Warren Paxton scores sixth feature victory of the season at Sunset Speedway
Warren Paxton would complete his “drive for six” as he won his sixth feature of the season at Sunset Speedway on Saturday night.
The night didn’t start off well as Mike Robinson Jr. spun Peter Inglis on the opening lap of the first heat. Then on lap eight, Brandon Passer spun in turn two.
Defending series champion Eric Yorke grabbed the win behind the wheel of his No. 51 Can-Alignment Motorsports, Milton Napa Auto Parts, J&D Tire, Solex Steel, McKeown Collision, Partimer Signs and Redline Racing Nissan 240SX just barely ahead of Ken Townsend. Brian Love finished third followed by Shawn Gerrior, Terry Clodd, Robinson Jr., Chris Free, Lisa DeLeeuw and Inglis.
The second heat saw the contact between cars continue as Wendy Adams got into Kendra Adams, causing Kendra to make heavy contact with the inside retaining wall. She was able to keep going, though.
Paxton won the heat behind the wheel of his No. 33 Blue Mountain Honda ahead of Samantha Shaw, Lance Foster, Steve Belanger, Billy Melenhorst (who was subbing for brother Ben), Wendy Adams, Bob Phinnemore and Morgan Robson.
The third heat saw rookie Myles Tyson pick up his first career Sunset Speedway heat win behind the wheel of his No. 49 Nissan 240SX ahead of Brandon McFerran, Gehrig Halliday, Benjamin Wolf, Tyler Johnston, Doug Wilman, Eric Rainey, Terry Woodley and Candiss Everingham. Woodley was driving his back-up car following a hard wreck last weekend. Trevor Hemingway was subbing for Woodley last weekend when he spun on the backstretch and Kendra Adams made hard contact with the right side door.
The fourth heat saw a caution on lap nine when Robinson Jr. made heavy contact with the front stretch inside wall after getting sideways off of turn four. Ken Townsend would get the heat win, edging out Yorke. Clodd got third followed by Gerrior, Love, Passer, DeLeeuw and Free.
Billy Melenhorst would score the win in the fifth heat, filling in for big brother Ben behind the wheel of the No. 26 Automotive Business School of Canada Nissan 240SX. Foster got second followed by Paxton, Shaw, Belanger, Wendy Adams, Phinnemore, Robson and Kendra Adams.
Tyler Johnston would fail to the start the sixth heat after not being able to get his Honda Civic started. Brandon McFerran took the win behind the wheel of his No. 64 Peter D. Laird, Meisner Construction, Thringco (Bev Thring), East End Car Wash, Roadranger, Absolutewedsite.com, and John J Mcferran & sons trucking Mustang ahead of Tyson, Halliday, Wolf, Woodley, Rainey and Everingham.
Come feature time, Wendy Adams started her No. 78 Canadian Pool Players Association, ProSigns.ca, The UPS Store – Collingwood, Sunflower Studios, TSS Top Shops and Robson Janitorial Mustang on pole followed by Ken Townsend, Steve Belanger, Shawn Gerrior, Eric Rainey, Terry Woodley, Benjamin Wolf, Terry Clodd, Gehrig Halliday, Brian Love, Eric Yorke, Billy Melenhorst, Lance Foster, Warren Paxton, Brandon McFerran, Samantha Shaw, Myles Tyson, Bob Phinnemore, Chris Free, Lisa DeLeeuw, Brandon Passer, Candiss Everingham, Peter Inglis, Kendra Adams, Tyler Johnston and Morgan Robson.
Right away the feature would turn into a three, four-wide affair with Townsend grabbing the lead on lap two ahead of Gerrior while Love and Woodley battled for third. Love cleared Woodley, though opened the door for Belanger to get alongside him on lap three. Love would hold off Belanger, getting alongside Gerrior for second on lap four. Love took over second on lap five while Gerrior and Yorke battled for third. Yorke cleared Gerrior on lap six, getting alongside Love for second. On lap seven, that turned into a three-wide battle with Love, Yorke and Paxton all battling for second behind Townsend. Paxton took the spot on lap eight ahead of Yorke and McFerran while Melenhorst and Love battled for fifth. Melenhorst grabbed fifth on lap nine, opening the door for Tyson to get alongside Love for sixth.
At the same time, McFerran started to run into some mechanical issues. As McFerran’s car started to lose power, Melenhorst would get alongside him for fourth. On lap 10, it got worse as McFerran slowed a ton, causing the field to bottle up behind him. In the process, Foster got into Shaw, causing Shaw to go for a spin. McFerran pulled his Mustang behind the wall after winning last week’s feature, citing the distributor as the culprit. With 15 laps to go, Townsend led Paxton, Yorke, Melenhorst, Tyson, Love, Belanger, Foster, Halliday, Gerrior, Clodd, Wolf, Woodley, Johnston, Wendy Adams, Passer, Free, Everingham, DeLeeuw, Shaw, Phinnemore, Inglis and Robson. Rookie Kendra Adams had pulled off the track due to the damage from the earlier wreck affecting her car’s performance.
On the restart, Townsend and Paxton ran side-by-side for the lead with Paxton grabbing the lead on lap 11 ahead of Melenhorst, Townsend, Yorke and Tyson while Belanger and Love battled for sixth. The second caution then flew on lap 12 for Shaw getting driven into the outside backstretch wall by Passer. Shaw would be done for the night after her top five finish last week while Passer, making his first career start, would restart at the back of the field.
With 13 laps to go, Paxton led Melenhorst, Townsend, Yorke, Tyson, Belanger, Love, Foster, Halliday, Clodd, Gerrior and Wolf.
On the restart, Paxton and Melenhorst battled side-by-side for the lead with Paxton clearing Melenhorst on lap 13 as Townsend and Yorke battled for third. Townsend would hold Yorke off on lap 14, allowing Tyson to get alongside Yorke for fourth. Their battle would be short lived as the third caution flew on lap 15 for Passer and Free getting together in turn four. With 10 laps to go, Paxton led Melenhorst, Townsend, Tyson, Yorke, Belanger, Foster, Halliday, Love, Clodd, Gerrior, Johnston, Wolf, Woodley, Everingham, Wendy Adams, DeLeeuw, Free, Passer, Phinnemore, Inglis and Robson. Track officials decided to go with a single-file restart in hopes to keep the cautions to a minimum.
Paxton pulled away on the restart while Melenhorst and Townsend battled for second. Melenhorst held Townsend off as the field ran single-file all the way through the top 15. The final laps would see the leaders feeding their way through lap traffic while some battles went on in the back half of the field for positions. But out front, it was all Warren Paxton as he picked up his sixth feature victory of the season.
Billy Melenhorst finished second followed by Ken Townsend. It was nice to see Townsend have a good run after fighting car problems most of the month. 12-year-old Myles Tyson finished fourth in his second career Sunset Speedway start; he finished fifth a couple weeks ago. Eric Yorke rounded out the top five.
Steve Belanger finished sixth followed by Lance Foster, Gehrig Halliday, Terry Clodd, Brian Love, Benjamin Wolf, Tyler Johnston, Shawn Gerrior, Terry Clodd, Candiss Everingham, Lisa DeLeeuw and Brandon Passer.
These results are unofficial as they are based on my own notes and they may not be quite yet. I highly recommend checking the official Sunset Speedway website for the official results in the coming days.