Entering the 2018 Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park Late Model season at Sunset Speedway, there was a question as to whom would be the drivers to watch for the championship.
The lists from fans varied from a total of two drivers, to as many as six competitors. Now, the year hasn’t been without controversy thus far, and car counts have varied from the beginning to now, but the prediction of a title fight was true. With almost two months of racing in the books, the contenders have separated themselves from the pack.
Statistics and trips to victory lane alone state that the three drivers to watch through the summer will be Danny Benedict, Gord Shepherd, and Nick Goetz. Those three have swapped wins back and forth thus far, with only Rick Spencer-Walt sneaking in victory lane at Spring Velocity to mix things up. As it stands right now, Benedict tops the standings, by just six ahead of Shepherd, and nine ahead of Goetz.
The first feature on Saturday night displayed the battle for the championship perfectly as Benedict picked up his third checkered flag ahead of Shepherd and Goetz. Ron Quesnelle finished fourth after getting caught up in a wreck during last week’s second feature, with Al Inglis completing the top-five. Inglis didn’t make his 2018 season debut until June 2, but has scored three top-10’s in six races.
Chad Corcoran finished sixth for a season-best, followed by Ernie Fumerton, Kendra Adams, Billy Zardo, and Mike Wilkinson.
The second feature on Saturday displayed the unpredictability that you can still have despite defining the title contenders down to just three drivers. With top-two from the first feature having to start 11th and 12th and the rest inverted, sometimes making your way back to the front isn’t as easy as it looks. The finishing order displays this as you have your contenders up there, but some of the other faces mixed in the middle as well.
Gord Shepherd has become the man over the past couple of years at making his way through the traffic as he used a late-race pass to secure the victory on Saturday night for his division-leading fourth checkered flag of 2018. Fumerton led a majority of the feature en route to a season-best second, while Goetz picked up his fifth consecutive top-five with a third. Adams scored a career-best fourth, with Danny Benedict rounding out the top-five.
Wilkinson finished sixth for his eighth consecutive top-10, followed by Quesnelle, Inglis, Corcoran, and Nic Montanari.