Spencer-Walt started off Saturday night solidly, finishing third in both of his qualifying heats.
Starting fifth for the 75-lap feature, he would move into the third spot on Lap 5, though dropped back to fourth a lap later. He would not remain there for long, taking over third in the next five laps, before passing Kendra Adams for second on Lap 16.
It would take a bit, but he’d track down Dwayne Baker for the lead, getting alongside him on Lap 38. He’d be unable to complete the pass, falling back in line as they’d go by the lapped car of Allan Inglis. He’d get back alongside a lap later, though fell back in line once again due to another lap car – Daniel Montanari. He’d get back alongside for a third time on Lap 46, but the caution came out for a spin deep in the field.
Restarting second, he remained there through the middle stretch of the feature, up until the race’s second caution on Lap 69 for a lapped car going around. On the restart, Spencer-Walt would spin in turn two, collecting two others and ending his feature early. It was determined afterwards that fluid was put down by Brandon Feeney, who was having a rear-end issue. Spencer-Walt was credited with a 12th-place finish.
Despite Saturday night’s feature not going smoothly, Spencer-Walt was still able to hold onto the points lead, being crowned the 2019 Sunset Speedway Late Model Championship. It marks his fourth title in the last four years, as he won the Peterborough Speedway Championship in 2015, followed by both the Great Lakes Concrete Series and Sauble Speedway titles last season.
“We’ve been here and tried to run this place two or three different times, and the cards just didn’t go our way,” Spencer-Walt said. “A lot of stuff didn’t go our way, and I got to thank Brian (Todish) and Sandra (Todish) for sorting some stuff out around here, Ben (Dennis) and Courtney (Wright) sorting some stuff with tires. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into running a race track and being able to win a championship and it is definitely turned around with the staff that they’ve put in place to take care of the place properly and look after tech proper, and just do the right things.
“Mike (Brown) is in there and he’s doing his job, ripping cars apart every night, and that helps. Guys cheat – they do; I’m not going to stay that I’ve never cheated before in my life, but its part of it. We left here and Gord (Shepherd) has won a few championships here. He did give me my best start, and I’ll stand here and tell everybody. I don’t care if this place is packed, Gord did give me the start with the thunder cars and I had the best car to drive every week for him and win championships at Barrie (Speedway).”
The effort put together by the team this season is something Spencer-Walt credited back to the team behind him, led by car owner Eldon Wallis.
“We were fast here and we’d win races, but I don’t know,” he commented. “If it wasn’t Eldon putting the money up and team being behind me every week – I don’t run around saying I’m the best driver. They instill that in me. They tell me that I’m the best, that we’re outrunning guys. I don’t have to tell myself that or pump myself up. My team and my owner and my wife do that every week.”
Out of the many things that made the championship a challenge, Spencer-Walt touched on the tire strategy in knowing they only are allowed so many sets per season.
“With four weeks to go, we swapped motors just because we were out of tires,” he noted. “We used them up with the built motor. To be honest, we struggled when we put the crate in and we’re still struggling now. I don’t think we’re near as fast now as we were with the built motor in there. The built motor just gets up and goes; the crate motor is good, and it saves tires and that’s the main reason we went to it.
“Again, it all stems back to Eldon. If Eldon didn’t get us a crate motor through Jim Wilson Chevrolet – if anybody needs a crate go there, sponsor plug. They us a crate motor to go play with and I have a built motor so we have options, which is great and it helps us on a track like this. Hot and greasy nights, you can put a crate in and save tires and be a little better. It got hot, and we put the crate in, and we struggled a bit. I think for next week, we’re going to change everything again.”
To date, with 19 features now in the books for the 2019 campaign, Spencer-Walt has scored five wins, six runner-ups, three thirds, and a total of 16 top-10’s.
Entering Saturday night, he was leading the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Provincial Standings, and was 10th in the national standings (despite some United States competitors having ran twice the amount of features). Notably, he is the highest ranked Canadian in the standings.
Despite all the points being totaled up, the season is not done yet. Spencer-Walt will return to Sunset Speedway on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22 for the Fall Velocity 75-lap Late Model invitational. He will be pulling double duty, also behind the wheel of a Ontario Outlaw Super Late Model on Sunday.
The Eldon Wallis owned team is proud to receive sponsorship this season from Simcoe Sewer and Water, Gohydrovac.ca, Jim Wilson Chevrolet, Auto Trim Design, Speedy Auto Glass Orillia, Byer’s Equipment Motorsports, Orser Technical Services, Heidi’s RV Superstore, GreenSteelRoof.ca, HOTC, and EPIC Racewear.
Keep up with Rick Spencer-Walt and Spencer-Walt Motorsports by liking their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Walt-Motorsports/524817640964689?fref=ts and following Rick Spencer-Walt on twitter at https://twitter.com/Rwalt31.