heavy body damage to start the year, Jim Bowman has said his team will return to action at CTMP, likely with a new body on the car.
After a strong showing in his first ever Super Late Model heat, Brent McLean missed the feature due to an oil pump issue that could not be resolved at the track.
George Wilson, driving for Shane Gowan to start the year, was pitside following the first caution due to a broken drive shaft. The team was able to repair it on pit road in order to finish the race, but three laps down.
Andrew Gresel ran a template body late model to start the season. His outlaw bodied car was not ready to start the season, but he has said it will be finished for CTMP. Cole Powell was the only other driver to run a template body.
Results: Lucie Aylwin Memorial 51 presented by North Toronto Auctions (Sunset Speedway – May 19, 2013) (Starting Position in parentheses)
1. #9 Brandon Watson (1); 2. #22 Glenn Watson (8); 3. #7 Derrick Tiemersma (2); 4. #48 Dwayne Baker (6); 5. #45 Rob Poole (10); 6. #07 Todd Campbell (9); 7. #17 Kevin Cornelius (12); 8. #2 John Owen (13); 9. #73 Cole Powell (16); 10. #00 Wayne Isaacs (21); 11. #42 Tyler Hawn (22); 12. #13 Gary Passer (7); 13. #81 Andrew Gresel (19); 14. #39 George Wilson (14); 15. #10 Jesse Kennedy (5)(DNF); 16. #49 Rob Clarke (3) (DNF); 17. #03 Shane Maginnis (4) (DNF); 18. #63 Jim Bowman (DNF) (18); 19. #71c Ethan Courneyea (20) (DNF); 20. #8 Sean Cronan (11) (DNF); 21. #40P Charlie Gallant (15)(DNF); 22. #15x Brent McLean (DNS); 23. #57 Craig Stevenson (DNS).
The OSCAAR Super Late Model tour is presented by a number of dedicated sponsors throughout Ontario, 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.