Saskatoon, SK (June 25, 2017)- Race Report from Wyant Group Raceway for June 24, 2017. Market Tire Western Speed Association SLM Series – Lakeview Insurance 150
That’s the only word that can describe the racing that went on Saturday night at Wyant Group Raceway. Heavy rains earlier in the week washed all the accumulated rubber off, along with limited practice because of an afternoon shower meant racers faced an extremely greenracing surface. One that is not conducive to traction.
In the Market Tire Western Speed Association Super Late Model Series, 22 cars from Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia assembled for the second race of the series, the Lakeview Insurance 150. Most of these cars were in Edmonton two weeks ago watching the rain wash out what was to be their second race. The first was in Saskatoon May 27th.
Highlighting the race was a newcomer, 14-year-old Tyler Emond from Leduc, strapping into a late model seat for the first time. Crew Chief and father Trevor Emond said they just finished fitting his seat in the car Thursday night, so he came into the event with zero SLM seat time.
Friday’s practice session allayed all fears about Tyler. He immediate showed the composure, confidence, patience and skill needed for the fastest racing in Canada. After a few laps, he was running mid 14 seconds laps on the 3/8th mile paved oval.
Saturday, he timed in with the big guns, eighth position at 14.418 seconds.
Clint Habart from Cranbrook timed in fastest in the #09 Minute Muffler Chevrolet, picking up the Propane Plus Pole award at 14.153 seconds. The #8x Swan Rentals Chevrolet of Kelly Admiraal was second at 14.167 seconds.
These two drivers would have a big decision to make. Give up their earned starting position and start the main feature at the back of the pack and take home the Propane Plus come from behind prize of $500 if they win. To complicate that decision, an extra $500 from Propane Plus was available since the prize wasn’t won in the first race. Further adding pressure, two long time race fans stepped forward and offered another $700 into the pot.
Both drivers were a little hesitant at the $1,000 offer, but when the pot grew they both jumped at the chance. That $1,700 would mean going home with $4,700 in their pocket if they get to that finish line first.
As Clint Habart explained, “It’s not the $700, it’s the faith of the fans that makes me say yes to the challenge. There’s no racing without the fans.”
And so set the start of the Market Tire Western Speed Association SLM Series Lakeview Insurance 150. With the top two qualifiers moved back and the set inversion of 12 cars, pole position was handed to the #36 of Grant Brown from Red Deer. #99 Dean Braham from Kelowna was on the outside. Row two saw Leduc’s 14-year-old Tyler Emond on the inside, with Saskatoon’s #17 Rob Janzen on the outside.
The inside and outside rows were set through earlier heat races won by Alex Leschenko driving Andrew Hardy’s #15 D&S Homes Challenger, #62 Kenny Heinz in his The Clean Shoppe Dry Cleaners Monte Carlo and the #12 Matthew Shirley in his Finesse Racing Chevrolet SS.
The Lakeview Insurance 150 race started out smooth enough. It’s always tough with 22 cars. Everyone has their fingers crossed and there is that collective sigh of relief as the #36 of Grant Brown crosses the start/finish line to get lap number one in the books. Brown would lead the second lap as well before being overtaken by the #17 of Rob Janzen, but then a little slip by the #15 of Alex Leschenko into Trent Seidel would bring out the first caution in lap three.
On the ensuing cone rule lineup, Grant Brown would follow Janzen inside, leaving the outside row open for the #18 to slip through. The restart would see Rob Janzen and Tyler Emond on the front row.
Emond would take advantage. A clean start saw the #18 move ahead of Janzen and a 14-year-old would lead a SLM Series race for the first time since Cameron Hayley in 2010. Emond would hang onto the lead for more that 20 laps as Janzen battled back. Janzen wrestled the lead back in lap 27.
By lap 31 Trent Seidel had worked his way up into the top three and was working on the outside of Tyler Emond. Emond would slip up into the 70. Both would slide. 70 hooked the front end of the 18 ripping his front end off and the entire right side of the 70. The accident would end Tyler’s first series race.
Janzen would continue to lead on the restart, but a spin by the #36 of Grant Brown would bring caution out again in lap 32. The restart put Janzen and the #56 of Howie Crossman on the front row. Crossman would take advantage, leading for a couple of laps. Janzen was having none of that though and took over the lead until caution came out again in lap 46 when a little tap by #22 Doug Biennia sent the #1 of Brett Taylor around.
This restart had #09 Clint Habart outside of #17 Rob Janzen and Habart took full advantage, powering into the lead. Within a couple of laps the 8x of Kelly Admiraal was chasing Habart for the lead. That order held until Dave Bone went into the outside wall bringing out the fifth caution in lap 69.
Habart continued to lead the first lap on the restart, but Kelly Admiraal worked by him to lead lap 72.
It looked like things were settling down when very light rain was reported over areas of the track in lap 80. Lap 82 a competition caution was put out while track conditions were assessed. It was a very light mist so the cars were kept pacing for 10 laps to keep heat in the tires and the track. At that point though it was clear the track would need some drying time and the cars couldn’t go back racing without their windshields being cleaned, so Ron Just led them down pit lane with the
2017 Mustang GT pace car from Jubilee Ford. The service trucks were sent out to keep pacing and the air moving.
Officials were busy discussing options. The race was over half complete so could have been called official, but nobody likes a race ending early. The drivers came to race and the fans were here to watch a race. After about 30 minutes it was clear the track was coming back very quickly so the late models were sent back out to get the heat moving again.
Drivers were given a dozen laps to get their cars and track back to temperature then lined back up for a restart. As this was a competition caution they were put back in their last crossing order, not the cone rule.
Did the break settle the drivers down or fire them up? Kelly Admiraal jumped back out into the lead. To end the suspense, he did hang onto that lead to the end of the race. There were more cautions, in lap 121 and lap 137. This turned into a double caution as the restart was called back when the 09 jumped a couple of car lengths ahead of the 8x before the green flag flew. One more caution in lap 138.
At the end, the #08 Swan Rentals Chevrolet of Kelly Admiraal picked up the $3,000 win and the combination Propane Plus/Fan Appreciation come from behind $1,700. Clint Habart was second in the #09 Minute Muffler Chevrolet, taking home $2,000 and the $375 Propane Plus Pole Award and the #17 J&A Heating and Plumbing Chevrolet was third for $1,250.
For those keeping score, that’s nine incident cautions and 12 cars that took the final lap of the race.
There was other racing, and crashing, Saturday night.
In the Law Enforcement Guardian CrimeStoppers Bandoleros, the #11 Flin Flon Denture Clinic Fusion bandolero of Caiden Willey picked up the first heat win. Ryley Schneider took the Qualifier Race and the Feature race in the #93
AGI Insurance Brokers Camaro bandolero. Ty Stewart was second in the Feature in the #14 Country Style BBQ bandolero and Ashton Everitt’s #18 Pippin Technical Services Camaro bandolero was third.
In the Earth Works Sask Legends, AJ Morrison picked up the win in the first heat race with the #84 Snooker Shack Ford Couple. #21’s Flaman Group Ford Coupe of Blake Erb picked up the Qualifier win and the Feature win. Stan Friesen was second in the feature in the #316 S&A Excavating Ford Couple and AJ Morrison was third.
There was 12 cars for the Shell V-Power Sportsman Division which meant split heats. Heat A was picked up by Neil Schneider. Heat B winner was Cale Siemens.
Qualifier A was won by the #2 of Kerry Neufeld and Qualifier B by the #49 being driven by Shantel Kalika.
The Shell V-Power Sportsman feature was taken by the #28 Lucky Bastard Distillers Chevrolet of Cale Siemens. Neil Schneider was second in the #93 Burco Electrical Contractors Camaro and Shantel Kalika was third, driving Ben Busch’s #49 Northern Lights Casino Camaro.
There’s no racing next weekend as teams enjoy the long weekend and fans enjoy the Royal Canadian Family Circus Spectac! 2017 at the track June 30, July 1, 2 and 3.
Racing is back in two weeks with the Market Tire Western Speed Association Super Late Model Series rolling back for their third stop at Wyant Group Raceway. With Rob Janzen carrying a 21 point lead over Trent Seidel, and one more point to Kelly Admiraal, it’s bound to be another exciting race.
Joining the Super Late Models are the Golf’s Car Wash Mini Stocks, the Tiger Automotive Pro Trucks and the Shell V-Power Sportsman Divisions.
Front gates open at 4:30 with the first green flag at 6:05pm