While May was action packed from top to bottom with action, June was a quiet month for the Late Model drivers at Sunset Speedway with only one night counting for points.
That night was June 23rd and the driver coming home that night victorious was Mike Bentley.
After his bad luck on the last night ran in May, Bentley would start near the front and take the lead on lap two, never looking back as he went on to win the feature.
Though for the driver that now sits 56 points back of points leader Kevin Cornelius, the win was welcome as it is wins and solid nights that will give him a chance to close the gap and have a shot at the championship. It'd mark one of the biggest comebacks after having bad finishes the first two nights due to wrecks and being blackflagged with two laps to go while battling for the lead. However, Bentley has the best shot at doing it as the win on June 23rd marked his third win of the 2012 season.
Beyond winning at Sunset this year, Bentley has taken his winning streak on the road as he went and raced at Barrie Speedway while Sunset was off on June 30th. Bentley would come home with a victory in the first feature while finishing second in the second feature. Bentley, the defending Gary Reynolds Memorial winner, was there to try and find the magic winning set-up to come back and win the Gary Reynolds race once again this August. Following the performance he put up, that is certainly a big possibility.
With how the schedule was set-up, there was to be three nights that would've counted for points. However, that turned into only one counting - June 23rd. June 2nd would be called before the drivers even got to the track while on June 8th, they'd get their first round of heats in before the rain would come.
In trying to find an idea of who is strong heading into July, I took the three heats that they ran (including the one that doesn't count for points) and averaged it out to see who stands above the rest.
While he may not have a regular points feature win yet, Tom Walters has the best average for July at 1.67, proving that consistancy is why he sits second in points, 13 behind Cornelius, right now. Bentley's attempt at a stellar comeback is also shown in these numbers as he an average finish of second.
Then you find Cornelius and Sean Cronan next in the list with an average finish of 2.33. Cornelius finds himself in the lead in the points after a pair of feature victories in May, backing it up with a second place finish in the June 23rd feature. Meanwhile, Sean Cronan sits third in points, 29 points out of the lead. Cronan continued his role of Mr. Consistancy as he finished fifth in the June 23rd feature.
Tom Walters Still Looking For First Regular Points Night Feature Win of 2012
28-time Late Model Champion Tom Walters has impressed so far this year in his brand new car, however there is one piece missing - a regular points night victory. Walters was able to take home the victory in the first round of the M.R.E Pro Series last month and he was able to win the Chase for the Colors event at Peterborough Speedway on July 1st to give him the pole for Autumn Colors. However, that regular points night victory has eluded him so far this season as the closest he has come is second, twice this year. Though with consistant finishes and heat wins, Walters is right there ready to grab the points lead.
Gary Elliott Grabs Heat Win No. 1 of 2012
At the beginning of 2012, Gary Elliott made the move from Flamboro Speedway to Sunset Speedway. So far, it hasn't gone as Elliott had of hoped as he had a mechanical failure on May 5th while wrecking the car during the May 27th M.R.E Pro Series race. However, a heat win in June is hopefully the start of things turning for the good for the veteran driver.
Taylor Holdaway's Struggles
After finishing off last year with a feature victory, a lot of people expected Taylor Holdaway to be in the thick of the championship picture. However, he currently sits sixth in points, 68 points behind Cornelius. This year hasn't been as the Holdaway Motorsports would've hoped as he has two feature finishes outside of the top 10 so far this year.
Chris Morrow's Luck
Last year, Chris Morrow was bitten by the bad luck bug midseason, though came back to win three features in a row late in the year. This year, it seems the trend is starting again. After being involved in a wreck in May and missing a night, Morrow would find more bad luck as he would blow a motor on June 23rd, ending his night early. On the bright side, if it is a repeat of last year, he knows that the next couple of months could be special.
KUDOS to Billy Zardo on scoring a second place in the heat behind Gary Elliott. The sophmore driver is certainly showing that his lessons during his rookie season are paying off.
KUDOS to Kyle Mombourquette on his top five feature finish, too. With one of the smallest operations in the Late Model division, it certainly gives hope to the small guys.
KUDOS to Scott Beatty on making his return to Sunset Speedway on June 23rd after his wreck on opening night in May.
KUDOS to both Dario Capirchio and Ernie Fumerton on their top 10 feature finishes. Well one was a surprise winner last year and the other was a shoulda-coulda-woulda situation, they both look to be getting their programs headed the right direction to surprise everybody this year.
KUDOS to Thane Woodside on finishing second in his first heat of June for his first top five of 2012. Woodside made the shift to Sunset for the 2012 season and is running every other week, looking to find the right groove and success.