(Varney, ON) – During the 2011 offseason, driver Jay Doerr (#43) of London and his car owner and father Doug Doerr sold the team’s two-time championship winning car to Phil McCarthy. McCarthy is keeping Doerr in the car for the 2012 season, and the defending series champ picked up where he left off, scoring a ‘perfect’ afternoon during the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series’ inaugural race on the ¼-mile high banks of Varney Speedway Motorplex.
A tremendous crowd was on hand as the afternoon card started off with qualifying for the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup cars, and Doerr was fastest during time trials, turning the track in 13.782 seconds. Rookie Joe Trafford (#70) of New Hamburg shocked the crowd by qualifying second in his first start in the series, followed by ‘The Intimidator’ Tim Tolten (#3) of Guelph, another freshman, Jamie ‘ The Juicebox’ Ott (#88) of Ayr, and Shawn McGlynn (#81) of Kitchener.
This year’s fast five format to set the starting lineup includes the Blast Floor Coatings challenge, saw Doerr decline the challenge, as he chose to draw for starting position, as opposed to trying to win the bonus from starting at the back. He drew number five to start on the inside of the third row, while the bonus will grow for race number two. Tolten drew the pole, with Ott alongside him on the front row, and Trafford and McGlynn taking up positions in row two.
Tolton set a blistering pace during the early going, opening a lead of an entire straightaway at one point before the races first yellow flew, but it was rookie Amanda Connelly (#16) of Hampton who was on the move, climbing from sixth starting position into fourth, with McGlynn second, and Doerr in third.
Doerr was able to pass McGlynn on a subsequent restart, as Tolten started to have motor troubles, allowing Doerr to pull to the outside of the local hero. Doerr poked his nose out front briefly, but Tolton fought back on the inside to sneak ahead. Doerr wasn’t finished, and just a lap later he was able to capture the point on the high side on lap 26.
Ott was also on the move, climbing to second at the halfway point with McGlynn, Connelly, and Josh Wood (#66) of London, in tow. Contact between McGlynn and Connelly cut down a tire on Amanda’s car, sending her to pit road and ending her shot at a podium, while McGlynn spun on a lap 68 restart, sending him to the rear of the pack.
Ott hounded Doerr during the closing stages, and had one great shot at getting the win as with only a few laps on the scoreboard the leader ran into some trouble with a lapped car. Ott was able to pull alongside Doerr, but it was short lived as Jay pulled back in front, and won his first feature of the year.
Wood was able to slice his way from seventh on the grid to a solid third-place finish, while McGlynn rallied back to finish fourth. Connelly recovered from her flat left front to round out the top-five in her series debut, and make history for the highest finish by a female competitor in a Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup event.
Doerr spoke about the tremendous start to his season, “It was great to get back up here to Varney. The last time we were here was in a Dwarf Car in 1998, and it was career win number 43 for me, during Varney’s 43rd season and our car number for years and at Delaware in our Late Model is car number 43 – I guess the numbers just added up. I took my time early, because I knew I had to save the right rear tire. We got maximum points today, and this is a great way to defend our championship. We came up on Wednesday and tested, and track owner Kent Nuhn helped us out a bit. We were able to get everything sorted out and we were prepared today. It was also nice to get Phil a win in his first start as a car owner.”
Ott was thrilled with his runner-up result, saying, “We ran a few 100 lap CRA Late Model races in the US last year, and I didn’t finish either of them, so my whole goal today was to finish. We tested up here and I figured that we would have a fifth or sixth-place car, but it was a little better today. I was worried, because 20 laps in the car started to make some odd noises, and I was worried we wouldn’t finish. I took a shot at Jay when he got in lapped traffic, but I wanted to finish. I sailed it in to turn three on the last lap, but Jay had a good smooth run at the end of the race and I couldn’t get to him. Being the new guy in the series, I really wanted to make sure that I didn’t make any mistakes that cost anyone else, and I hope that we gained a little respect for running everyone clean.”
Trafford finished sixth, with fellow rookie Steve Moore (#45) of Toronto, Mark Patrick (#12) of Delaware, Bob Merrifield (#43) of Belle River, and Kris Root (#69) of Delaware rounded out the top-ten.
The Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series will be back in action at the newly renovated Delaware Speedway for round two of the seven race season on Friday June 15th. The points battle should heat up at Delaware, a track very familiar to the top-four in the standings. Doerr will return to his home track for his Late Model as the point leader by five markers over Ott, who has competed in the Delaware Super Stock division for three years before making the move to the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series. Wood enters third in points, to a track where he cut his stock car teeth, in addition to picking up a win in 2011, while McGlynn competed in Sportsman cars on and off weekly for years at Delaware.
For more information on the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series, Varney Speedway Motorplex, or Delaware Speedway, please visit www.lucasoilsportsmancup.com, www.varneymotorspeedway.com, www.delawarespeedway.com, or contact Series Director Dave Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Release and Photos by Jamie Maudsley and www.maudsleymotorsports.com.
|6||3||70||Joe Trafford*||New Hamburg|
|9||8||43||Bob Merrifield||Belle River|
|Fast time #40 Jay Doerr – 13.782|
|Hard charger #12 Mark Patrick – 6 positions|