SASKATOON, SK (September 17, 2017)- Few would argue the fact fans saw the best racing in western Canada on Saturday night at Wyant Group Raceway. The Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association and the Western Speed Association closed out the 2017 race season in front of a terrific crowd.
It was a mostly sunny day with moderate mid teen temperature as the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stocks, the Earthworks Sask Legends, the Shell V-Power Sportsman, the WSSL Auto Parts Super Late Models and the Market Tire Western Speed Association Late Models all finalized their championships.
With the mini stocks, Shawn Magee started out winning both the heat race and the qualifier race in the #4 Tommy Guns Original Barbershop Honda Prelude. It was Jim Barnsley taking the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stock feature though in the #41 Streetwise Service Dodge Neon. Shawn Magee was second and the #23 of Cole Nixey was third.
In the Earthworks Sask Legends, the #21 of Blake Erb followed Magee’s example and picked up the heat race and qualifier race wins in his Flaman Group Ford Coupe. A blown engine though left the door open for AJ Morrision to take home the Earthworks Sask Legends feature flag in his #84 Snooker Shack Ford Coupe. #90 Danny Meir was second and #27 of Jody Stewart was third.
Neil Schneider also picked up two wins Saturday afternoon in the Shell V-Power Sportsman division, taking the heat race and the Feature in his #93 Burco Electric Camaro. Ryan Thompson took the qualifier win in the #33 Dodman Home Camaro. In the feature, #42 Nicole Sheetka followed Schneider over the line, with Ryan Thompson running a close third.
In the super late models, Jim Gaunt confirmed rumours that had been floating around for a while that after 38 years of super late model racing he is hanging up the steering wheel and retiring. No word on what Jim plans on spending his time at, though he has been seen helping his brother on the don’t turn left race track, otherwise known as drag racing.
Jim showed that while he may be stepping aside he still has some gas left in the tank and wanted to go out making a statement. That statement was timing in quickest out of 23 cars, at 14.179 seconds. Rob Janzen was second quick in time trials at 14.185 seconds.
Those times would be important as both drivers would face a decision later in the afternoon.
Propane Plus, having written Jim a cheque for timing in quickest, also offers up $500.00 to the two top qualifiers if they give up their earned starting position, start at the back and win the race.
As he normally does, Rob Janzen accepted the challenge, noting any winnings would go to his charity of choice, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Saskatoon. Jim wasn’t so confident though and even with some prodding from the crowd, declined the opportunity at the extra winnings.
Infield announcer Joey would be back in Jim’s pit after the Legends feature though with another offer. Race fans Ken from LaRonge Family Taxi and Cliff Pompu were offering up another $1,000, putting the total at $1,500.
It looked like an auction around Gaunt’s pit as tech leader Tom Vangool, Lewis Nugent and a couple of others were encouraging Jim, almost negotiating, to move to the back. Jim would continue to decline even though he didn’t even know his starting position yet. That starting position would be inside of row three.
Jared Reddekopp was hot Saturday night charging his way to win the first heat race in the #97 Razor Heating and Air Conditioning Impala. Rob Janzen would take the second heat in his #17 J&A Heating and Plumbing Chevy SS and Howie Crossman with the #56 TG Graphics SM Inc Impala would take Heat C.
That set up the feature lineup for the Elite Property Management 150, with Reddekopp and Janzen making up the front row. Janzen of course moved to the back and with the set inversion of 12 cars, the #38 of Dave Bone had the pole and #04 of Tim Kammer had the outside pole. Clint Habart and Trent Seidel made up the second row.
Bone jumped out on the green flag and led the first lap, but the 09 of
Clint Habart made quick meat of that idea, taking the lead for lap two.
Habart would continue to lead until the first caution came out in lap 39
when the #91 of John LaFrance was smoking and then spun out.
Seidel would jump into the lead on the green flag and lead the next seven laps until Habart would take over again. The drivers settled in for a nice evening drive until lap 66 when the #56 of Howie Crossman would collect Jared Reddekopp, knocking the #97 from the race.
Disaster was averted in the ensuing restart as 09 and 8x were coming to the line as the green flag flew the 09 lost power and came to a grinding halt. This is usually disastrous in racing but somehow everyone behind managed to avoid Habart and the sliding cars. No damage as the yellow lights came on for the third time of the race.
Clint Habart was towed into the pits while the cars were relined. The 8x of Kelly Admiraal was given the choice of inside or outside pole. Of course he took inside and the third place car of Trent Seidel moved to outside pole. The rest of the cars were just moved up in line as the green came out again.
Meanwhile Habart’s crew was busy on his car, fixing what would turn out to be a burned ignition wire. The 09 would rejoin the race about 12 laps later.
On the track though, the 8x of Kelly Admiraal jumped out to take over the lead and would continue to hang on until the fourth caution in lap 85 when the #46 of Brett Taylor came down on Andy Clewes, back behind the wheel of the #8 McDonald’s car.
Trent Seidel would take over the lead in lap 86 and show the way around the track until caution flies again in lap 107. This time the #9 of Ian Admiraal would spin out on the front without incident.
Seidel would lead the way for one more lap when the 8x of Kelly Admiraal would once again get around him. Seidel would continue to chase Kelly, but soon had a new challenge as the #18 of Tyler Emond would start knocking on his back door.
Lap after lap Tyler was looking inside and outside. Finally in lap 118 Tyler would find himself beside Trent and would actually show as ahead of Trent in lap 121. The two collected though coming through corner four. Emond slid, slowing considerably bringing out the sixth and final caution of the race.
The call though would leave neither driver happy as both were charged with causing the caution and moved to the back of the field.
This put Howie Crossman into the front and he would find himself on the front row when the green would come back out. Howie worked on Admiraal as well, but just didn’t have enough car to get by him. The final lap would have the #8 Swan Rentals Chevy winning the Elite Property Management 150, with the #56 of Howie Crossman second and Logan Jewel in the #92 MacCarthy GM Impala from Prince George in third.
The 150 lap race would end with 13 cars still on the lead lap and 18 cars still running.
The final points still need to be audited, so the names of champions in all divisions will be released after next weeks Enduro and Run-Your-Junk show. That takes place Sunday, September 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Wyant Group Raceway. That will be the final track activity for 2017. Gates open at 12:30.