Peterborough, ON – Jay Doerr had put together a solid season heading into event number six of the seven race Lucas Oil Sportsman Series at Peterborough Speedway on Saturday September 18th, but he added an exclamation point at Canada’s Fastest 1/3rd-mile, dominating the night.
Doerr had captured one of the two 50-lap feature wins earlier in the season at Peterborough during a doubleheader night, and was on a roll after a win in the previous event at Sauble Beach Speedway in late August.
Jay continued in qualifying as he timed in fastest, ripping off a lap of 14.74 seconds to earn the pole position for the 100-lap main event. ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ Kelly Balson joined Doerr on the front row, with Jason Meyer third, and Dave Connelly fourth. Balson and Connelly entered the night still having a shot at the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup championship, but needed to beat Doerr to get close enough in points to have a legitimate shot during the final event of the year at Flamboro Speedway. Shawn McGlynn rounded out the top-five in qualifying.
Following a rain delay of 1 ½ hours, the field took to the high-banked oval for the main event, and it was all Doerr from the outset. He was able to work his black #40 to the front time and time again, surviving a number of restarts to maintain his position on the point. Meanwhile Connelly and Balson were swapping second and third positions on almost every restart. When one of the duo would start on the outside of the front row following a yellow, it would open up the inside lane enough for the other to take second position, only to have the roles reversed on the next restart.
Doerr’s mount would start to get loose in the late stages, and on a lap 81 restart, Connelly looked to capitalize on that trouble, hanging tough on the outside for a lap and a half, including leading one lap by inches before surrendering ground, and falling back to third behind Doerr and Balson. The night would take a turn for Balson a few laps later, as he, and a number of others hit fluid on the speedway in turn three and the car snapped around and tagged the wall, all but eliminating The Crowd Pleaser from championship contention. Connelly would take another stab at Doerr on the next restart, but was caught in the high line by Cole Weber, who had run in the top-five all night, and Josh Wood. Connelly would finally get into line in fourth, as Doerr continued to run perfect circles on his way to feature win number four of the season.
After starting sixth, Weber was able to hold off a strong charge from Wood to claim the runner-up finish. Cole stayed consistent and out of trouble all night to record the solid finish.
Wood had a tremendous outing in the feature after the way the day started for the driver of the #66. Problems led him to miss his qualifying run, forcing the team to scramble to fix the issues, as well as having to start from the back of the pack. Wood came from deep in the field and methodically picked his way through traffic all night to post the solid bronze medal result.
Connelly held on to fourth, while Shawn McGlynn overcame a number of pit stops throughout the night to charge back to a fifth-place result.
Doerr spoke about the run, and missing on a perfect night by mere inches, the distance that Connelly led lap 82 by, saying, “Our car was on rails all night, and the guys prepared another great race car for me. We started to get a little loose late in the race, and Connelly had me a little nervous on that one restart when he was able to hang with us. We also made a gear change since the last time we were here, and the car was really getting out of the hole well.”
Jay also spoke about having the opportunity to clinch the title at his favourite track, “We’re not going to go there to ride around. I have won a lot at Flamboro when I was racing Dwarf cars, but I’ve never won there in a full-sized stock car. We’re going to win!”
(Feature Finish) – 1. Doerr, 2. Weber, 3. Wood, 4. Connelly, 5. McGlynn (Points after 6 of 7 events) – 1. Doerr – 610 points, 2. Connelly – 575, 3. Balson – 568, 4. Wood – 556, 5. Dan Prudhomme – 530.
The Lucas Oil Sportsman Series will compete in their final race of the season as part of one of the largest Ontario short track celebrations, Octoberfest at Flamboro Speedway on Saturday October 2nd. It will be the first visit of the season for Ontario’s top touring series at the Hamilton-area 1/3rd-mile track.
For more information please visit www.lucasoilsportsmancup.com.
Story by Jamie Maudsley
Photos by www.maudsleymotorsports.com.