Saskatoon, SK (July 10, 2017)- Heat certainly played a role in all the racing Saturday at Wyant Group Raceway. There just isn’t a lot of room for cooling down when the air temperature is pushing 30 degrees and there is not even a breeze to speak of. Compared to two weeks ago drivers kept their cool, but cars were dropping one by one as the blazing sun took its toll.
Early in the day during pre-race hot laps a slip on the hot track brought together the mini stocks of Shawn Magee, Jim Barnsley and Riley Surcon. All suffered damage heavy enough to end their days before they even began.
Over in the pro trucks, Bill Zubrecki was fighting a persistent oil leak, missing the heat and qualifier races entirely and only turning a few laps in the pro truck feature. William Stelzner had an equally trying night as he missed the qualifier race and also retired from the pro truck feature after only three laps.
The sportsman drivers seemed to have a little better luck. After a disastrous race two weeks ago, all their cars turned every lap Saturday night. In fact, they went through their heat, qualifier and feature caution free.
The Market Tire Western Speed Association super late model Elance Steel 150 was a different story. There were no crashes between cars, but the recovery trucks made several trips onto the track to bring carnage back to the pits. By the time lap 150 was in the books, seven cars were on the sidelines watching the finish of the race.
The night did start out with a bit of a surprise. Usually hot days slow the cars down by a few tenths of a second. But on this Saturday Trent Seidel was flying in qualifying as he brought the Elance Steel Chevy Impala SS around the track in 14.085 seconds, capturing the Propane Plus Pole Award and coming within three-one-hundredths of a second of the track record. Certainly unexpected on a hot track.
Seidel was thrilled at finally returning to the top of the board in qualifying and did not even hesitate when asked about the Propane Plus come from behind award. This is where the top two qualifiers are offered the opportunity to give up their earned start position and instead start from the back and pick up an extra $500 if they win thefeature race. Another $250 came from the crowd, putting $750 up for the taking.
Seidel acknowledged many of his sponsors were in the stands Saturday so he couldn’t disappoint them and he would show them what they are supporting, taking the challenge.
Second qualifier was the #17 J&A Heating and Plumbing Chevy of Rob Janzen at 14.204 seconds. He too didn’t hesitate as he said he would gladly take the Propane Plus come from behind award money and hand it over to Big Brothers and Sisters of Saskatoon.
With the inversion of 12 cars, the starting grid for the Elance Steel 150 was set with the youngest and oldest drivers on the front row. The 14-year-old pilot Tyler Emond of the #18 Clark Construction Chevy SSwould be on the pole, with (mumble/mumble) year old driver of the #22 Custom Foundations Toyota Camry, Doug Bienia on the outside.
Right from the drop of the green flag you could see different strategies at play. Young gun Emond took off into the lead, pushing 14-1/2 second laps. Meanwhile, Seidel and Janzen dropped back from the crowd and didn’t push their cars below 15 seconds for the first five laps when the caution lights came on.
Something broke in the steering of the #76 Big Bore Horizontal Drilling Chevy of Dusty O’Connell, sending him into the outside wall coming out of corner four. While Dusty was okay, his car was the first to leave the race on a hook.
The resulting restart had the #18 of Tyler Emond on the inside poll, with #10 of Kevin Dyck now beside him. Emond pulled away to lead the next 20 laps, but Dyck worked around him by lap 27, a lead he would hold until caution came again in lap 58.
Meanwhile, PJ Kondra took the #8 McDonalds Chevy to the pits in lap 25 with what looked like overheating. Doug Bienia also pulled the #22 into the garage in lap 38 and Jared Reddekopp pulled into his pits in lap 52 with what looked like a right rear flat, but his crew spent several laps working on the wheel, so obviously something else was wrong there.
Logan Jewel pulled in all the way from Prince George BC and his #92 MacCarthy GM Chevy developed a miss-fire. He pulled out of traffic to the outside and then couldn’t safely get down to the pits, bringing out the second caution of the race.
The leaderboard shows #10 and #18 on top, but Emond followed Dyck low for the restart, leaving the outside pole position open for the #8x if Kelly Admiraal to grab. He didn’t miss the opportunity.
Admiraal takes advantage and gets his Swan Rentals Chevy into the lead on the green, breathing the fresh air at the front for the next 10 laps or so. At this point Seidel had come out of nowhere and was side by side with Admiraal. Admiraal led lap 68, Seidel was ahead in 69. 8x was back in front for lap 70, but the #70 had the lead when caution came out in lap 72.
The #62 CJC & Co. Law Office Monte Carlo of Kenny Heintz was into the wall coming out of corner four, sending a shower of sparks as his car slid down the front, stopping right at the start/finish line.
The delay to get Kenny’s car off gave the #97 and #92 a chance to rejoin the field, having to take the start from the longer line as they came from the pits under caution.
Trent and Kelly were side by side for the restart. Trent was holding back no more and launched his car into the lead when the green light came on and didn’t really look back the rest of the race.
Caution flew again three laps later as Tim Kammer looped the #04 Degeiman Industries Impala around. Even though this was the fourth caution of the race, the race now had its first Lucky Bastard free pass recipient. The #92 of Logan Jewel gained a lap back. In the previous cautions the car that would have been eligible was either the cause of the caution or in the pits.
Going back green, Seidel’s car was still on rails and glided around the track with Admiraal and the rest of the field in chase. In lap 79 the #17 of Rob Janzen retired to the garage, followed by the #18 of Tyler Emond nine laps later. Reddekopp was still struggling and was in and out of his pits, finally parking in lap 98.
Caution was back out in lap 100 as the tire gremlin bit Jim Gaunt, sending the #55 Sky Financial the Mortgage Centre Chevrolet to the garage. But, the #55 was there for the green flag and was still determined to win his first race of 2017.
That wouldn’t happen though as it was pretty clear Seidel’s Elance Steel Chevy SS was finely tuned and gliding on air. In the final laps of the race he passed Dave Bone, Tim Kammer and Howie Crossman, putting them a lap down.
Jim Gaunt was next on Trent’s radar and Jimmy fought hard to maintain that lead lap position. The white flag came out with Seidel’s right on Gaunt’s tail. Jim couldn’t hang on and Trent moved around him, finishing the lap to take his second win on the Market Tire Western Speed Association circuit in the #70 Elance Steel Chevy SS.
Kelly Admiraal was second in the #8x Swan Rentals Chevy SS and brother Ian Admiraal was third, also driving a Swan Rentals Chevy SS with #9 on the door.
In other racing action Saturday at Wyant Group Raceway, as mentioned car count was dramatically lowered in the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stocks as three cars were on the losing end of a crash during practice. That left the #23 33rd Street Automotive Acura to pick up all three wins in the heat, qualifier and feature. Dylan Isley was second in the feature in the #7 Delisle Agencies Prelude and the #22 Over the Edge Eavestroughing Ford Focus of Cameron Nixey was third.
In the Tiger Automotive Pro Trucks, the #19 of Aaron Anderson picked up the heat win and the #49 of Shantel Kalika the qualifier win. Aaron Anderson was back in front for the Tiger Automotive Pro Truck feature in the #19 Ens Toyota Tundra, with the #49 OK Tire and Auto Service Dodge Ram of Shantel Kalika in second and Brennan Kirton picking up third in his #92 Cervus Equipment Silverado.
Ryan Thompson picked up the Shell V-Power Sportsman heat win in his #33 Dodman Homes Camaro. Neil Schneider’s Burco Electrical Contractors #93 Camaro was the Qualifier race winner. Matt Neufeld takes home the checkered flag in the Shell V-Power Feature, bringing the #51 Neufeld Building Movers Chevy in first, followed by his dad Kerry, in the #2 Neufeld Building Movers Chevy and Tony Mikulcik in the #77 Crop Pro Consulting Monte Carlo.
As mentioned earlier, Trent Seidel timed in quickest for the Western Speed Association Super Late Model series. Tim Kammer won Heat A in the #04 Degeiman Industries Impala and Matthew Shirley claimed Heat B in the #12 Co-op Chevy SS.
Next racing action at Wyant Group Raceway is next Saturday, July 15 as the WSSL Super Late Models are in for their first local division race of the season, along with the Golf’s Car Wash Street Stocks and the CrimeStoppers/Cervus Equipment Bandoleros.
First green flag is at 6:05pm, with the gates open at 5:00pm