Points Standings Updated
The stage is set for what should be a classic season championship battle in the Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Models.
For the third straight week - and for the sixth time this season - it was a one-two finish between Chatham’s Brad Authier and Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford in Saturday’s feature.
This time, it was Authier making the left turn into the Winner’s Circle after Glassford won the previous two weeks.
“Those were three pretty fast races,” Authier said of Saturday’s Late Model action as he won the heat and finished second to Glassford in the dash.
The Late Model feature and the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks were the only features that beat the rain on Saturday.
The Tirecraft Comp 4 season championship will be run on Sept. 22 along with the Late Models and the Schinkels Gourmets UMP Modifieds.
Authier and Glassford started on the front row of the feature for the sixth time this season.
Glassford took advantage of his inside starting position to establish his line on the bottom while Authier was more than content to take the high line.
“I think it brings the fans to their feet when I ride the high side like that,” Authier said with a smile.
The two put on an exciting display of clean door-to-door racing for the first six laps, with the lead officially changing hands three times at the line, although they traded the point numerous times around the ‘D.’
A caution on lap seven changed the complexion of the feature.
Authier, thinking he was the leader, sped around Glassford under caution through turns one and two and moved to the bottom as they headed towards turn three.
Glassford, who likely thought Authier was just playing head games, realized too late they were going green coming out of turn four.
“I thought we were going around one more time and I was waiting for them (race officials) to tell Brad to move up, but then I heard we were going green and I had no choice but to go to the outside,” Glassford said.
“I was the leader, that’s why I went around him,” Authier countered.
“I may be mistaken, but I thought I was the leader at the line before the caution came out, and I didn’t hear anything different over the radio.”
Authier said he chose the bottom to take away Glassford’s line.
“I wanted to get in front and try to open some space and then go back to the top,” he said.
“And that’s how it played out. It took me a couple of laps to clear him but I didn’t see him after that,” said Authier, as the final 13 laps clicked off caution-free.
Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis finished third, his fifth straight top-five finish, while Adam Thrush, of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., and Chatham’s Kirk Hooker rounded out the top five.
It was Authier’s seventh feature win of the season, two more than Glassford.
And the rivals are now tied at three wins each in their one-two finishes.
The last two weeks, ironically, they were running second and third on the final lap when caution flags set up green-checkered finishes as Glassford rallied for the wins with Authier the runner-up both times.
Over the last three seasons, the two drivers have finished one-two in 17 features, with Authier holding a 9-8 edge including last year’s season championship race.
Authier said his team has been experimenting on set-ups over the last few weeks in anticipation of the championship race on Sept. 22 and the Canadian Fall Shootout on Sept. 29.
“We’ve been working on different things and we’ve got the car where it can run on a tacky track or if it’s dry,” he said.
“We learned a lot last week when he ran all of those laps with (Brandon) Thirlby,” Authier looked back at the Sept. 1 feature where he battled the Traverse City, Mich. driver and UMP regional points leader for the first half of the race.
- Dillon Bonner won the 10-lap Bomber championship race before intermission. Ryan O’Hearn was second, followed by Julie Saunders, Desiree Gillis and Jeff Schives. The track hopes there will more cars next season to make the Bombers an official class.
- The 30-minute rain storm that shortened the race night was an isolated cell over the Merlin-South Buxton-Cedar Springs area. On radar, the showers moved along the lakeshore and disappeared off Rondeau. A couple miles north of Middle Line towards North Buxton, the roads were completely dry.
- Unofficially, Authier chopped another 28 points off Gregg Haskell’s lead to make it a 43-point difference heading into championship night. Haskell finished eighth in the feature and didn’t qualify for the heat. With the small car counts in the Late Models this season, Haskell should only need to start the feature to win the points. If he maintains his 43-point lead going into the championship race, Haskell would win the points by finishing 20th or better to clinch the points.
- Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. will carry a 76-point lead over Leamington’s Joel Dick and 81 over Louisville’s Jim Fletcher into the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds championship night.
- Blenheim’s Shawn Jones remains 47 points ahead of his brother Trevor and 75 up on Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano atop the Tirecraft Comp 4 standings. Jones will clinch a third straight points title by finishing 22nd or better.
- Chatham’s Eric Vanderiviere won his heat race and the dash earlier in the night and was scheduled to start on the pole for the Modified feature. Chatham’s Jeff Daniels and Merlin’s Brad McLeod won the other heats, the second of the year for both drivers.
- Shawn Jones became the first driver to reach the 20-win plateau with his victory in the crack-the-whip, where he is a perfect eight-for-eight this year. Dale Jr. and Authier have 18 checkereds, DeSerrano 17 and Eren Vanderiviere 16.
- DeSerrano won his 11th heat race while Chatham’s Randy McKinlay won the other Comp 4 heat.
- Three Americans made their first appearances of the season at South Buxton - Ray Jackson, from Wayne, Ohio, in the Modifieds; Adam Thrush, of Mt. Pleasant, Mich. in the Late Models; and Jason Garland, of Adrian, Mich., in the Sport Stocks. Rob Ledingham, of Port Colborne, was back for a second straight week in the Late Models.
- Ray Patterson of London won $630 in the 50-50 draw from the Chatham Sunrise Rotary Club.
- There is no racing this Saturday as several South Buxton staffers help at Ohsweken’s Canadian Sprint Car Nationals weekend.
- The 2012 season ends with the eighth annual Canadian Fall Shootout for UMP Modifieds and Late Models on Saturday, Sept. 29.