Jim Jones scripted a perfect ending to the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Model championship race on Saturday night.
Borrowing a page from ‘The Little Engine That Could,’ Jones drove away with the 2013 championship race victory, his first since 2004 and first feature win in over two years.
“Amazing!” Jones said in the Winner’s Circle interview.
“It’s my only one all year, but it’s the big one!” he exclaimed.
The Chatham driver, affectionately known as Gentleman Jim for his class and sportsmanship over his long career, had pretty well resigned himself to a second-place finish as the laps were winding down in the 25-lap championship race.
But as the leader Dale Glassford was coming out of turn four to take the two-to-go signal from flagman Jim Van Dyk, his car slowed dramatically and came to a stop at the start-finish line.
“When I seen him slow up, I’m thinking, ‘this can’t be?’ ” Jones said about taking the lead from Glassford.
“I thought, ‘okay here’s my chance, come on little engine, let’s go.’ ”
Jones held off Chatham’s Kirk Hooker on the green-white-checkered finish to win his first championship race in nine years in dramatic fashion.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne; click on photos for larger views)
Joel Dick capped a roller-coaster season with a smooth ride on Saturday night, leading all 30 laps to win his second Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified season championship race in the last three years.
“It was a great way to end the season,” Dick said after his flag-to-flag run.
The Leamington driver got off to a slow start before winning three straight and four features in a five-week span during a mid-season hot streak.
“Definitely, at the beginning of the season we were not a real contender but we the car figured out,” Dick said about the lead-up to his red-hot summer.
Revised with Sport Stocks, Mini-Mods, Bombers (please see note at end of results regarding driver changes for the night.
Jim Jones pulled off a win for the ages on Saturday night, as the 53-year-old Chatham driver won the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Model championship race.
Jones ran second for 23 laps before taking the lead when Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford slowed in turn four coming around to take the two-to-go signal.
Jones held off Chatham’s Kirk Hooker on the green-white checkered for his third career championship race win.
“I’m thinking I was settling in for second place, I was giving him a whirl at times, and when I seen him slow up, I’m thinking, ‘this can’t be,’ ” Jones said about taking the lead from Glassford.
“When they said ‘green-white-checkered,’ I said to myself, ’settle down, let’s get this race over with and don’t let anyone get by,’ ” he said.
“I guess I was due,” Jones said with a smile.
Jones, whose career began in 1976 as a 15-year-old when South Buxton was still known as Raleigh Raceway, won both the Late Model and the Great Lakes Late Model championship races along with the points title in 2004.
It was his first feature win since June 19, 2010.
Hooker hung on for second, followed by Charing Cross’s Chris Ross, Chatham’s Erick Walker and Blenheim’s Reid Gill.
Glassford said the belt came off the fuel pump, costing him the win.
Chatham’s Gregg Haskell, who wrapped up his second straight Late Model points championship two weeks ago, had motor issues before the race night. He dropped to the back of the field for the green flag and went to the pits, finishing 13th.
Leamington’s Joel Dick led all 30 laps to win his second Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified championship race in the last three years.
Dick held off a furious challenge from Chatham’s Louis Clements over the waning laps.
A pair of eight-time track champions - Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. and Merlin’s Brad McLeod - finished third and fourth while Belle River’s Mario Toniolo rounded out the top five.
Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra clinched the Modified points championship with his fourth-place finish in the heat.
He started on the pole but was penalized two spots for jumping the original green and then pitted with a flat-tire on lap eight.
Hoekstra rebounded for an eighth-place finish.
In the night’s three non-points feature races, Merlin’s Steve Shaw won the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks, Kingsville’s Rob Quick the Tirecraft Mini-Mod and Blenheim’s Jeff Schives the Bombers.
Please check back later Sunday for expanded coverage.