In 2010, Kyle Donaldson drove his No. 53 Monte Carlo to feature victory lane for a total of 13 wins. So when Randy Rusnell bought the car at the end of the 2011 season, everybody had him as the early season favourite for this season. In the first four nights of racing, Rusnell had yet to find feature victory lane as he battled handling problems. However, in the first round of the McColl Pro Series on Sunday, that all changed.
2011 McColl Shootout Series and Sunset Speedway Super Stock Champion Lane Zardo won the first Super Stock heat of the night. Sunset's Randy Rusnell finished second, followed by Flamboro's Nick Troback
Sunset's Nick Roth took the victory in the second heat and final heat of first round qualifying for the Super Stocks. Flamboro's Dennis Cybalski got second, followed by Sauble's Joe Adams.
Flamboro Speedway's Kevin Albers took the victory in the third Super Stock heat. Sunset's Steve Cashmore and Rusnell.
Sunset's Herb Walters took the victory in the final Super Stock heat. Roth finished second followed by Sauble's Matt MulHolland.
With the line-up being set based on heat finishes and a dice invert, Sunset’s Herb Walters started pole, followed by Sunset’s Lane Zardo, Flamboro’s Kevin Albers and Sunset’s Randy Rusnell. Walters wouldn’t be in the first long as Zardo would take the lead on the second lap.
Sunset’s Paul Geniole Jr. was looking for a solid run, though had to pit at the halfway mark on lap 25 due to the flat tire after racing side-by-side with Matt Bentley. At this point, Zardo led Rusnell and Roth. Rusnell was able to chase Zardo down and after following him for some laps, he made the pass for the lead with 10 laps to go.
The race would run caution free till a caution with seven to go when Richard Butler spins.
Another caution would come out with five to go when Zardo ran into issues while running second, mixing up the runner order as now Rusnell led over Roth, Sauble’s Matt MulHolland, Walters and Bentley.
The final restarts set-up a battle for the win between Rusnell, Roth and Mullholland.
“They crowd you down when you’re on the inside,” Rusnell comments with regards to the pair of restarts. “Both of them run you very clean, but the key is, you get a head start and once you get the head-start coming off of four, you’re good going to into one so that was our plan those final two restarts.”
Rusnell would lead the final five laps for his first win of 2012 behind the wheel of his new car.
“I gotta thank my wife Joanne, my crew – everybody that comes out and helps support us with this car,” Rusnell says. “We struggled the first few weeks.”
Rusnell admits that after purchasing the car in the off-season, it got him pumped up immediately as he thought he’d have the same success right away.
“Turns out, it didn’t quite go that way,” he comments. “But I gotta tip my hat off to Ken Donaldson and all the Donaldson family ‘cause they worked feverishly on this car. They did a lot of work to it in the last couple of weeks. Don’t ask me what they did, but they fixed it. we gotta get it a couple more tenths faster.”
Roth would finish second, followed by MulHolland, Walters and Bentley. 12-year-old Cayden Lapcevich finished sixth followed by Joe Adams, Nick Troback, Dennis Cybalski and Steve Cashmore.
For the opening round of the M.R.E Pro Series, the list of Super Stock drivers was incredible as they’ve each won throughout their careers.
“You got a tremendous field of racecar drivers here that on any given night can win,” Rusnell comments. “I’m going to hope to spoil all their winning for the next couple of weeks.”