Tuesday, September 2, 2008

SOS @ Brighton: Hunsinger 'Livin the dream'; takes second feature win of weekend, while Styres wins championship

By Tommy Goudge (August 31, 2008) - Another bright, sunny day greeted the fans and teams for Night #2 of the Southern Ontario Sprints 2008 Labour Day Classic at Brighton Speedway on Sunday.  A great evening of racing was expected as the SOS championship battle was set to be decided, with Glenn Styres, Warren Mahoney, and Keith Dempster all in the hunt, and 1 of those drivers would come away with a piece of history as the 1st 3-time champ in club history.  With an increased $1,200 prize set to be awarded to the night's feature winner, and other tight battles going on in the top 10 in the standings, the fans at Brighton were in for a treat, as the final event of the SOS season was set to be contested at the track for the first time in the club's 13-year history.

The final SOS points-paying feature race of 2008 began with Ryan Hunsinger and Bob Crawford on the front row, while points leader Glenn Styres started 7th, 2nd place points man Warren Mahoney started 10th looking to make up 27 markers on Styres after losing 3 points in the heat races, and 3rd place Keith Dempster started 11th, 42 points behind.  Crawford got the early jump into turns 1 and 2 at the start, but Hunsinger was on a mission and drove back by Crawford's #10 down the backstretch to lead the first lap.

Styres quickly but methodically began to make his way through the pack, intent on keeping his championship rivals behind him, but his race came unravelled with 4 laps complete as Styres and Dave Dykstra made contact coming out of turn 4, resulting in a yellow flag as Dykstra spun to a stop with a flat left rear tire, while Styres also suffered a flat right front tire and was forced pit side for a new one.  Styres' crew worked quickly to get the tire changed and got the #0 back out on the track in short order, but the championship chase was now suddenly much closer, as Warren Mahoney was in the top 10, while Styres restarted at the tail.

On the restart, Hunsinger again took a commanding lead while Rick Wilson continued another charge to the front, Styres made his way forward from the back, Warren Mahoney tried to move forward and put himself in position to win the championship, and Keith Dempster - suddenly with a real shot at the title again after Styres' trouble - raced towards the top 5.  More trouble struck Styres with 8 laps complete as the #0 spun to a stop in turn 4, bringing out another caution and once again forcing Styres to start from the tail.  Mahoney and Dempster were having trouble capitalizing on Styres' misfortunes, however, as Mahoney was mired in 8th, unable to make any headway towards the top 5, while Dempster, who was fast early on, began to fade through the field, and eventually dropped out of the race before it's conclusion.

The last 12 laps ran caution-free, but Mahoney was not able to make any headway towards the front while Styres moved steadily up through the pack and kept the Mahoney #25 in sight.  Rick Wilson continued his charge to the front and got by Bob Crawford for 2nd after an entertaining battle, but ran out of time to catch Hunsinger before the chequered flag fell.  Hunsinger crossed the line first to claim his 2nd feature win of the weekend and 4th overall sprint car feature win in 2008, while Wilson settled for 2nd, followed by Crawford who solidified a 5th place finish in the points standings by finishing 3rd, Kyle Wilson in 4th, and Justin Martin finishing off a fine weekend by rounding out the top 5. 

Warren Mahoney was not able to advance past 8th, while Styres came home 10th, which was good enough to claim the championship.  The title is Glenn's 2nd consecutive, and his 3rd overall as he also claimed the '03 title.  Styres will be crowned the 2008 champion and first 3-time champion in Southern Ontario Sprints history at the awards banquet on November 8th at the Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

- 4 drivers in competition on Saturday night did not return on Sunday night, as Craig Downie, Chris Jones, Frank Baranowski, and Bill Baldwin did not sign in, while 1 new driver signed in, as Joe Middlemiss stepped into the Baldwin #14 for the evening.  Downie won his heat on Saturday night and looked very fast, but a vibration in his engine caused the Burlington driver to fade from 3rd to 8th in the feature, and sit out Sunday night's action.

- Dave Dykstra and Ryan Hunsinger took heat race victories, while Dykstra also claimed the RBM Carriers Dash for Cash.  In a surprise move, Glenn Styres chose to take part in the Dash, rather than save his car from possible damage in a race that did not have any points implications.  Styres did get valuable track time on the slick surface, however, and finished 2nd in the race.

- With his 2nd place finish in Sunday night's feature, Rick Wilson recorded his 3rd runner-up finish of the weekend, as the Joyceville driver also finished 2nd in both features run on Saturday night.  Wilson also picked up the $150 Hard Charger award presented by Tim Phillips Garage of Grand Island, New York on Sunday night by advancing from 8th on the grid to 2nd.

- The only red flag of the weekend came in hot laps on Sunday night when Dick Mahoney slid high in turn 4 and made contact with the outside retaining wall, and rolled onto his side.  Mahoney's #79 suffered enough damage that the team decided to switch to their backup car, affectionately known as "Lefty", which was originially brought along for the weekend in case Warren needed it to keep his championship hopes alive.

- 2 non-points events remain on the 2008 Southern Ontario Sprints schedule, as the teams next head to the Ohsweken Speedway for the 4th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on September 12th and 13th, and then finish the season at the Brockville Ontario Speedway on October 18th with a Can-Am Challenge event co-sanctioned by the Empire Super Sprints and ASCS Patriots.

RACE REPORT - Sunday, August 31, 2008
SOUTHERN ONTARIO SPRINTS 2008 SEASON Event #11 Brighton Speedway - Brighton, Ontario

0 Glenn Styres - Ohsweken
01 Kyle Wilson - Joyceville
5 Keith Dempster - Alton
5d Dave Dykstra - Port Colborne
7m Justin Martin - St. Thomas
9jr Tim Zack - Dain City
10 Bob Crawford - Sutton
14 Joe Middlemiss - Chippawa
15 Mike Ferrell - London
15aw April Wilson - Joyceville
22 Jim Porter - Grand Island, NY
25 Warren Mahoney - Lefroy
30 Adam West - Ridgetown
42w Rick Wilson - Joyceville
77x Ryan Hunsinger - Brantford
79 Dick Mahoney - Newmarket
81 Derek Jonathon - Lewiston, NY

(8 laps)
Finish. Number Name (Starting Position)
1. 5d Dave Dykstra (4)
2. 0 Glenn Styres (8)
3. 42w Rick Wilson (9)
4. 01 Kyle Wilson (6)
5.. 30 Adam West (5)
6. 5 Keith Dempster (7)
7. 81 Derek Jonathan (3)
8. 15 Mike Ferrell (1) DNF
9. 79 Dick Mahoney (2) DNF

(8 laps)
Finish. Number Name (Starting Position)
1. 77x Ryan Hunsinger (1)
2. 10 Bob Crawford (3)
3. 22 Jim Porter (4)
4. 7m Justin Martin (8)
5. 25 Warren Mahoney (7)
6. 15aw April Wilson (6)
7. 14 Joe Middlemiss (5)
8. 9jr Tim Zack (2) DNF

RBM Carriers Dash For Cash
(4 laps)
1. 5d Dave Dykstra (1)
2. 0 Glenn Styres (3)
3. 77x Ryan Hunsinger (4)
4. 22 Jim Porter (2)

(20 laps)
Finish. Number Name (Starting Position)
1. 77x Ryan Hunsinger (1) - $1,200
2. 42w Rick Wilson (8)
3. 10 Bob Crawford (2)
4. 01 Kyle Wilson (5)
5. 7m Justin Martin (6)
6. 22 Jim Porter (4)
7. 30 Adam West (9)
8. 25 Warren Mahoney (10)
9. 81 Derek Jonathan (13)
10. 0 Glenn Styres (7)
11. 9jr Tim Zack (16)
12. 14 Joe Middlemiss (14)
13. 5d Dave Dykstra (3)
14. 15aw April Wilson (12)
15. 5 Keith Dempster (11)
16. 15 Mike Ferrell (15)
17. 79 Dick Mahoney (17)

Lap Leaders: Hunsinger (1-20) Tim Phillips Garage $150 Hard Charger Award: R. Wilson (Gained 6 positions) Caution Flags: 2 (lap 4, lap 8)

UNOFFICIAL TOP 10 IN POINTS AFTER ROUND #11 Rank. Number Name Total (positions gained/lost) 1. 0 Glenn Styres 1343 (--) 2. 25 Warren Mahoney 1326 (--) 3. 5 Keith Dempster 1290 (--) 4. 30 Adam West 1284 (--) 5. 10 Bob Crawford 1192 (--) 6. 79 Dick Mahoney 1126 (--) 7. 81 Derek Jonathan 1122 (--) 8. 77x Ryan Hunsinger 1044 (--) 9. 42w Rick Wilson 947 (+3) 10.. 10 Mike Ferrell 911 (--)

NEXT SOS EVENT: Canadian Sprint Car Nationals (non-points event) September 12th and 13th, 2008 @ Ohsweken Speedway www.OhswekenSpeedway.com www.SouthernOntarioSprints.com

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