The Peterborough native, who now makes his home in Little Britain, wheeled his #31 open wheeled machine from the inside of the front row on a very busy night at Canada’s Toughest 1/3-Mile Paved Oval. Gruntz jumped out to an early lead, when Randy Hollingsworth, who started alongside, experienced some issues and dropped-off the pace and pulled to the infield pit lane.
Gruntz was having a strong run at the point and built-up nearly a half track’s advantage, while about 7 others battled for position in his rear-view mirror. Dwight Brown – a former series champion, who was making his first start in a few years – moved into the 2nd spot, who Chad Strawn slipping into 3rd. The race had all the makings of a caution-free ride, but just as the leaders were closing on the backmarkers, a yellow flag flew for an issue in the fourth turn.
The leader had the entire field barking at his back bumper and despite a late race charge from Chad Strawn, he picked-up the checkered flag in the 2019 Ontario Modifieds Racing Series opener. Brown, John Baker Jr. and Nick Lees completed the top five. Bob Franks, Rob Warnes, Brad Stevenson, Willow Barberstock, Alex Cuzilla, Rick Warnes and Hollingsworth rounded out the running order.
Ontario Modifieds Racing Series notebook: It was a tough opening night for Craig Scott. The driver of the #69 machine burned his arm early in the night and couldn’t race. Luckily, former series champion Donny Beatty was on hand and offered to take over...but the car developed an oil leak and was sidelined for the night...Dwight Brown’s return came with a new car number. Having used #2 in the past, his 2019 effort carried #61, in tribute to his stepfather, Bill Pickford...The #09 machine of Nick Lees recorded a fifth place finish on the night. A former Autumn Colours Classic winner, he’ll share the seat with his twin brother Alex throughout the year...The series returns to action Saturday, June 22nd at Peterborough Speedway.
2019 Ontario Modifieds Racing Series schedule
Saturday, May 25th Peterborough Speedway
Cancelled - rain
Saturday, June 8th Peterborough Speedway
Main event winner: #31, Josh Gruntz
Saturday, June 22nd Peterborough Speedway
Saturday, June 29th Flamboro Speedway
Saturday, July 13th Peterborough Speedway
Saturday, July 27th Peterborough Speedway
Saturday, August 3rd Flamboro Speedway
Saturday, August 31st Peterborough Speedway
To learn more about the Ontario Modifieds Racing Series – powered by Torque Builders Inc. and Gen-3 Electrical – schedule, visit the group’s social media platform, www.facebook.com/OMRS or look for the newly redesigned web-site www.ontariomodifiedsracing.com.
For over a decade, Torque Builders Inc. has worked with partners and clients in the construction industry, offering new, general construction services, renovations and retrofits in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector. See www.torquebuilders.com to find out more. The 2019 Ontario Modifieds Racing Series tour is also supported by Complete Mechanical, Borque Transmission, Gen-3 Electrical, Thinkpath Design, Conview Concrete, Sterling Tire and Clarke Motorsports Communications.
Prepared by Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media