ST. THOMAS, ON – Delaware Speedway championship point leader Mark Watson and his Ron O’Brien Re/Max / Davis Moore Fuels / Huron Tractor / Wells Foundry / Larry Knott Fibreglass Chevrolet Impala SS headed North to Sauble Speedway on Sunday, August 5, for the annual ‘Beat the Heat’ 150. The event, just outside of Sauble Beach, ON, is one of the biggest Late Model events in the province, as many of the top teams and drivers were in attendance.
Following practice, Watson took to the track for his heat race, and after rolling off from the inside of the third row, raced his way to a fourth-place finish. “We have a different setup than we run at Delaware, so I just wanted to feel the car out, and make sure it would be comfortable for the night. We worked hard on our package, and I think it’s going to be good for long runs,” Watson said about the qualifier.
Watson started seventh in the 150-lap main event, with a scheduled caution to be called at the halfway point. A pair of yellows would fly early in the race, but the field settled in and started clicking off laps. Mark picked his way through traffic and was running fourth when he was passed by Jesse Kennedy just before the halfway point. “I knew we had a good car, and it was nice that there were no yellows after lap 16. It’s also great when your car is handing.”
A competition yellow appeared on lap 75 and while most of his fellow competitors were taking on right side tires, Watson’s crew left on the right front and changed rear tires on his #3 car. “I tried to take care of the right front, and the new rear tires gave us so much bite off the corners,” he said.
Watson would follow Kennedy forward on the restart and found himself running third when he went on the attack. “I could see Jesse was starting to struggle with forward grip, and I was able to get past him into second.”
As the laps wore down, Andrew Gresel was leading the event, and while Watson tried to gain on him, was unable to challenge as the second half of the event went yellow-free. Mark was also pleased with what he heard from the track, “Unfortunately, the #81 [Gresel] had some problems in tech lane. They were too light, and had illegal parts. For some reason the track hasn’t posted the winner anywhere, but we have the cheque to prove it.”
Track promoter Jason Thom explained, “The 81 car [Gresel] were disqualified but filed a protest. Watson was awarded the win. Until we hear about the results of the protest the track isn’t prepared to issue an official statement on the results.”
Watson was back in action on Sunday, August 12, at Flamboro Speedway for the final leg of the Grisdale Triple. Watson took the lead at the halfway mark of the event, and sped away from the field in the late going to capture his second feature win in as many events.