THOROLD, Ont. (September 17, 2021) – Ryan Turner won his first sword from the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car series on Friday night at Merrittville Speedway; Turner led just one lap in the 25 lap A-Main, but it was the most important one.
The action began in the early morning hours when series points leader Jordan Poirier had trouble with his hauler more than four hours from Merrittville. Poirier was able to get a ride to the track but his equipment was left behind, and the Team Turner Racing 19 car became the Quebec driver’s ride for the evening.
Travis Cunningham and Glenn Styres made up the front row for the 11th Knights of Thunder A-Main of 2021, and Styres grabbed the early lead with Cunningham and DJ Christie giving chase. Christie got past Cunningham on lap five and quickly went to work on Styres. The middle groove was working for Styres, while Christie worked the cushion and Cunningham was on the inside. Close racing ensued as all three began to work through traffic, and Christie briefly got past Styres for the lead before getting over the cushion in turns three and four. Christie recovered and was preparing to mount another attempt when a yellow flag appeared for the stopped car of John Burbridge Jr.
Another yellow flag for Aaron Turkey appeared soon after the restart, but Styres’ stay at the front ended on lap 12 when Christie made a well-executed slide job and fought off a crossover attempt by Styres. Christie opened up a lead while Styres fell into the clutches of Mack DeMan, who had fallen back on the initial start before mounting a comeback. DeMan got around Styres just before a red flag flew for a Dan Nanticoke tipover, while Ryan Turner followed suit after the restart.
Christie opened a lead of more than one second as the race wound down, while Turner caught and passed DeMan with three laps to go. It appeared Turner was going to run out of time in his pursuit of Christie, but the yellow flag appeared again for Jamie Turner’s stopped car and set up a two lap dash to the finish. Christie had the advantage on the restart, but Turner gained rapidly on the leader as they took the white flag. Turner got alongside in turns one of two and cleared Christie down the backstretch, but Christie fought back and attempted to slide under Turner in turns three and four. Christie couldn’t make the move stick and watched helplessly as Turner took the checkered flag.
Christie held DeMan off for the runner-up spot, while Josh Hansen and row seven starter Jim Huppunen rounded out the top five. Styres faded at the end but held on to finish sixth, followed by Tyler Rand, Cunningham, Poirier, and Mat Williamson. Cory Turner moved from 22nd to 11th to claim Hard Charger honours, while heat race wins went to Jacob Dykstra, Liam Martin, and Styres.
Poirier’s lead in the championship standings now stands at 44 points over Ryan Turner, with Jim Huppunen 12 points behind Turner in third. Josh Hansen holds the fourth position, while DJ Christie is now into the top five. Travis Cunningham, Cory Turner, Liam Martin, Tyler Rand, and Holly Porter make up the rest of the top ten.
The Pinty’s Knights of Thunder series will next be in action on Friday, October 1 at Humberstone Speedway. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.
Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series
Race Report – Friday, September 17, 2021
Thorold, Ontario, Canada
Heat Race 1
1. 5D-Jacob Dykstra
Heat Race 2
1. 9-Liam Martin
Heat Race 3
1. 0-Glenn Styres
1. 91-Ryan Turner; 2. 5-DJ Christie; 3. 17X-Mack DeMan; 4. 88H-Josh Hansen; 5. 14H-Jim Huppunen; 6. 0-Glenn Styres; 7. 84-Tyler Rand; 8. 90-Travis Cunningham; 9. 19-Jordan Poirier; 10. 0W-Mat Williamson; 11. 13-Cory Turner; 12. 9-Liam Martin; 13. 70-Baily Heard; 14. 5D-Jacob Dykstra; 15. 1-Holly Porter; 16. 87X-Shone Evans; 17. 68-Aaron Turkey; 18. 15-Dan Nanticoke; 19. 46-Kevin Pauls; 20. (DNF) 11-Jamie Turner; 21. (DNF) 01K-Mikey Kruchka; 22. (DNF) 21-John Burbridge Jr; 23. (DNS) 71S-Shawn Sliter
A-Main Lap Leaders – Glenn Styres 1-11; DJ Christie 12-24; Ryan Turner 25
Margin of Victory – 0.647 seconds
Hard Charger – Cory Turner +11
Friday, October 1, 2021 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ontario
Report from Tommy Goudge