Meteorological forecast models predicted that it would be the best day of the weekend and for the 8 drivers who’ll capture an Autumn Colours Classic main event win, it could be the best weekend of their career. Feature races were the order of the day – Sunday, October 8th – as the 25th anniversary edition of Ontario’s premiere auto racing event came to a close at Peterborough Speedway.
Home track favourites Anthony DiBello and Dan Archibald brought the field of 28 Thunder Car starters to the Great Canadian RV green flag to get things underway. As the field entered the first turn on the first lap, DiBello drifted high and slid off the track for the first caution flag of the afternoon. Treyten Lapcevich took the lead, as he powered around Archibald on the restart. The 13 year-old upstart pulled out to about an 8-car length advantage with 10 laps on the scoreboard and was almost a half a track ahead of the second-place car when the caution flew for an incident in the second turn with 16 circuits complete. Defending event champion Jordan Howse moved into 2nd spot and things were running smoothly until a lap 25 yellow flag slowed the charge again. Lapcevich and Howse broke away from the pack and with about 2 laps to go, Dan Archibald made contact with the wall in turn 3 while making a charge for the runner-up spot. Lapcevich held-off Howse in the 2-lap shootout. Carson Nagy, Ken Grubb and Kris Allard completed the top 5.
With 75 laps on the table, a pair of former track champions – Rick Spencer-Walt and Ryan Kimball – brought a field of 16 Organics & Glass Limited Late Model machines to the line. A pair of cars came together on the front stretch with just a single lap on the board. The lead duo started to break away from the pack, but the pace was slowed again for an incident in the second turn, with 10 laps complete. On the restart, it was business as usual for the #31w and #29 rides, as the caught the tail-end of the field with 23 laps on the board. Another yellow flew on lap 36 and a back-stretch issue tightened the pack with 44 circuits on the board. Kimball pitted during the yellow flag and rejoined the fight at the rear of the field. Another pair of late race yellow flags did nothing to delay the inevitable, as Rick Spencer-Walt led all 75 laps to take the win. Amanda Balson was 2nd, with Ryan Kimball taking 3rd from Gord Shepherd. Nick Goetz completed the top 5.
Michigan state invader Gregory Rudzik and Wesley Cuthbertson brought the pack of 22 Trailers Plus Eastern Ontario Legends Series machines from the staging area. The second turn was the scene of a couple of early issues, but Rudzik kept control of the field. After scoring a win with the series at Grand Bend about a month earlier, the runner from south of the border was looking forward to his first Autumn Colours start and started working through the backmarkers around the halfway mark. Gregory Rudzik led from start-to-finish to take the win. Cole McFadden, Dave Riopelle, Miles Tyson and Parker Traves followed the victor to the checkered flag.
A dozen OSCAAR Super Late Models came to Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval with Tyler Hawn and Charlie Gallant on the front row to battle it out for 50 laps and the prestige of being named the 2017 Autumn Colours Classic champion. Hawn grabbed the lead on the break, with Brandon and Glenn Watson battling for 2nd and 3rd. The race’s first yellow flag flew with only 3 laps on the board for an incident in the 4th turn. Brandon Watson picked-up the lead with less than 10 circuits complete and held on for the win. Glenn Watson, Ryan Kimball, John Cadman and Tyler Hawn finished-out the fast 5.
Griffin Powell and Jeremy Kelly brought the Battlefield Equipment Rental 4Fun for 40 laps of action. The first yellow flew with only 4 laps complete for an issue in turn 2. Powell kept control on the restart, with the Kelly cars of Chris Tubman, Jeremy and Jake Kelly hot on his tail. Just a lap after the leaders started working through the backmarkers, the caution flew again – this time for a single car crash in the 3rd turn – on lap 17. Powell didn’t give-up the lead from the green flag to the checkered for his second straight Autumn Colours win. Chris Tubman, Colin Parkes, Jake Kelly and Chad Strawn followed the leader across the line.
24 starters brought the OSCAAR Modifieds to the Autumn Colours Classic stage with Luke Gignac and John Harper on the front row. Several early cautions meant Gignac held the top spot, until Gary McLean – a multi time series and ACC champion – took over near the 20-lap mark. A hard wreck on the backstretch just short of halfway brought out the red flag, but the 2 drivers involved were uninjured. In the interest of time, officials elected to begin counting laps and all restarts were to be single file. Although he ran a limited schedule in 2017, McLean picked-up the victory over A.J. Emms, Gignac, Gary Elliott and John Baker Jr. His second-place finish was enough to see Luke Gignac clinch the 2017 title.
2017 APC Series champion Brandon Watson and former NASCAR Pinty’s Series regular J.R. Fitzpatrick paced the Pro Late Model field to the line for their 117 lap ‘A’ main. From the drop of the green flag, Watson was the class of the show and had started working through the back of the field with less than 15 laps complete. A lap 41 yellow flag brought the rest of the pack to his rear bumper, but other than a single circuit led by Fitzpatrick, Watson – who earlier in the day had captured the Autumn Colours Classic win with his OSCAAR Super Late Model – added another win to his impressive resume. Andy Kamrath took the runner-up spot, with Fitzpatrick, Gord Shepherd and Steve Laking following the lead duo to the checkered flag.
Noel Snow and Kevin Strutt led the way as the Jiffy Lube Mini Stockers hit the track to wrap-up the 2017 edition of the Autumn Colours Classic. It was an action-packed affair, with Snow leading the first portion of the 50-lap event. Eric Yorke took control a fifth of the way in and survived a scary wreck on the front stretch to take the victory. Snow snatched the runner-up spot from Strutt with less than a lap remaining. Shawn Chenoweth and Nolan Gould rounded-out the top 5.
All main event finishes are unofficial and subject to post-race technical inspection and scoring review.
Bullring bullet points: A big crowd meant an equally big payoff in the 50/50 draw, as Earl Bailey of Colborne, Ontario collected $2056.00…The final feature event of the day – the Mini Stock 50 lapper – had a couple of tumbles. Nick Clarke got upside-down on the opening lap in the 4th turn, while Ken Townsend barrel-rolled on the front stretch 13 laps into the race. Each driver was checked by track personnel, but their cars were too damaged to continue.
With the stock car racing portion of Peterborough Speedway’s 2017 schedule concluded, the track will host an afternoon of grass drags and radar runs for snowmobiles and ATV’s on Sunday, October 15th. Spectator gates will open at 11:00, with action underway at 12:30.
Complete information and off-season details can always be found by visiting www.peterboroughspeedway.com, checking the track’s Facebook page or Twitter feed. Fans can also download the free Smartphone app to get the latest news.