PETERBOROUGH, ON- When work commitments called former Autumn Colours Classic winner Chris Mitchell out of province mid-week, the Ltd. Late Model championship contender didn’t have to look far to find his replacement driver for competition on June 7th at Peterborough Speedway.
“This was an awesome opportunity for both Josh [Gruntz] and myself”, reported Mitchell from his work-site in Myrtle Beach, SC. “We work out of the same shop and have become real good friends the last couple years. I have an immense respect for Josh as a driver after seeing what he can do in an OSCAAR Modified, and figured this could give him an introduction to Late Model racing while simultaneously keeping our team in the championship hunt while I’m away”
To his credit, Gruntz’s on-track performance was not indicative of a racer making his Ltd. Late Model debut, as the Peterborough, ON wheelman turned in a 6th place finish in a talent-heavy field of competitors.
“I’m elated with Josh’s performance”, said Mitchell. “He was easy on equipment, brought the car home without a scratch and kept our streak of top-10 finishes alive – how could I not be happy with that?”
Chances are this will not be Gruntz’s final foray into Ltd. Late Model racing, as Mitchell’s busy work schedule threatens to keep him out of the seat later on in the season.
“My business takes me all across North America, often times at a moment’s notice”, explained Mitchell, “so, there’s a good chance we’ll call on Josh again to fill in. Our team is 100% committed to racing for a championship at Peterborough this season, and I can’t thank Josh enough for stepping up and helping us work towards our goal”
In reviewing the night’s action, Mitchell made sure to credit his fellow Peterborough competitors for aiding Gruntz in his absence.
“I really do believe that Peterborough [Speedway] has some of the best quality people in our sport”, said Mitchell. “Josh had fellow racers coming over all night making sure he was alright, and asking if we needed anything. I want to thank Ryan Kimball for helping Josh make some adjustments prior to qualifying”
Kimball’s offer of help was no surprise, despite the hard racing that he and Mitchell put on display just one week earlier.
“The battle between Ryan [Kimball], Craig [Graham] and myself last weekend was well documented”, said Mitchell, “but what a lot of people don’t see is the atmosphere between us off the track”
“We’ll go out and race one another as hard as we can, but at the end of the day we’ve all known each other a long time, and are more than willing to help one another if need be. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in racing, it’s that the higher you climb, the more passionate you are about your program. Some of that passion spilled over last weekend, but when it was all said and done, Ryan and I were able to work it out and I look forward to chatting with Craig about it as soon as I’m home”
“Just like any sport, there are times in the heat of the moment where intensity takes over and the human element gets lost in the shuffle for a moment”, opined Mitchell.
Chris Mitchell will be back in action when the Ltd. Late Model division returns to Peterborough Speedway on June 21st. Gate times and ticket prices for the event are available at www.PeterboroughSpeedway.com
Chris Mitchell’s 2014 season is powered by Rockstar Energy Drink, Dent Dynamics, Earl Ireland Auto Sales, Triben Entertainment, Dan McHattie Race Cars, Klotz Fuels Canada and Kawartha Metals.
Fans can follow ‘Handsome’ Chris via his @DentDynamics22 Twitter account or his ‘Chris Mitchell Racing’ page on Facebook and visit the brand new DentDynamics22 account on Instagram.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)