May 5, 2007 03:33 AM EDT
Larry Knowles Wins BRP CanAm Series Opener, Steve Paine Remains Unbeaten at Black Rock
By RICH VLECK WITH ADDITIONS FROM GARY MONTGOMERY
Dundee, NY - A perfect forecast for Friday night resulted in great car count of 135 cars, a filled grandstand, and an overall fantastic night for racing.
After a rained-out event last week, Steve Paine picked up right where he left off as he continued to dominate the 358-modified action at Black Rock, winning his fourth-straight feature at Black Rock and his third in 2007.
After starting 13th, Paine had work to do to get near the front. Even when he did crack into the top-five, he had to have another driver, Ron Cartwright Jr. show him the fast way to the lead.
“The Hurricane” was able to track down Carwright in the closing laps and passed the No. 2b coming to the white flag. Paine then left nothing to chance, winning by a full straightaway.
“Ron definitely had a better car than us tonight,” said an out-of-breath Paine in Victory Lane. “He found that fast lane on the top and really got going there for a while.”
After the first caution of the event came out on lap 13 for a Ray Bliss spin, Carwright ran the rim around turn 1 on the restart and instantly jumped from sixth into second. On the next restart two laps later, following the race’s only other caution, Cartwright was in the lead, but had shown the No. 7x the new “Paine Lane”.
Ironically, for the second race in a row, Cartwright lost the lead to Paine in turn 3 when attempting to get around the lapped car of John Kuleszo.
Dale Welty was a force early in the event, finishing third in front of Tommy Juhl and Donnie Lawson, who completed the top-five.
Larry Knowles returned to the Black Rock Speedway victory lane on Friday night after scoring his second career BRP CanAm Series A-Main victory. Knowles’ prior Series win also came at Black Rock.
Knowles was scored as the lap leader for laps 12 thru 30, however, the first five of those were actually side–by–side with Jimmy Johnson in an outstanding Ford / Chevy duel. On lap 17 Knowles’ Chevy powered CRS Monte Carlo had the clear advantage over Johnson’s Ford powered Shaw Fusion.
After dispensing of Johnson, Knowles had a new problem, Jeremy Wonderling. Mr. Excitement moved to second on lap 22 and then mounted a furious charge but had to settle for the runner-up finish.
Officer Paul Grigsby quietly worked his way from the 18th starting spot to claim the final podium finish. Grigsby’s ride in the Integrity Homes Shaw Grand Prix earned him the $100 DART Hard Charger Award.
Jim Johnson and Wayne Robertson completed the top five. The second five were Dave DuBois, Randy Hall, Steve Dixon, Jeff Chesebro, and Bob Buono. Buono’s tenth place finish earned him the Absolute Powder Coating Rookie of the Race honors.
“That was a lot of fun. Side by side with Jimmy [Johnson] forever and we never touched! I did not think it would work on the outside, but Jimmy was running the bottom so I had no choice. It worked up there just like Joel [Smith of CRS] said it would. Boy was that fun. Racing with this BRP CanAm Series is great. The guys are all good racers. They respect both their equipment and that of those they race against. This is sure a great way to start the 2007 Series. Of course, I have a lot of experience at this track. Things will be a lot tougher when we get to Merrittville later this month [Monday May 21]. We’ll have an experience advantage again we go to Woodhull [Monday May 28].” All this from Knowles as the tech crew validated that his Doug Gross Construction / CAT Rental Stores complied with Series Tech Specs – it did.
Bruce Miller won his qualifying heat and drew the pole for the A-Main. Miller declined the Close Racing Supply $500 Front Row Challenge and blasted his GRT Grand Prix to the top spot for the first eight laps. Miller’s choice of the high side of the Speedway did not work. Jimmy Johnson worked the bottom and took the lead on lap nine.
Things got much worse for Miller just two laps later when his beautiful new racecar slid off the track and into the back straight wall. Collected in the melee were Quinn Sutherland, Glenn Whritenour, and Jeff Chesebro. There were no driver injuries, but only Chesebro was able to continue.
A solid field of 17 crate sportsman modifieds were on hand for their third race, with another newcomer showing his talent. Justin Wright was fast all night long, winning his heat and leading until lap 13 when the every-smooth Todd Henderson took over the lead to stay undefeated in all heats and features at Black Rock in sportsman competition.
Wright was strong enough to hang onto second, with Mike Entwistle and Daryl Hilkert 3rd and 4th. Scott Schrader crossed in fifth but was disqualified for illegal valve springs.
Chris Leroux came so close to winning a Pro Truck race last year but always ended up handing the lead over to Terry Povoski. The same thing happened in the inaugural Regional Truck Pro Truck/ Street Stock feature two weeks ago, but on Friday the rolls would finally be reversed.
Leroux took second place away from Povoski half way through the event and was able to muscle the lead away from Rich Shaprsteen on lap 16. In victory lane the Watkins Glen sophomore competitor was speechless.
A very solid field of 28 4-cylinders were on hand for their 20-lap feature with Scott Yaw picking up the win. Brett Crawford led early but suffered mechanical problems, handing the lead over to the current point leader, who would never let it go. Del Cummings, Rich Sharpsteen and Jack Ayers all challenged the No. 10 hard but ended up just short.
At the beginning of the night, Dylan Cecce wasted no time getting to the front and refused to let the lead go. The Bath, NY rookie became the fourth different winner in as many races for the youth division in 2007. Last week’s winner Kreg Crooker was second.
Racing will resume next Friday at 6:45 with Finger Lakes Auto presenting a full card of racing. It’s hard to believe that the Bully Hill Vineyards NY Sprint Nationals presented by S.P. Wilson is less than two weeks away. (Audio from this past Friday’s features will be posted later this week).