(Barrie, ON) – The Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series was back in action Sunday, July 18th at the newly renovated Sunset Speedway, just South of Barrie, ON. The high-banked 1/3rd mile Speedway was playing host to round two of the 2010 Championship campaign, and despite threatening skies a tremendous crowd was on hand.
In qualifying, Dave Connelly put up the quickest time, smashing the track record, with Shawn Hewitt posting the second fastest lap. A lucky fan drew the inversion and the number came up ‘four’, putting Hewitt and Connelly in row two, and Kelly Balson on the pole, with Josh Wood alongside him.
The green dropped and the pair staged an early battle for the top position before Wood took command, with Hewitt tucking into second and Connelly in third. On lap 15, championship point leader Jay Doerr was spun in turn one, bringing out the races first yellow. It started raining at that point, causing a lengthy rain delay. Finally the track was dried, and the field was turned loose again, with Wood showing the way before the field was slowed again on lap 37. It would prove to the best final restart of the day as Connelly passed Hewitt for second on the restart.
The front trio would move away, but all eyes were on the battle for fourth between Dan Prudhomme and ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ Balson. The pair would run side by side for a number of laps before getting single file again just after the halfway point. Another battle between the duo would ensue as the laps were winding down, Balson dove to the inside of Prudhomme and the pair again raced doorhandle-to-doorhandle until Kelly took the position, but Prudhomme wasn’t finished as he pulled a crossover move and raced back to Balson’s inside. They would go double wide for a few more laps before Prudhomme took the position again, claiming fourth.
Meanwhile, up front, Connelly tried to mount a charge against Wood on the final lap. Connelly drove it into turn three deep on the outside, but Josh was too strong, taking his #66 to his first feature win since Sauble Speedway in 2008. Wood spoke about the win, “Our car was better before it rained, and it tightened us up a bit. It was great racing with Dave, and we have a lot of respect for each other.” Wood continued, “They have done a great job with this track, and it was a lot of fun to race here. Now we’ll just look forward to Mosport. We’re just taking it race by race, and if we’re in the championship, that’s good, and if not, that’s fine as well.”
Connelly took over the points lead with the second-place finish, and was pleased with his run, “Josh had a great car all day, and I could get to him, but just didn’t have enough to pass him. I figured that I didn’t get dumped at Peterborough last weekend, so that was the last way I wanted to win today was to get into him. He backed off early on the last turn, and I tried to go around the outside, but I also had to make sure I held off Hewitt in third. It feels good to leave as the point leader.”
1. Wood, 2. Connelly, 3. Hewitt, 4. Prudhomme, 5. Balson.
Points – 1. Connelly – 201 points, 2. Doerr – 195, 3. Wood – 192, 4. Balson – 191, 5. McGlynn – 178.
The next event for the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup will be Saturday August seventh at Mosport Speedway. The night will feature an extra event on the card, as the stars and cars of the tour will be competing twice in one night, making up a rained out feature from earlier in the season as well as running the regularly scheduled event.
For more information, please visit www.lucasoilsportsmancup.com, www.sunsetspeedway.ca, or www.mosport.com, or contact Dave Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Jamie Maudsley
Photos by www.maudsleymotorsports.com