‘Hot Rod’ Connelly Returns to Winners Circle

June 29, 2014

(Milgrove, ON) – The 2014 Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series Presented by Meineke returned to action on Saturday night at Flamboro Speedway for race number two of the championship. Race one saw a feud develop between three-time champion Shawn McGlynn (#81) of Kitchener, and Jake ‘Juice Box’ Ott (#60) of Ayr, as Ott went to victory lane, and McGlynn wound up many laps down after contact between the pair. Both were ready for round two in the championship chase.

Qualifying kicked off the program, and McGlynn put up the mark to beat halfway through the JWO Racing time trial session as he turned the 1/3rd-mile track in 16.717 seconds. The mark would stand until Ott, the next to last qualifier, hit the track and blistered off a circuit in 16.693 seconds to nip McGlynn for the fast qualifier title. Josh Wood (#66) of London, qualified third, with Brennan Didero (#24) of Ancaster, and Kevin Allen (#54) of Drumbo, rounding out the top-five.

With the deck shuffled during the Lucas Oil ‘Fast Five’ draw, Wood and Didero lined up side-by-side for the green with McGlynn and Allen in row two. The duo up front raced the first several laps in a tremendous battle, as Wood led lap number one, before Didero inched ahead. Didero completed a power move on the outside and started pulling away.

McGlynn was on the charge and moved to second by the 25 lap mark, taking the lead on lap 30 when Didero tapped out with a broken rear end. Wood was running second when he fell into the clutches of Ott, and the pair made contact as Ott’s bumper cover was torn half off. With the bumper dragging, he would face a black flag for the loose body panel and lost several laps making repairs, taking him out of contention.

Dave ‘Hot Rod’ Connelly (#82) of Ottawa, was the next driver to come to life, as he started sixth after narrowly missing the Lucas Oil ‘Fast Five’. After racing in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series for three years, the veteran proved how much experience he gained during that period as he quietly approached the front. Connelly finally reached the leader, before making the move to the lead when Ott came back onto the track right in front of the leaders.

McGlynn avoided the merging ‘Juice Box’, but Connelly was past him. Connelly said afterwards, Ì don`t have any idea how Shawn didn`t wreck. The car came out of the pits and he somehow got slowed down enough to not piledrive him.”

Ott would retaliate on Wood, bringing out another yellow a few laps later, while the later was running third, and was subsequently disqualified from the remainder of the event.

After the restart, Allen started applying pressure to McGlynn and on lap 58 he claimed second, while Connelly continued in cruise control out front. The ‘Hot Rod’ stretched the lead to a straightaway as the laps wore down, and seemed to have the race in the bag until lap 95 when a spin brought out a yellow.

Connelly had a tremendous restart and was able to waltz away from a battle between Allen and McGlynn for second to claim his second career series win.

He was all smiles after talking about the win, his first since Peterborough in 2010, “I knew we were going to be good, but the car really came in. I caught the #81 [McGlynn], and I knew I was faster, but I also knew we weren’t even to halfway. I had to decide how hard I had to push it. Then that happened.”

Connelly also spoke about the closing laps, “I didn’t want to see that last yellow for sure, and when we were cruising I smelt and heard everything in the car, and was just waiting for something to go wrong, but it didn’t. It feels great to be back in victory lane and have the point lead heading to our home track in Ottawa.”

Allen closed the deal for the silver medal, while McGlynn finished third.

With his second consecutive podium finish, Allen is second in the championship behind Connelly. He’s shown the patience of a veteran, and has drawn on his 200-plus lap Enduro days to save his equipment for the end. Kevin spoke about his night and the start of his sophomore campaign, “I didn’t have anything for the #82 [Connolly], and we had a good fight with the #81 [McGlynn]. We had another good qualifying effort and we now have two races in, and don’t have a mark on the car. Now we have a couple of podium finishes, and next up is a win.”

McGlynn spoke about his third-place run, “We were forced into the wall when we were passing Josh and it knocked the toe out of the car. It wasn’t as good after that. When Connelly caught me I knew we were in trouble. The #54 [Allen] has also been fast, but I couldn’t keep him behind me. We got one more chance on the last restart, and about my only hope was that one of those two guys got a flat tire, or didn’t clean their tires off, because I didn’t have anything for them.”

Doug Cathcart (#48) of Ottawa, was able to ride a fourth-place finish to bump him to third in the championship point standings. ‘Over the Top’ Mike Nelson (#85) of Peterborough, was able to record his first career top-five finish, winding up fifth, after starting eighth on the grid.

Final Results – 1. Connelly, 2. Allen, 3. S. McGlynn, 4. Cathcart, 5. Nelson.

Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup presented by Meineke – Championship Points Standings (after 2 of 8 events) – 1. Connelly (198 points), 2. Allen (194), 3. Cathcart (186), 4. Ott (182), 5. S. McGlynn (181).

Qualifying Points Standings (after 2 of 8 events) – 1. Ott (20 points), 2. S. McGlynn (18), 3. Allen (14), 4. Didero (12), 5. Wood (12).

The Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series presented by Meineke teams will have to turn the racers around quick, as the next event will be this Saturday afternoon, July 5th, at Capital City Speedway, just outside of Ottawa. It will be the first trip for the series to the facility in a number of years. The race will include some local flavour, including Ottawa drivers Todd Musker, who had made a number of starts on the tour over the years, and Jeremy Coulter, the leading rookie on the campaign through two starts. For championship contenders Connelly, and Cathcart the 100 lapper will also will also be making a homecoming for the 100 lapper.

For more information on the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series, Lucas Oil, Meineke, Flamboro Speedway, or Capital City Speedway, please visit www.lucasoilsportsmancup.com, www.lucasoil.ca, www.meineke.ca, www.flamborospeedway.net, www.capitalcityspeedway.com, or contact Series Director Dave Alexander at dalexand@sympatico.ca.

Release and Photos by Jamie and Jordan Maudsley and www.maudsleymotorsports.com.