Ottawa Ontario’s Russell Saulnier and Plantation, Florida’s Robert Mitten drivers of the #42 Dodge Ram successfully defended their title taking home the Indian Summer Trophy for the second year in a row.
Joining the winning duo on the podium was their Stayner Travel Trailer team mate, Stayner, Ontario’s Scott Tapley, driver of the #78 Chevy Silverado, taking Second Overall and first in GT 3 Class.
It was a long race for the team who started first and forth overall after the pole sitting Dodge Viper of Martin Barkey “broke out” during qualifying and sent to the back of the pack for the race. At the start Mitten took the lead in the #42 Dodge, Tapely in the #78 steadily moved up to second overall, with Barkey despite starting at the rear, quickly applying pressure to the duo. Barkey soon got past the less powerful machine of Tapley and began to set his sights on Mitten.
Mitten began to set a series of consistently fast laps until the 78 minute mark when the Ratchet Racing Team call him in for what would be his first and only pit stop. CASC GT Challenge Rules require teams to inform the officials of their intention to pit two laps prior to their stop, conveniently for the team a full course yellow was thrown on Mitten’s in-lap, the team soon announced to officials that Tapley in the #78 would pit immediately following #42. Mitten pitted, with the Ratchet Racing Crew executing a flawless stop adding fuel, servicing the truck and replacing Mitten with Saulnier, returning the #42 truck to the track in 2nd overall. Almost immediately #78 Tapley pitted, again the crew performed as a cohesive team and got their driver back out quickly.
Form there the drivers were tasked with maintaining consistent lap times, while working through the traffic and fending off challeges from their rivals for the remaining 90 minutes. In the end it was an “almost” Lemans style finish with Saulnier catching Tapley to put him a lap down at the line.
An exhausted, but jubilant Tapley emerged from #78 as the GT3 Class Winner and Second Overall, Saulnier and Mitten were ecstatic to be successful in taking their second consecutive Indian Summer Three Hour Enduro win and the covenanted Indian Summer Trophy.
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