August 9, 2016
(Peterborough, ON) – The Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup teams invaded ‘Canada’s Toughest 1/3rd-mile’, Peterborough Speedway on Saturday night for the Lucas Oil 100, event number five of the championship season. Sophomore sensation Brandt Graham (#14) of Bowmanville, entered the night as the point leader on the strength of two straight victories at Sauble Speedway. Chasing him for the title is a trio of drivers, who were all just 11 points back entering the night, including Kevin Allen (#54) of Drumbo, ‘The Flying Farmer’ Kevin Gallant (#51) of Vanessa, and Josh Wood (#66) of London, with Chad McGlynn (#18) of Kitchener, rounding out the top-five, 14 markers back.
Don Beattie (#40) of Beaverton, led off qualifying, and the former Peterborough Thunder Car pilot set an early fast time of 14.920 seconds. The time would stand until the second to last qualifier, Bobby Tolton (#3) of Guelph, ripped off a lap at 14.720 seconds to climb to the top of the chart. Graham was the final qualifier, and the former Peterborough Speedway Mini-Stock racer stopped the clocks in just 14.670 seconds. In claiming the fast qualifier award, he missed the track record by a mere 7/100ths of a second. Bob Merrifield (#43) of Belle River, and Doug Cathcart (#48) of Ottawa, rounded out the top-five.
The ‘Fast Five’ were paired up with lucky youngsters on the front stretch as they drew for positions, but Graham’s roll continued as he was put on the pole for the 100-lap main event, with Tolton beside him. Beattie and Merrifield made up row two, with Cathcart and Wood occupying row three.
The race was slowed by a number of early yellow flags, and Graham was able to control the field on the restarts, keeping the lead, while Beattie, and Tolton gave chase. On lap 20, the black flag was displayed to Beattie as the tailpipe was hanging out the right side of his car. Luckily another yellow flew, giving him the chance to pit under caution, as he stayed on the lead lap.
By lap 25 Wood and Allen had passed Tolton, but the driver on the move was ‘The Bandit’ Alvin McNicol (#77) of Exeter, who started 13th, and had moved to fifth. Shortly after that, Tolton had a flat tire that caused him to lose laps, though his car continued to be one of the fastest on the track.
McNicol continued his assault on the front of the field as he moved to second and tried to stay with Graham, while Allen, Gallant, and McGlynn completed the top-five.
By lap 35 Beattie had clawed his way back to seventh and was working Wood and McGlynn before heading to the outside lane and getting both of them in a couple of laps. After clearing that duo, Beattie was the fastest car on the track as he started reeling in Wood and Allen.
The yellow flew on lap 62, with Graham leading McNicol, Allen, Beattie, and Gallant. Beattie was able to blast to third on the restart and then after pursuing McNicol for a number of laps was able to get position on McNicol for second on lap 75. Over the closing 25 laps the pair traded second back and forth before contact led to a cut tire on McNicol’s car. He was forced to pit, but ran out of laps and finished sixth.
The final restart came with five laps to go, and Graham was able to control the competition again, pulling away, while Gallant was able to claim second from Beattie as the checkers fell. It was the third win in a row for Graham, while Gallant’s runner-up result kept him much alive in the championship battle. Beattie was finally able to put together 100 solid laps, and might have had enough for Graham if he hadn’t had to pit early, still posting a career best third-place finish.
The winner spoke about continuing his roll at his home track, “This is where I raced two years of Mini Stocks, and to win here is an unreal feeling – I’ve finally won at Peterborough Speedway. We have more fans here tonight then we get at all the other races, family and friends, and it’s so cool to win in front of them. Our car was awesome all night long, and I was just taking it easy and saving my tires the best I could. They told me that the #40 [Beattie] was coming, and I knew that I had been saving so much that I should have plenty left at the end. I can’t believe we’re leading the championship, now we just have to go have a couple of good runs at Full Throttle Motor Speedway and Flamboro Speedway, and try our best to win the title.”
Gallant survived throughout the 100-lap affair, taking a car that looked worthy of a fifth-place result to a second-place finish. He spoke about it afterwards, “Everything fell right for us. The car came in at the end, but I was able to hang back at times during the race, follow guys, and save our tires for the end. I’ve also raced at a bunch of different tracks over the years, and this is the best finish I’ve ever had away from Flamboro. We’re second in points all by ourselves now, which isn’t bad for our bunch of misfits. In all honesty, I really have to thank my guys so much for our success this year, and my wife for supporting this.”
Series rookie, yet Peterborough Speedway veteran Beattie spoke about his career best finish, “Our car was a rocket tonight. Stu Robinson Sr., and his son-in-law helped us out a lot, and it was fast. We had to pit because a hanger bolt came out of the exhaust, and that put us behind, but we worked hard for our finish. I wasn’t saving any tires, and we had some contact that knocked the toe out, and it didn’t steer as well after that. The #14 also did a good job all night and didn’t make any mistakes. We had our best run, and I was able to get a bunch of guys on the outside, after everyone says Peterborough is a one groove track.”
Scott Laporte (#88) of Mt. Hope was a lap down at one point during the event, but used a lucky dog to get back on the lead lap, and a late race charge to post his first career top-five finish, winding up fourth, while Wood claimed fifth.
The Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series will be back in action on Saturday August27th at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, just outside Mount Forest. The high-banked 1/4-mile playground of speed was the site of Graham’s first win last season in the season finale, and he will be trying to win his fourth race in row. With the runner-up finish, Gallant is in sole possession of second position in the standings, and following the Full Throttle Motor Speedway event the 2016 season will wrap up at Flamboro Speedway, Gallant’s home track, as he tries to make a late season championship comeback in his rookie season from 13 points down.
|Final Results – 1. Graham 2. Gallant, 3. Beattie, 4. Laporte, 5. Wood.|
Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup – Championship Points Standings (after 4 of 7 events) – 1. Brandt Graham (489 points), 2. Kevin Gallant (476), 3. Josh Wood (470), 4. Kevin Allen (468), 5. Chad McGlynn (464).
For more information on the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series, Lucas Oil, Peterborough Speedway, or Full Throttle Motor Speedway, please visit www.lucasoilsportsmancup.com,
Release and photos by Jamie Maudsley and maudsleymotorsports.com.
|Peterborough Seedway – Aug. 6, 2016|
|“Lucas Oil 100”|
|Lap Leaders – 14 (1-100)||1||
|Cautions – 5||2||51||Kevin Gallant||476||+2|
|Fast Time # 14 Brandt Graham – 14.67||3||66||Josh Wood||470||-1|
|Hard Charger – #51 Kevin Gallant||4||54||Kevin Allen||468||-1|
|Time Trials||In Lap||6||77||Alvin McNicol||455||+1|