(Bowmanville, ON – July 4, 2013) Things always seem to ‘Go Better With Coke’, and for a trio of drivers on Saturday night, it was a refreshing way to celebrate feature race victories at the Speedway of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. With the Coca-Cola brand presenting the stock car racing action from the Speedway, winners were crowned in the Lucas Oil Pure Stock, the Bob’s Towing Thunder Car and Late Model racing divisions on the Canada Day long weekend.
Lucas Oil Pure Stock:
Making a rare start at the CTMP Speedway, former class champion Ryan Oosterholt proved that he had not lost the feel for the paperclip oval, taking his #79 Farm Bros Pure Stock to the win in his heat race, sharing the victory lane in the preliminaries with Henk Mulders.
As a track visitor, Oosterholt was forced to start from the tail end of the field, and at the drop of the green began his pursuit of the race-leading Prelude of defending champion Willy Howells (#19 Taunton Tire/Roughley Insurance).
Gradually working his way towards the front, by Lap 7 Oosterholt had dispatched the #57 Radman car of Stuart Hinds for second place and then set his sights on the distant Honda of Howells.
When Mulder’s car suddenly slowed and came to rest in Corner Two on lap 12 this brought out a caution negating Howells’ advantage. Mulder was able to get going and joined at the rear of the field on the restart. Back to green and Oosterholt launched onto the point, with Howells and Hinds in hot pursuit. Another yellow on the white flag lap set up a Green/White/Checkered finish, but the order would remain stagnant, with Oosterholt crossing the stripe three car lengths in front of the still-battling Howells/Hinds duo. Henk Mulders (#45 Link Greenhouses/VOS’ Independent Acura came back up in fourth and Corey Hayward (#13) completed the first five finishers.
NOTE: Ryan Oosterholt declined to show up at post-race tech resulting in his disqualification. Willy Howells was declared the feature race winner.
Bob’s Towing Thunder Car:
The Donaldson clan went two-for-two on this Canada Day race weekend as younger brother Ken Jr. completed a flag-to-flag run in the feature to secure the race win, his second of the 2013 season.
Fresh from a heat race victory, a feat he shared with Bob Kish (#78 ProCut Sharpening), Donaldson immediately jumped into the race lead at the drop of the green with the #28 Crowe Brothers Roofing Monte Carlo of Howie Crowe locked on to his back bumper.
From his third row starting position, John Baker Jr. was on a charge and by Lap 6, had wrestled the runner-up spot away from Crowe and then went into full ‘chase’ mode, charging after the quickly disappearing Monte Carlo of Donaldson.
Inching ever closer, Baker took advantage of a Lap 17 caution brought out by a harmless spin by Kevin Hinds to close onto the tail end of Donaldson’s Downtown Rug and Flooring Chevy.
Despite the best efforts from the driver of the #63 Marksman Club/Oshawa Hearing Aid Clinic Impala, Baker could not unseat Donaldson from the top spot, the trio of Donaldson, Baker and Crowe taking the checkers in a three-car, nose-to-tail train.
“I knew I had to build a lead while JBJ (Baker) was back in traffic,” explained Donaldson. “I was pretty confident I could hold him off under green, but that yellow didn’t help, it kind of scared me looking at the #63 so close behind me.”
Bill Northam (#85 Bill Shackleton Re/Max) maintained a constant presence to finish in fourth place, with the #78 of Kish holding on to complete the top five finishers.
NOTE: Following post-race inspection it was discovered that a suspension component on the #03 Donaldson car had broken during the race resulting in the ride height being too low. An eight point penalty was accessed to Ken Donaldson Jr.’s championship total.
A highlight of any motorsport division is a race that puts extra strain on equipment and the drivers. On June 29, the Late Model competitors were faced with 35 hard laps of the half-mile Speedway, and the high speed contest took its toll on several of the entrants, while others took the extra distance in stride and went on to race success.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Scott Harrison snatched the early race lead, but found himself ousted from the point on the second lap by the charging #55 Harrington Mobile Mechanics/Jessup Motorsports Chevy of Darren Kearnan.
Soon finding his mirrors filled with Kyle Donaldson’s #53 Impala, Kearnan did his best to escape his shadow, the two frontrunners beginning to gap the remainder of their Late Model rivals.
While pursuing third place runner Mark Gordon (#52 Boston Pizza), Linc Brown suffered a ‘tank slapper’ of the Turn 4 wall, knocking him from the race on Lap 6. Undeterred by the trailing incident, Kearnan and Donaldson continued their escape, but on Lap 8, after a half-lap of side-by-side racing, Donaldson used the inside line to poke the nose of the Downtown Rugs/Planet Recovery Chevrolet in front of Kearnan’s mount, eventually emerging with the race lead.
Running in lockstep, Donaldson and Kearnan continued to pace the pack, while Gordon now had his hands full fending off a determined Harrison in the battle for third spot.
The contest remained green despite another Turn 4 ‘tank slapping’ incident from visitor JP Josiasse, but things did slow on Lap 28 when series rookie Owen Smith (#29) spun coming off of Turn 4. The ensuing green flag only lasted for two laps, when a three-car incident involving Smith, Doug Wills (#25) and Josiasse produced the yellow, and then the red, flag.
With the carnage cleared, the chase for the win was on with five-to-go, but on this night, Donaldson would not be beaten, the Queensville-based driver accepting the checkered flag by three car lengths over Kearnan.
“The car was working really well tonight and I was trying to pace myself so as not to wear out the car and the tires. That’s easy to say, but tough to do,” stated Donaldson. “Those two late cautions didn’t help the tires. When you’re going slow on hot tires, they pick up all kinds of junk and it’s nearly impossible to clean them up for the restarts.”
Kearnan shrugged when asked about his runner-up result,
“I didn’t have anything for Kyle tonight. I was just turning laps and trying to stay close in case anything happened up front.”
Gordon survived his race long scrap with Harrison, the two battling to the checkered flag with Gordon securing third spot in a nose-to-tail finish. Doug Wills recovered from his Turn 2 incident to record a top five result.
For further information: Ryan Chalmers, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
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