It may only be the first night of the 2019 season, but a clear nomination for the feature of the year has already emerged. In a race that featured five different race leaders in the final eight laps, Dwayne Baker led a single lap en route to winning the Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park Late Model feature.
Following the first 35-lap feature, Ron Quesnelle drew pole ahead of Paul Geniole Jr., Robbie Sikes, Dwayne Baker, Travis Hallyburton, Nick Goetz, Josh Stade, Paul Maltese, Rick Spencer-Walt, Danny Benedict, Billy Zardo, Gord Shepherd, Daniel Montanari, Kendra Adams, Stefan Semeraro, Thayne Hallyburton, Al Inglis, Mike Wilkinson, Chris McIssac, Brandon Feeney, TJ Rinomato, and Ernie Fumerton.
The first attempt to start the race did not go as planned, with Sikes’ hood flying off, resulting in a caution for debris. As a result, Sikes would be sent to the tail of the field. The second attempt was no better, with Semeraro spinning Montanari in turn three; Montanari would get it rolling, rejoining the tail of the field.
The third attempt would go smoothly, with Geniole Jr. and Quesnelle side-by-side for the top spot. Geniole took the lead on Lap 3 ahead of Quesnelle, Travis Hallyburton, and Baker, as Stade and Goetz battled for fifth. Behind them, Spencer-Walt ran sixth, with Benedict and Maltese side-by-side for seventh ahead of Shepherd, Thayne Hallyburton, Semeraro, Inglis, Sikes, and Adams, as Zardo headed down pit road with a mechanical issue on Lap 8.
With nine laps on the board, Geniole led Quesnelle, Travis Hallyburton, Baker and Goetz, with Spencer-Walt alongside Stade for sixth. Spencer-Walt was unable to complete the pass, falling back in behind Stade, as Benedict moved his way up to eighth. Behind him, Shepherd ran ninth ahead of Maltese, Thayne Hallyburton, Semeraro and Sikes, with Inglis and Adams side-by-side for 14th.
The field would stack up through turns one and two, resulting in several cars tapping the rear of each other’s bumpers. This would not work in Benedict’s favor, as contact from Shepherd would send the No. 54 Late Model around in turn two. As a result, both drivers would sent to the tail of the field for the restart. With 23 laps to go, Geniole led Quesnelle, Travis Hallyburton, Baker, Goetz, Stade, Spencer-Walt, Maltese, Thayne Hallyburton, Semeraro, and Sikes.
Quesnelle would grab the lead on the restart, with Travis Hallyburton moving into second. Goetz would then get alongside Hallyburton for second on Lap 14, with Spencer-Walt alongside Geniole for fourth.
Geniole would drive hard into turn three on Lap 18 trying to keep the spot, diving in too deep as he looped the car around, tapping the turn four wall. He would head into the pits, done for the night. At the halfway mark, Quesnelle led ahead of Hallyburton, Goetz, Spencer-Walt, Maltese, Thayne Hallyburton, Sikes, Adams, Semeraro, Wilkinson, Inglis, and Montanari.
Quesnelle got another good restart to keep the lead, with Spencer-Walt alongside Travis Hallyburton for second. Goetz would then take them three-wide for second on Lap 19, with Goetz and Spencer-Walt both getting by Hallyburton. Goetz grabbed the spot on Lap 22 ahead of Spencer-Walt, with Hallyburton now fourth ahead of Baker, Maltese, Thayne Hallyburton, Sikes, Shepherd, and Semeraro.
Shepherd tried to continue moving forward, getting alongside Sikes for eighth with 10 laps to go, as Baker made his way around Travis Hallyburton for fourth. Maltese ran sixth behind them, ahead of Thayne Hallyburton, Shepherd, Sikes, Semeraro, Montanari, and Benedict.
The battle for the lead got interesting with six laps to go, with Goetz getting alongside Quesnelle. Spencer-Walt would then take the pair of them three-wide down the backstretch, with him and Goetz coming out on top as Quesnelle tagged the wall off of turn four.
Spencer-Walt would then take the lead with three laps to go, with Goetz right on his tail. Through the final laps, the focus was on the top-two, with Spencer-Walt blocking the bottom lane as he tried to stop the charge from Goetz. The battle between the pair enabled Baker to close the gap, driving around both of them on the outside in turn three and four on the final lap.
Dwayne Baker would then edge Rick Spencer-Walt at the line by 0.099 seconds to score the victory, with Nick Goetz scored third ahead of Ron Quesnelle and Travis Hallyburton. Paul Maltese finished sixth, followed by Gord Shepherd, Thayne Hallyburton, Robbie Sikes, and Daniel Montanari. Josh Stade finished 11th, followed by Stefan Semeraro, Danny Benedict, Mike Wilkinson, Al Inglis, Kendra Adams, Ernie Fumerton, Brandon Feeney, TJ Rinomato, Chris McIssac, Paul Geniole Jr., and Billy Zardo.