Once he got out front, there was no stopping Andrew Gresel as he dominated en route to scoring his second straight Gold Rush 100 victory at Flamboro Speedway.
“It’s phenomenal,” Gresel told Short Track Musings. “I mean, to win the race two years ago is pretty awesome. It’s not easy coming out here as there was a lot of good cars out here today. Our car was pretty good, very consistent. Super happy to win this thing. it’s nice to get a win (as) we haven’t been winning a whole lot this year, so this means a lot.”
Comparing the pair of wins together, Gresel noted this year was the tougher victory due to the level of competition being higher.
“McColl brought a bunch of cars, the Seneka car here from the States – big competition here, and it feels that much better knowing how much better who was all here trying to win this race today.”
He wasn’t the quickest in time trials, as that honor went to American racer Tyler Roahrig. Pete Shepherd III was second quickest in his first super late model start of 2017 ahead of Glenn Watson, Andrew Gresel, Brandon Watson, John Cadman, Tyler Hawn, Shawn Chenoweth, Matt Pritiko, Derrick Tiemersma, Todd Campbell, Terry Baker, Gary Passer, Paul Howse, Jim Bowman, Dwayne Baker, Paul Pelletier, Roy Passer, Adrian Foster, George Rangel, and Trevor Monaghan.
As with tradition for the event, the pole sitter gets first shot at dropping from their starting position to the tail of the field, with a prize of $10,000 rather than $5,000 up for grabs if they get back through to win. If the pole sitter does not accept the challenge, then they keep moving down the line until someone does. Roahrig elected to drop back from pole, hopeful of becoming the first driver to do so in the event’s five year history.
Off the drop of the green flag, Glenn Watson pulled out to the early lead ahead of Shepherd and Gresel as Rangel pulled off with an issue. The problems for drivers continued, as Campbell slowed off of turn two unexpectedly with an issue, resulting in contact between Chenoweth and Tiemersma, that saw Chenoweth get real sideways and take a small trip through the infield grass.
Up front, Cadman ran fourth ahead of Brandon Watson, Hawn, Pritiko, Gary Passer, Terry Baker, Howse, Bowman, Tiemersma, Pelletier, Foster, Dwayne Baker and Roahrig. Roahrig continued to move forward, passing Dwayne Baker for 15th on Lap 8, followed by a pass on Foster a lap later for 14th. Foster continued to drop back, though, as he’d be pass for position by Chenoweth and Baker on Lap 9.
For the most part, the field spread out single file with everybody looking to log laps in the 100-lap event, but that did not stop the passes. Pritiko would get by Hawn for sixth, with Passer looking to follow him through on Lap 15. Behind them, Bowman had dropped back through the field, allowing Tiemersma to move up to 11th ahead of Roahrig, Pelletier, Chenoweth and Dwayne Baker.
Bowman would continue to fade back, eventually falling into the clutches of the leader. Glenn Watson would go to make a move to put him a lap down, but was unable to clear him. Instead, Shepherd got the run on him, taking over the top spot on Lap 17. Bowman would then pull off into the pits a lap later.
The first caution would fly on Lap 20 as a result of Roy Passer slowing with a problem, causing Tiemersma to spin around in the stack up. Under the yellow flag, Bowman returned to the track while Pritiko took the opportunity to fix his issue. With 81 laps to go, Shepherd led Gresel, Glenn Watson, Cadman, Brandon Watson, Tyler Hawn, Jordan Howse, Tyler Roahrig, Adrian Foster, Derrick Tiemersma, Pritiko, and Terry Baker – as Baker got the lucky dog. Pelletier ran as the first car one lap down in 13th ahead of Chenoweth, Baker, Passer and Bowman.
The restart saw Cadman fail to get going, pulling off a lap later as the caution flew for a second time. Under the yellow flag, Pelletier was able to get the lucky dog to rejoin the leaders.
The stretch of cautions continued, with a third two laps later for Foster spinning in turn one, ending his night early. With 77 laps to go, Gresel led Glenn Watson, Shepherd, Howse, Brandon Watson, Roahrig, Tiemersma and Hawn, Pelletier and Pritiko as Chenoweth got the lucky dog in 11th. Dwayne Baker ran 12th as the first car one lap down, ahead of Monaghan, Passer and Bowman.
Andrew Gresel got a good restart to keep the lead with Glenn Watson and Shepherd continuing to toe. Unfortunately, the restart didn’t pan out as Howse wanted, as he’d fall back two spots to sixth after being passed by both Brandon Watson and Roahrig. Behind him, Tiemersma continued to run seventh now ahead of Chenoweth, Pritiko, Hawn, Pelletier, Dwayne Baker, Passer and Monaghan as of Lap 25.
While Gresel seamlessly left the field and began to catch lap traffic once again, Shepherd would make his way by Glenn Watson to move up into second with 70 laps left on the board. Unfortunately, Bowman’s run came to an end once again, as he’d back pit side on Lap 32. The shifts in the field continued with Roahrig passing Brandon Watson for fourth, and Chenoweth getting by Tiemersma for seventh at Lap 35.
The fourth caution would then fly on Lap 40 for Hawn spinning following contact with Terry Baker. This yellow flag enabled Dwayne Baker to get back on the lead lap. So with 61 laps to go, Gresel led Shepherd, Glenn Watson, Roahrig, Brandon Watson, Howse, Chenoweth, Tiemersma, Pritiko, Dwayne Baker, Hawn and Pelletier. Roy Passer ran as the first car one lap down ahead of Monaghan.
The restart saw Glenn Watson get by Shepherd initially for second, while Howse headed to pits on Lap 44 with problems. Meanwhile, Shepherd was able to make his way back by Watson to move back into the runner-up position at Lap 45, as Brandon Watson moved his way back by Roahrig for fourth. Chenoweth now ran sixth ahead of Pritiko, Tiemersma, Dwayne Baker, Hawn, Pelletier, Passer and Monaghan.
Chenoweth’s run back up through after his early race spin came to an end on Lap 57 when he spun off of turn two into the grass, with no caution flown by race officials. He would eventually pull his car into the middle of the pits. Competitors would continue to drop out of the event through the middle portion, as Monaghan pulled off on Lap 61, followed by Roy Passer six laps later. Monaghan was able to return, but he headed back pit side on Lap 75, followed by Pritiko four laps later.
The race would appear to have a green flag look, as the leaders were spread out single file around the speedway, making their way smoothly through lap traffic. Gresel continued putting more competitors a lap down, including Tiemersma who was in sixth. Shepherd was the next driver to go by Tiemersma, but contact happened, resulting in damage for Shepherd and Tiemersma going around for the fifth caution. Ultimately, Shepherd would be done for the event, as well.
With 16 laps to go, Gresel restarted as the leader ahead of Glenn Watson, Brandon Watson and Roahrig, with Hawn getting the lucky dog ahead of Baker and Tiemersma. While Gresel was able to pull away once again, the battle for second had everyone’s attention between uncle and nephew. With a small rub along the way, Brandon Watson was finally able to clear his uncle Glenn, bringing Roahrig through with him with 10 laps to go.
Andrew Gresel would lead the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory ahead of Brandon Watson, Tyler Roahrig, Glenn Watson and Tyler Hawn. Dwayne Baker finished sixth, followed by Paul Pelletier, Derrick Tiemersma, Pete Shepherd III, and Matt Pritiko. Roy Passer finished 11th, followed by Trevor Monaghan, Shawn Chenoweth, Paul Howse, Terry Baker, Jim Bowman, Adrian Foster, John Cadman, Gary Passer, George Rangal and Todd Campbell.
For Gresel, now with his second super late victory of the year under his belt after winning the Don Biederman Memorial at Flamboro as well, his focus goes back to his APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario season, with this weekend’s big event at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“We got a lot of work to do, especially with the pro late,” Gresel said. “We haven’t been running too good. The Super is going to be alright (at Jukasa); it may be a little underpowered at Jukasa, believe it or not, with that track being a big track and big horsepower coming. I mean, we’re going to have a lot of fun either way, and we just want a good run with the pro late. We’re second in points there – quite a bit behind for first obviously, so we’re just looking for a good run.”