After winning the championship this year, Gord Shepherd capped his season off in style as he won the Velocity 250 at Sunset Speedway this past weekend.
Tom Walters started off his final career start at Sunset by winning the first heat ahead of Tim Ellis, Taylor Holdaway, Travis Hallyburton, Paul Maltese, Brandon Watson, Jr. Farrelly, Lane Zardo and Kyle Passer.
2016 Peterborough Speedway Champion Rick Spencer-Walt edged Chris Morrow to win the second heat, while Dwayne Baker finished third ahead of Ryan Kimball, Ernie Fumerton, Danny Benedict, Mike Wilkinson, Jack Horner and Mike Meyer.
Mike Bentley won the third heat ahead of Billy Zardo, Joshua Stade, Shepherd, Goetz, Brittney Gresel, Dave Bartlett and Mike Wallace.
Lane Zardo won the fourth heat ahead of Hallyburton, Holdaway, Farrelly, Watson, Maltese, Walters, Ellis and Passer.
The fifth heat didn’t start off how Chris Morrow wanted as he’d have to pull off due to the gas cap being left loose. The caution then flew on Lap 3 as a result of Horner spinning on the backstretch. Ryan Kimball won the heat ahead of Benedict, Spencer-Walt, Baker, Fumerton, Horner and Wilkinson.
Nick Goetz edged out Shepherd to win the sixth heat, as Bartlett finished third ahead of Bentley, Stade, Billy Zardo, Wallace and Gresel.
Come feature time, Danny Benedict started pole ahead of Joshua Stade, Billy Zardo, Tom Walters, Dwayne Baker, Nick Goetz, Gord Shepherd, Travis Hallyburton, Taylor Holdaway, Ryan Kimball, Mike Bentley, Rick Spencer-Walt, Lane Zardo, Tim Ellis, Ernie Fumerton, Dave Bartlett, Paul Maltese, Brandon Watson, Jr Farrelly, Brittney Gresel, Mike Wilkinson, Jack Horner, Mike Wallace, Mike Meyer, Chris Morrow, Thayne Hallyburton and Kyle Passer.
The first attempt to start the race didn’t go smoothly with Horner going around in turn two.
The second attempt went cleanly with 2016 Sauble Speedway Champion Joshua Stade putting the No. 17 UPPER CANADA TITLE, FLO ENTERPRISES, NICOL INSURANCE, BARCLAY WHOLESALE, JIM CAVIL FUELS, MEI PAVING, BRUCE SERVICE SALES AND RENTALS, APC, KUNKEL BUS LINES Late Model out front as Walters and Benedict ran side-by-side for second.
Walters got the second spot on Lap 2, with Billy Zardo, Baker and Shepherd following him through. Benedict now ran sixth as of Lap 5, with Goetz and Travis Hallyburton side-by-side for seventh. Goetz got the spot two laps later ahead of Hallyburton as Kimball ran ninth with Holdaway and Spencer-Walt side-by-side for 10th.
The second caution then flew on Lap 9 as a result of Fumerton going around in turn two. Under caution, Farrelly headed down pit road with a flat tire. With 66 laps to go, Stade led Walters, Zardo, Baker, Shepherd, Goetz, Hallyburton, Kimball, Spencer-Walt, Holdaway and Bentley.
Stade got a good restart to keep the lead ahead of Walters with Baker moving into third ahead of Zardo, Shepherd and Benedict. Shepherd then got alongside Baker for third on Lap 12, completing the pass a lap later. Behind him, Benedict continued to run fifth ahead of Hallyburton, Goetz and Spencer-Walt. Hallyburton then got alongside Benedict for fifth at Lap 15, with Spencer-Walt getting alongside Goetz for seventh two laps later.
Benedict was able to keep Hallyburton behind him, with Hallyburton falling back in line at Lap 18. Behind them, Spencer-Walt and Goetz still ran side-by-side for seventh ahead of Holdaway, Bentley, Watson, Kimball, Lane Zardo and Maltese. Closer to the front, Baker tried to make the pass on Shepherd for third at Lap 21, though was unable to.
The battles continued as Hallyburton got back alongside Benedict for fifth at Lap 23, while Spencer-Walt moved into seventh ahead of Holdaway and Bentley, with Watson now alongside Goetz for 10th. Holdaway was then able to get alongside Spencer-Walt for seventh at Lap 26, completing the pass a lap later with Bentley getting alongside Spencer-Walt for eighth.
Closer up to the front, Shepherd was working his way to the front as he passed Walters to move into the runner-up spot. Behind them, Baker ran fourth ahead of Billy Zardo while Hallyburton and Benedict continued to run side-by-side for sixth. Holdaway now ran eighth as Bentley and Spencer-Walt continued to battle for ninth. There were battles throughout the field as Watson and Goetz also ran side-by-side for 11th, with Lane Zardo side-by-side with Kimball for 13th.
Hallyburton was able to clear Benedict for sixth, bringing Holdaway and Spencer-Walt through with him, as Bentley tagged the back of Benedict at Lap 34. Benedict then ran ninth ahead of Bentley as Watson and Goetz continued to battle for 11th. Bentley then made his move on Benedict, getting alongside him for ninth at Lap 36.
At the front of the field, Stade continued to lead ahead of Shepherd, Walters, Baker and Billy Zardo. Hallyburton ran sixth as of Lap 38 ahead of Holdaway, Spencer-Walt, Bentley, Benedict, Watson and Lane Zardo. Behind them, Kimball and Goetz ran side-by-side for 13th, with Kimball taking the spot on Lap 40 ahead of Goetz and Gresel.
Watson then made his move on Benedict, getting alongside him for 10th at Lap 41, with the ability to complete the pass a lap later. The caution then flew on Lap 43 for Dave Bartlett running into a problem in turn two. Under caution, Wallace headed down pit road with a flat tire. He was joined on pit road by Goetz, Maltese and Ellis, who all opted to use the opportunity to make adjustments.
Stade got a good restart to keep the lead ahead of Shepherd and Baker – but the caution flew on Lap 44 as a result of Wallace slowing with a problem.
The restart saw a battle for the lead between Stade and Shepherd, with Shepherd putting the No. 10s PROGRESSIVE WASTE SOLUTIONS, THE DOCK GUY, COOKSTOWN AUTO CENTRE, TORBRAM ELECTRICAL SUPPLY, HAMEL MASONRY, HWY 400 TRANSMISSION, SEASONED PAINTING, NORTHWAY TRUCK STOP, FOX’S BAKERY AND DELI, KREUGER ELECTRIC, TSS TOP SHOPS, DESJARDANS Late Model out front on Lap 45 ahead of Stade and Walters. Behind them, Spencer-Walt was able to get alongside Baker for fourth, but the caution flew on Lap 45 due to Ellis wrecking Fumerton.
Stade got a better restart this time, retaking the lead ahead of Shepherd at Lap 47 as Baker and Walters ran side-by-side for third. Baker took the spot on Lap 48, with Holdaway getting alongside Walters for fourth as Spencer-Walt battled Watson for sixth. Holdaway got the spot on Lap 50 ahead of Walters, as the battle for sixth continued while Bentley and Hallybuton ran side-by-side for eighth. Behind them, Lane Zardo and Billy Zardo ran side-by-side for 10th.
Spencer-Walt was able to clear Watson on Lap 53, taking the sixth spot as Bentley got alongside Watson for seventh. Hallyburton ran a solid ninth as the Zardo brothers continued to battle for 10th, with Kimball and Morrow side-by-side for 12th. The caution then came out once again on Lap 56, as a result of Ellis going around in turn two.
Stade got another good restart to keep the lead ahead of Shepherd as Holdaway and Baker ran side-by-side for third, with Walters and Spencer-Walt side-by-side for fifth. The lead wouldn’t last for Stade, though, as Shepherd got alongside him for the top spot on Lap 58, taking the top spot a lap later.
With 16 laps to go, Shepherd led Stade, Holdaway, Baker, Walters, Spencer-Walt, Bentley and Watson. The battles weren’t set to end yet, though, as Lane Zardo ran side-by-side with Hallyburton for ninth as of Lap 61. Behind them, Kimball ran 11th ahead of Thayne Hallyburton, Morrow, Goetz and Gresel.
The battles continued at the front as Holdaway got alongside Stade for second at Lap 64, completing the pass a lap later with Baker getting alongside Stade for third. Baker wasn’t able to complete the pass, as he fell back in line in fourth at Lap 67.
Behind them, Walters ran fifth ahead of Spencer-Walt as Bentley and Watson ran side-by-side for seventh. Bentley got the spot on Lap 70 ahead of Watson, Travis Hallyburton, Kimball and Lane Zardo as Morrow and Thayne Hallyburton ran side-by-side for 12th. Morrow got the spot on Lap 72 ahead of Hallyburton, Goetz, Gresel and Wilkinson.
At the front of the field, Gord Shepherd led the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory ahead of Taylor Holdaway, Joshua Stade, Tom Walters and Dwayne Baker. Notably after 47 years of racing, this event marked Walters’ final career start at Sunset Speedway.
Rick Spencer-Walt finished sixth, followed by Mike Bentley, Brandon Watson, Travis Hallyburton and Ryan Kimball. Lane Zardo finished 11th, followed by Chris Morrow, Thayne Hallyburton, Nick Goetz, Brittney Gresel, Mike Wilkinson, Paul Maltese, Tim Ellis, Danny Benedict, Ernie Fumerton, Jr. Farrelly and Kyle Passer.