Kelly Balson Scores First Career Modified Victory at ACC

Kelly Balson made his Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway special by scoring his first career OSCAAR Modified feature victory. Meanwhile, Cory Horner survived the chaos to be crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Modified Champion.

Gary Elliott won the first heat ahead of John Baker Jr., Brad Stevenson, John Harper, Dale Reinhart, Jason Keen, Bob Franks, and Chris Milwain. Tyler Di Venanzo would fail to take the green flag.

Kelly Balson won the second heat ahead of Chad Strawn, Gary McLean, Anthony DiBello, John Harper, A.J. Emms, Jase Cornell, Willow Barberstock, and Wally Wilson.

Shawn Chenoweth won the third heat ahead of Tim Tolton, Luke Gignac, Mike Hearty, and Craig Scott. Duane Cinnamon and Randy Hollingsworth failed to take the green flag, while Robert Warnes was disqualified.

John Harper won the fourth heat ahead of Baker Jr., Horner, Strawn, Stevenson, Cornell, Elliott, and Barberstock.

Anthony DiBello won the fifth heat ahead of McLean, Emms, Balson, Hearty, Tolton, and Wilson.

Chris Milwain won the sixth heat ahead of Reinhart, Gignac, Chenoweth, Keen, Franks, and Warnes.

Come feature time, John Baker Jr. started pole ahead of Kelly Balson, Shawn Chenoweth, Gary McLean, Anthony DiBello, Chad Strawn, John Harper, Luke Gignac, Cory Horner, and Dale Reinhart. Gary Elliott started 11th, followed by Tim Tolton, Brad Stevenson, Chris Milwain, A.J. Emms, Mike Hearty, Jason Keen, Bob Franks, Jase Cornell, Richard Warnes, Wally Wilson, Willow Barberstock, and Tyler Di Venanzo.

The feature didn’t start out smoothly, with Milwain and Hearty getting together in turn one, with Milwain tagging the turn one wall as Hearty went over the hump into the field. Di Venanzo was also involved, failing to avoid as he got into the turn one wall.

The second attempt to start the event went off with John Baker Jr. leading ahead of Balson, as Chenoweth and DiBello ran side-by-side for third. DiBello got the spot on Lap 2, with Harper moving into fourth a lap later ahead of Chenoweth and Horner.

Balson would then get alongside Baker Jr. for the lead on Lap 4, with the caution coming out three laps later for Emms spinning Tolton off turn four. With 46 laps to go, Balson led Baker Jr., DiBello, Harper, Chenoweth, Horner, McLean, Gignac, Strawn, Elliott, Stevenson, Reinhart, Keen, Cornell, Franks, Warnes, Emms, Barberstock, Wilson, and Tolton.

Balson got a good restart ahead of Baker Jr. and Harper, with Chenoweth and DiBello side-by-side for fourth on Lap 9, with Reinhart tagging Elliott mid-pack a lap later. Chenoweth moved into fourth on Lap 11 with Strawn up to fifth ahead of Stevenson, Horner, DiBello, Gignac, McLean, Cornell, and Keen. Harper would then get alongside Baker for second on Lap 14, taking the spot one lap later. Behind them, McLean made his way by Gignac for ninth at Lap 17.

Keen ran 11th ahead of Cornell, Reinhart, Emms, Tolton, Elliott, Warnes, Franks, Barberstock, and Wilson. The third caution then came out at Lap 23 for Horner spinning, collecting McLean and Gignac in the process. With 28 laps to go, Balson led Harper, Baker Jr., Chenoweth, Strawn, Stevenson, Keen, Cornell, Reinhart, Emms, Tolton, Elliott, Horner, Gignac, Wilson, Franks, Barberstock, and Warnes.

The attempt at a restart did not fly, courtesy of a jump by Harper. The second attempt produced the fifth caution with Stevenson spinning courtesy of Keen. The third attempt would see Reinhart spin Cornell, collecting Gignac in the process. The new running order saw Balson leading Harper, Baker Jr., Chenoweth, Strawn, Emms, Tolton, Elliott, Horner, Gignac, DiBello, Barberstock, Warnes, Keen, Stevenson, Wilson, Cornell, Reinhart, and Franks.

The fourth attempt worked with Balson leading Harper and Baker, as Strawn moved up into fourth ahead of Horner, Chenoweth, DiBello, Tolton, Emms, Gignac, Warnes, and Cornell. Emms would then get by Tolton to move into eighth on Lap 28, bringing Gignac through with him. Horner also continued his way back to the front, passing Strawn for fourth two laps later.

The seventh caution then came out on Lap 32 for Stevenson spinning on the backstretch, courtesy of Cornell. The first attempt at a restart saw another yellow flag for debris, as Harper slowed with a flat tire. He would head down pit road, changing it and rejoining the tail of the field.

Balson got a good restart as Horner moved into second ahead of Baker, Strawn, Chenoweth, and Emms. Chenoweth would get by Strawn for fourth on Lap 36, with Emms following him through. DiBello would get alongside Strawn for sixth, shoving him up the track off of turn four. The contact did both drivers no favors, as Strawn made significant contact with the frontstretch wall. Notably, Stevenson and Tolton caught a piece of the wreck in the process.

Due to hitting the time limit, single-file restarts would be the call for the rest of the event. The first attempt didn’t work, as Harper tried to jump from deep in the field to fifth on the outside before even getting through turn four.

The second attempt went clean with Kelly Balson scoring the victory, as Cory Horner finished second to clinch the 2018 OSCAAR Modified Championship. John Baker Jr. finished third, followed by Shawn Chenoweth, A.J. Emms, Luke Gignac, Robert Warnes, Gary Elliott, Jase Cornell, and John Harper. Dale Reinhart finished 11th, followed by Tim Tolton, Bob Franks, Willow Barberstock, Wally Wilson, Brad Stevenson, Jason Keen, Chad Strawn, Anthony DiBello, Gary McLean, Mike Hearty, Tyler Di Venanzo, and Chris Milwain. Craig Scott and Randy Hollingsworth failed to take the green flag.

By Ashley McCubbin

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