INNISFIL, ON- Despite a strong run through afternoon practice and heat race qualifying, suspension issues plagued OSCAAR Super Late Model Tour rookie Kelly Balson from the drop of the green flag at Sunset Speedway’s ‘Velocity 250’ on September 28th. ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ would do his best to battle through the issues, though ultimately found himself relegated to pit road before the halfway mark.
“The day started off incredibly positive”, explains Balson. “We were fast in practice, we had two really strong heat races and it felt like everything was going our way”
“After the invert, we started on the inside pole and it really felt as though a top-5 was within reach”, continues ‘The Crowd Pleaser’. “However, as we started to roll around the speedway under pace laps, I began warming up my tires and could hear something amiss in the front end of the car”
The problem intensified as Balson took the green flag, and his No. B10 London Recreational Racing Chevrolet began to freefall through the field. It was only when Balson brought his ride to the attention of his team on pit road that the gravity of the issue was realized.
“The left upper A-Arm was binding on the chassis, and had actually managed to crack the weld around the ball joint”, says Balson. “It was a stroke of luck that we came to pit road when we did, we were tempting fate being out there any longer”
Post-race, the look of disappointment on Balson’s face was evident, as his team worked quickly to load up and head back to their Hampton, ON base to prepare for the final event of the OSCAAR schedule, at Peterborough Speedway on October 10th, 11th and 12th.
“I don’t think there’s any question that we had seen the weekend working out radically different”, offers Balson. “The car was an absolute rocket in qualifying. It felt fantastic. It just wasn’t meant to be”
“We had actually intended on camping another night, but after what happened in the feature it took the party right out of us”, continues the 6-time Peterborough Speedway champion.
“We packed up and went home. The depression level in the hauler was hovering around what you feel when a family pet dies”
With the Velocity 250 in his rearview, Balson has struck a deal with longtime chassis manufacturer Dan McHattie and noted NASCAR Canadian Tire Series setup specialist Graham Annis to co-ordinate Balson’s efforts at Peterborough’s upcoming ‘Autumn Colours Classic’.
“This team has had a lot of incredibly talented people work on this car this season, but the geography just wasn’t making sense”, explains the Rookie of the Year contender. “We were having to drive, at times, more than two hours from home to have work done”
“To be able to incorporate Dan and Graham into the mix is incredible. I have a world of respect for both of them, and they live less than a half hour from my front door. As upsetting as the Velocity was, we definitely have some hope that we can turn things around at ‘the Classic'”
Gate times and ticket prices for Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic can be found at www.PeterboroughSpeedway.com.
Kelly Balson is proud to represent London Recreational Racing, Dan McHattie Racecars, Shelley Taxidermy, BARKER and Cochrane Automotive.
By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)