(Milgrove, ON) –A number of years ago, Mike ‘Hollywood’ Hrynuik (#15) of Lasalle, stepped away from racing, but in 2015 his hiatus ended. He put a Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup racer together late in the year, and led laps in his return, showing he was far from ‘over the hill’. That night turned out to foreshadow the start of the 2016 season, as Hrynuik was the driver to beat during Saturday’s opening event at Flamboro Speedway.
The 2016 season marks the 10th season of the province-wide Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup tour, and kicked off at the tough 1/3rd-mile Speedway under very cold and windy conditions. It didn’t slow down Hrynuik during qualifying, as he wheeled his Monte Carlo to a lap of 16.426 seconds, less than 1/10th of a second off the track qualifying record. Chad McGlynn (#18) of Kitchener, was second, stopping the clock at 16.431 seconds, while freshman Kevin ‘The Flying Farmer’ Gallant (#31) of Vanessa, ripped off a lap of 16.479 seconds, at the track he previously raced weekly at. Kevin Allen (#54) of Drumbo, and Tim ‘The Intimidator’ Tolton (#3) of Guelph, rounded out the top-five.
The Lucas Oil ‘Fast Five’ draw was next to shuffle the cars at the start of the pack for the green, and it was McGlynn who drew a spot on the front row, with rookie Gallant rolling besides him. McGlynn was able to blitz into the lead, while Hrynuik, who started third, swiftly moved to second. For the first 12 laps, Hrynuik stalked McGlynn before starting to make his move on lap 13. He pulled alongside Chad, and a lap later was out front. That duo started to inch away from the rest of the field, as Gallant had his hands full trying to hold of Tolton and Allen.
The field would be slowed by a yellow on lap 19, as rookie Don Beatty (#40) of Beaverton, hit the wall in turn three, but when the field was turned loose Hrynuik picked up right where he left off.
The field ran status quo for almost 30 laps in the next stint before Bob Merrifield (#43) of Belle River, went around off the bumper of defending rookie-of-the-year Brandt Graham (#14) of Clairington, and again on the restart, Hrynuik raced to the point. McGlynn fought to get to the bottom without getting hung out, and the front five were lined up again.
Tolton exited competition on lap 65 while running fourth, moving Allen up one position, and putting Doug Cathcart (#48) of Ottawa, into the top-five for the first time, before Allen, a former Flamboro winner started to put the heat on Gallant. On lap 86, Gallant slid to the high groove, and before he was able to get into line, Allen, Cathcart, Josh Wood (#66) of London, and, all bypassed him, as Gallant held on for a seventh-place result.
Out front, Hrynuik continued to pace the field, but during the last five laps, McGlynn started to reel in the leader. He would never get close enough to strike and settled for a second-place finish, why Hrynuik returned to victory lane for the first time in a long time.
Hrynuik spoke about the season opening victory, “That was one of, if not the best car I have ever had. I was able to roll the middle of the turns so well, and get off the corners so well. I was out of racing for a number of years, so it’s been a long time since I have been in victory lane, and while it’s really close, it feels great!”
The early season championship leader spoke about his return to motorsports, “Dennis Reamy is a car owner who has fielded Limited Late Models at Sauble, and I started driving for him last year. Then he shows up with a Lucas Series car, and that’s where we’re at. It feels great to get him a win. It was also an advantage that we were able to race a couple of times last year. We ran a couple of times last year, and that really helped out. These tires fall off so much, especially in the second half of the race, and we were able to learn this last year. I tried to save the tires all night so I had plenty left at the end if we needed them. I just took my time getting past Chad, because it was still early in the race, and then after that the plan was to stay out front enough, but keep the tires in the best shape possible in case.”
McGlynn talked about his runner-up finish to open the campaign, “We were really happy with the results of the night. We were fast in practice, and I really through we had a shot at my brother’s record [Shawn McGlynn], but it was so cold- it is tough when the tires are that cold. I wanted another shot at Mike, but we never got it, and then I started to reel him in at the end, but it was too late. It was still a great way to start the season for our team.”
Following a year in another series in 2015, Allen returned to the site of his first Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup win in the season finale in 2014, and looked like he never left, finishing third, but not getting close to McGlynn after finally clearing Gallant. He talked about his return, “It was good going back to the track with the confidence that we could get it done at Flamboro, knowing we could win. The car has been sitting in a barn for a year, and at the end of the night, I think the car was better than our finish. I was probably too patient with Gallant. I couldn’t get under him, and couldn’t get enough bite to go on the outside, but finally he got too loose and I passed him. By then the leaders were a straightaway out front, and I wasn’t catching them. It was still a great way to start the season.”
Cathcart and Wood rounded out the top-five finishers.
The Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup will return to Flamboro Speedway in two weeks, Saturday, May 28th, for event number two of the seven-race series.
|Final Results – 1. Hrynuik, 2. McGlynn, 3. Allen, 4. Cathcart, 5. Wood.|
Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup – Championship Points Standings (after 1 of 7 events) – 1. Hrynuik (100 points), 2. McGlynn (98), 3. Allen (96), 4. Cathcart (94), 5. Wood (92).
For more information on the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series, Lucas Oil, Flamboro Speedway, or Race Time Radio, please visit www.lucasoilsportsmancup.com,
Release and photos by Jamie Maudsley –www.maudsleymotorsports.com.