INNISFIL, Ontario – Contact between the leaders would result in newly-wed A.J. Emms scoring the OSCAAR Modifieds victory at Sunset Speedway on Sunday after having to start tail of the field due to missing qualifying.
Norman Newman won the first heat ahead of Kelly Balson, Dale Reinhart, Mike Hearty, Ryan Dick, Luke Gignac, and Paul Townsend.
Coltin Everingham scored his first career qualifier victory in front of T.J. Edwards, Jake Watson, Chad Strawn, Steve Lyons, Jeff Walt, Marshall Schrenk, and Wally Wilson.
Taylor Holdaway subbing for A.J. Emms won his first career heat ahead of Brent McLean, Jason Keen, TJ Marshall, Jase Cornell, and Tommy Robb.
Steve Lyons scored his first career qualifier victory in front of Dick, Strawn, Balson, Watson, Everingham, Hearty, and Townsend.
T.J. Edwards picked up the checkered flag in the fifth heat ahead of Keen, Walt, Schrenk, Cornell, and Wilson.
The sixth qualifier saw a quick caution for McLean, Milwain, and Newman going around for spins on the backstretch, with Milwain heading pit side afterwards. Dale Reinhart got the victory in front of Holdaway, Newman, Marshall, and Gignac.
Come feature time, Norman Newman started pole ahead of Steve Lyons, Dale Reinhart, Kelly Balson, Brent McLean, T.J. Edwards, Jason Keen, Chad Strawn, Ryan Dick, Chad Strawn, Jake Watson, T.J. Marshall, Jase Cornell, Marshall Schrenk, Mike Hearty, Luke Gignac, Wally Wilson, Paul Townsend, A.J. Emms, Chris Milwain, and Tommy Robb.
The race started off with a bang – literally, as Mike Hearty made contact in turn four with Gignac, resulting in Gigac getting into the outside wall, and Milwain spun around. The restart was not cleaner, with Newman making significant contact with the inside frontstretch wall after getting sideways while battling Lyons for the lead.
Dale Reinhart would grab the lead on the restart ahead of Lyons and Edwards as craziness broke out with McLean, Watson, and Everingham mid-pack. However, the yellow flag quickly returned, with Dick’s car slowing on the frontstretch. With 37 laps to go, Reinhart led Lyons, Edwards, Keen, Balson, Strawn, McLean, Everingham, Watson, Marshall, Emms, Schrenk, Cornell, Townsend, Hearty, Wilson, Milwain, and Robb.
The restart would see Strawn head straight to pit road with mechanical issues. Meanwhile, Steve Lyons got a good restart to take the lead ahead of Reinhart, Edwards, Keen, Balson, Everingham, Marshall, and McLean, as Emms got alongside Watson for ninth. That was short lived, though, with the caution coming out on Lap 8 for Cornell going around in turn four.
The restart saw a battle for the lead between Reinhart and Lyons, with Dale Reinhart taking over the top spot on Lap 11. Edwards would follow suit for second a lap later, bumping Lyons back to third ahead of Keen and Everingham, as Balson and Emms battled for sixth.
Emms got the spot on Lap 14, passing Everingham two laps later for fifth. Balson would follow suit for sixth on Lap 18, bumping Everingham back to seventh ahead of McLean, Marshall, Watson, and Schrenk, with Schrenk getting alongside Watson two laps later for 10th.
At the halfway mark, Dale Reinhart led T.J. Edwards and Steve Lyons, with Emms getting alongside Keen for fourth on Lap 22. He’d complete the pass a lap later, with Balson continuing to sixth as Everingham and McLean battled for seventh.
Emms would look to continue his climb, getting alongside Lyons for third on Lap 26, but had to fall back in line as they went around the lap car of Wilson. Emms tried again three laps later, completing the pass to take the spot.
Keen continued to run fifth ahead of Balson, as Everingham and McLean’s battle continued. Everingham cleared him for the spot on Lap 31, with Schrenk, Milwain, and Hearty following through in the following laps.
The field ultimately found themselves spread out around the oval, with the top-two having a straightaway advantage on everybody else. Edwards would find himself on Reinhart’s bumper, hunting for a way by as the laps ticked away. He would make his move with two laps later, with contact ensuing, resulting in Reinhart going around.
Inheriting the lead as a result, A.J. Emms got a good restart and led the final two laps en route to picking up the checkered flag. Kelly Balson made the late move to finish second ahead of Steve Lyons, with Jason Keen and Coltin Everingham rounding out the top-five.
Following the first event of the season, A.J. Emms holds a seven-point advantage over Kelly Balson in the series standings.
Sunset Speedway- July 25, 2021 OSCAAR Modifieds Results
1. A.J. Emms, 2. Kelly Balson, 3. Steve Lyons, 4. Jason Keen, 5. Coltin Everingham, 6. Marshall Schrenk, 7. Mike Hearty, 8. Chris Milwain, 9. Dale Reinhart, 10. Brent McLean, 11. Paul Townsend, 12. Wally Wilson, 13. Jase Cornell, 14. T.J. Edwards, 15. Jake Watson, 16. TJ Marshall, 17. Tommy Robb, 18. Chad Strawn, 19. Ryan Dick, 20. Norman Newman, 21. Luke Gignac, 22. Jeff Walt – DNS, 23. Andy Kamrath – DNS.
Race Report written by Ashley McCubbin