The best way to remember the month of July is by the drivers who found victory lane after troubles in prior months or weeks. There were a lot of feel good moments that will certainly make the wounds easier to bare. Though beyond that, there was one driver who stood out above the rest and that was Randy ‘Rocket’ Rusnell.
It all started on July 7th with Rusnell found feature victory lane after blowing a motor at the end of June. It marked his first feature victory on a regular night of racing. It marked his second win of the year, though, as he won the first round of the McColl Racing Enterprises (M.R.E) Pro Series in May. Rusnell would start up front in the feature, virtue of his problems, and find his way around both Rob Morrison and Cayden Lapcevich in a three-wide pass for the lead on lap three, never looking back.
The win marked the turn-around point for Rusnell this season as he went and won the second round of the M.R.E Pro Series on the Wednesday.
He’d complete the trifecta by taking the feature in on July 14th for his fourth overall win of the season and second in a row on a points night. Rusnell would take the win on July 14th after making a pass on lap 12 by Lapcevich for the lead.
The following week, Rusnell posted a solid feature finish as he finished second to Lane Zardo. The win for Zardo meant his second feature points win of the season, though was also another feel good win. Zardo completely missed the night of racing on July 14th due to blowing a motor in practice. However on July 21st, Zardo would find his way to victory lane after starting the feature second and taking the lead on lap one ahead of Lapcevich.
The final weekend of the season would see Rusnell taking the checkered flag on his birthday weekend for his third regular points night feature win of the month. He would make his way to the front with a pass on Zardo for the lead on lap 25.
Beyond those who made solid comebacks after problems in the features, there were drivers who scored heat victories after blowing motors, too.
Marty Monette would score his first heat win of the season on July 21st after blowing a motor on July 11th at the M.R.E Pro Series event.
Ryan Semple would score his first heat win of the season on July 21st after blowing a motor on July 14th.
Who was the best of the month?
When it came to the eight heats ran during the month of July, Randy Rusnell would come out with the best average finish of the bunch with a 1.5. He would score four heat wins and four second place finishes on the month. Points leader Nick Roth had the second best average (2.125) followed by Paul Maltese (3.375), Matt Bentley (3.5) and Dan Archibald & Paul Geniole Jr (3.75).
When it came to the four features ran during the month of July, Rusnell would also top that category with an average finish of 1.25 with three feature wins and a second. Roth would have the second best average (2.5), followed by Bentley (4.5. Lane Zardo had the fourth best average, though only ran three features during the month (5).
After looking for the right handling on his car throughout the months of May and June, the pieces came together for Paul Maltese in July. He was able to catch his first heat win of the season on July 7th, and finished third in the feature that night. The rest of the month hasn’t gone as he would have hoped as he finished sixth on July 14th, ninth on July 21st and 13th on July 28th. The 13th place finish came after an incident with Dan Archibald.
Championship Battle: Herb Walters
After dominating the first month of racing at Sunset Speedway, Herb Walters’ championship chances would take a hit on July 7th when he’d fail to finish the feature after sustaining damage during his second heat. In the second heat, he had a tire fall off, causing him to hit the outside wall. To say July 7th is a night to forget for the past Champion is the truth as he also broke a rear end during practice, though managed to change it in time for racing.
The following week (July 14th), Walters would post his sixth feature top five finish of the year with a fifth.
However, bad luck would strike once again on July 21st as he’d have a flat tire with two laps to go, handing him a 13th place finish. He finish off July with a fifth place finish in the final feature of the month.
While June had a touch of temper between Dan Archibald and Steve Cashmore, other drivers had their run-ins during the month of July.
The first came during the heats on July 7th with Matt Bentley and Marty Monette. Marty Monette would spin Matt Bentley in the first heat as the bottom lane showed up behind Richard Butler. They had previous contact on the front stretch with Bentley hitting Monette. The two drivers would have a short on-track conversation, though raced hard and clean the rest of the night.
In the feature on that same night, Dan Archibald would dump Cayden Lapcevich in the feature on a restart. Then on July 21st, there’d be contact between Lapcevich and Bentley in the feature as Bentley would give Lapcevich a small tap to get by him for position. The result was Lapcevich giving Bentley a small tap coming off of the track. As a result, Lapcevich will be missing the night of racing on July 28th.
Speaking of Cayden Lapcevich……..
This season for the 12-year-old rookie has been up-and-down, full of highlighted solid feature finishes, and disappointing feature incidents. That all continued in July.
Beyond the feature incident on July 7th with Dan Archibald, he also spun while leading the heat with seven laps to go.
July 14th, though, will be the night that Lapcevich remembers forever as he finally was able to bring home his first qualifying heat victory to become the youngest winner in Sunset Speedway history. He would come home with a third place finish in the feature that night, followed by a sixth place finish on July 21st.
Tough Luck Hurts…….
The month of July hasn’t gone as well as Brian Wilson Jr. would’ve hoped. On the first night, he finished 13th in the feature, which marked a solid finish for the sophomore driver. However, he would miss racing on July 14th following a wreck in the M.R.E Pro Series event on July 11th. He’d make it back out on July 21st, finishing 17th in the feature.
KUDOS to Richard Butler on his first heat top five of the season with a fourth place finish on July 7th.
KUDOS to Marty Monette as he’d also score his first feature top five of the season with a fourth on July 7th.
KUDOS to Rob Morrison on his first heat top five of the season, finishing fifth on July 7th, and also on his first feature top 10 with a 9th that same night.
KUDOS to Steve Cashmore on his first feature top 10 of 2012 with a sixth on July 7th.
KUDOS to Dennis Cybalski for finishing fifth in both heats in his first regular night running at Sunset on July 28th. Cybalski is a regular at Flamboro Speedway and has been competiting in the M.R.E Pro Series.
KUDOS to Bob Phinnemore on finishing 10th in the July 28th feature for his first feature top 10 of 2012.