Inheriting the top spot for the start of the race, Andrew Gresel led flag-to-flag en route to scoring the Gold Rush victory at Flamboro speedway on Monday night.
In time trials, Brandon Watson set the quickest time at 14.712 seconds behind the wheel of the No. 9 SHEAR METAL PRODUCTS, KNIGHTWORKS DESIGNS Late Model. Andrew Gresel qualified second (14.782), followed by Tyler Hawn (14.888), Roy Passer (14.748) and Matt Pritiko (14.970). Gary Passer qualified sixth, followed by John Cadman, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Shane Maginnis and Jeff Hanley.
Daniel Bois qualified 11th, followed by Kelly Balson, Paul Pelletier, Todd Campbell, Dustin Jackson, Dwayne Baker and Mike Hillier. Glenn Watson didn’t post a time as the team was repairing the motor issues from practice, while Terry Bogusz blew a motor in practice.
The Gold Rush is a unique event where drivers are going after $5,000 – but also have opportunity to go for double the pot. The highest qualifier in the field whom elects to give up their starting spot and start from the field can win $10,000 if they make it through. Brandon Watson accepted the challenge, putting him to the rear while Gresel moved into the pole position.
Off the drop of the green flag, Andrew Gresel put the No. 81 Sauble Falls Tent & Trailer Park, London Recreational, McRobert Fuels, Hy-Grade Roofing, F1 Freight Systems, Canadian Union of Skilled Workers, Gallinger Ford Lincoln, Castrol Canada, Pro Wraps, Brisk Spark Plugs, Barry’s Construction and Raden Givari at Ehomes SLM out front.
Hawn ran second as Pritiko and Passer ran side-by-side for third. Pritiko got the spot on Lap 2, but the caution flew for Glenn Watson going around for a spin.
Gresel got a good restart to keep the lead while Pritiko moved into the second, but the caution flew again as Cadman slowed down the backstretch.
Gresel got another good restart as Pritiko continued to run second ahead of Hawn, Fitzpatrick, Maginnis and Gary Passer. Roy ran seventh at Lap 6 ahead of Hanley, Campbell, Brandon Watson, Glenn Watson and Balson. Maginnis was set to make his climb to the front, passing Fitzpatrick for fourth at Lap 8.
The climb continued with Maginnis passing Hawn for third at Lap 10, bringing Fitzpatrick through with him. Hawn now ran fifth ahead of Gary Passer, Roy Passer, Hanley and Campbell. Brandon Watson ran 11th, followed by Glenn Watson, Balson, Pelletier, Jackson, Baker and Hillier. Baker then began to make up some ground, passing Jackson for 15th at Lap 19.
At the front of the field, Gresel continued to lead but he had a new driver in toe as Maginnis made his way around Pritiko to take over the second spot. Fitzpatrick continued to run fourth ahead of Hawn, Gary Passer, Roy Passer and Hanley as Hillier pulled off the track at Lap 22. Campbell ran ninth ahead of Brandon Watson, Glenn Watson, Balson, Pelletier, Baker and Jackson.
The caution then flew at Lap 24 as Jackson spun in turn two. Under the caution period, both Glenn and Jackson made pit stops, returning back to the track before the green flag.
Gresel got a good restart to keep the lead ahead of Maginnis, Pritiko, Fitzpatrick and Hawn. Roy Passer ran sixth ahead of Gary Passer, Campbell, Brandon Watson and Hanley. Balson ran 11th, followed by Pelletier, Watson, Baker and Jackson. Brandon continued to make up ground, passing Campbell for eighth at Lap 36.
Unfortunately, Pritiko’s strong run came to an end as he began to slow at Lap 38 with a mechanical problem. Fitzpatrick moved up into third ahead of Hawn, Roy Passer, Gary Passer, Brandon Watson, Campbell and Hanley. The caution then flew on Lap 40 for competition basis. For teams whom didn’t believe they had enough fuel, they could use the opportunity to pit and put some in. If any other adjustments were made, they’d have to give up their position and go to the tail of the field.
Following the caution, Gresel got a good restart to keep the lead as Fitzpatrick moved into second ahead of Maginnis, Hawn, Roy Passer and Brandon Watson. Gary Passer moved into seventh ahead of Hanley, Campbell, Balson, Glenn Watson, Pelletier, Baker and Jackson. Glenn began to make his way towards the front of the field, passing Balson for 10th at the halfway mark.
The caution flew four laps later as Campbell spun on the backstretch following contact from Hanley to get him loose, and contact from Watson.
The first attempt at a restart resulted in an incident in turns three and four involving Dwayne Baker and Todd Campbell. Balson used the caution as a opportunity to go to the pits to make adjustments, returning for the restart. meanwhile, Gary Passer stalled on track under caution, requiring a push off the track.
The second attempt at a restart saw Gresel continue to lead ahead of Fitzpatrick, Maginnis, Roy Passer and Hanley as Hawn and Brandon Watson ran side-by-side for sixth. Brandon got the spot at Lap 57, bringing Glenn through with him for seventh and Balson six laps later for eighth. Hawn now ran ninth ahead of Pelletier and Jackson as Gary Passer returned on track.
Glenn Watson’s climb through the field continued as he passed Brandon Watson for sixth at Lap 76, followed by a pass on Hanley for fifth five laps later. Glenn caught Roy Passer at Lap 82, tagging the back of him to get him a little sideways. Watson went on by to take fourth, bringing Brandon and Hanley through with him to bump Roy back to seventh.
Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick’s strong run came to an end on Lap 83 as he began to slow with a mechanical problem, pulling off the track two laps later. As a result, Maginnis moved up into second ahead of Gresel. Glenn Watson ran third ahead of Brandon Watson, Hanley, Roy Passer, Balson, Hawn, Pelletier, Jackson and Gary Passer. With six laps to go, Glenn made his way by Maginnis for secnd while Balson passed Passer for sixth.
Andrew Gresel led the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I can’t ask for anymore. To come out to Flamboro Speedway on a Monday night, lots of sponsors, lots of people here, it was awesome. Good crowd here tonight, good racing. (I’m) happy we were able to clinch the win.”
For Gresel, it marks his second straight long distance win at the Hamilton, Ontario-based oval as he won the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour presented by Grisdales Race Products Pro Late Model 100-lap feature earlier this month.
“It’s just more making sure the car is well-prepared and making sure you, yourself, are well-prepared,” he said. “You want to make sure you’re not overdriving the car and not overheating things too much, and not only that, it’s easy to lose your temper. You have to keep everything kind of under control and remember if something happens on Lap 30, you still have 70 laps to go. So you got lots of time so you have to a lot of patience in these races.
Glenn Watson finished second, followed by Shane Maginnis, Brandon Watson and Jeff Hanley.
“It was a good night for us,” Watson said. “It didn’t start off well with motor problems, but one of the guys was able to lend us some parts so it was good that he did.”
For Watson, it marks a positive run on a season which has been rough on him in competition, with bad luck striking the 22 Racing team in both the OSCAAR Super Late Model Series and the Sunset Speedway Avenue Auto Parts Super Late Model Series.
“It’s very nice,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of bad luck and it unfortunately started out with some bad luck today. But the guys worked hard, worked through it and it’s great to finish the race on the podium. It’s been awhile.”
Watson will now shift his attention to Sauble Speedway this weekend for the first round of the OSCAAR Race for the Cup.
“I just hope we can improve on what we did today,” he said. “We got the car working really well so hopefully we can continue on this trend and get a win here soon.”
Kelly Balson finished sixth, followed by Roy Passer, Tyler Hawn, Dustin Jackson and Paul Pelletier. Gary Passer finished 11th, followed by J.R. Fitzpatrick, Dwayne Baker, Todd Campbell, Matt Pritiko, Mile Hilliard, John Cadman Jr., Daniel Bois and Terry Bogusz.