In a race that proved the adage that the fastest car doesn't always win, Jack Landis scored the victory in Sunday's rain-delayed Glass City 200 for Outlaw Super Late Models at Toledo Speedway.
Landis took advantage of problems that sidelined several leaders throughout the day, taking the lead when then-leader Johnny Belott's engine gave up on lap 168 and led the rest of the way without challenge to take his first win in the annual fall classic. Landis took home two beautiful trophies and a check for over $7,000 from the $80,000 purse for his efforts.
With fast qualifier Belott drawing a 12 for the inversion, Mike Luberda and Brian Keselowski started the race on the front row for the drop of the green. Before one lap could be completed, Jay Sommers smacked the turn four wall necessitating a complete restart. Just as he did on the original start, Keselowski jumped out front and held back Luberda and then 1999 Glass City 200 winner Tim Felver throughout the early stages of the race. Felver's hopes for a second Glass City title went up in smoke when his engine gave up, allowing Keselowski some breathing room.
Keselowski's luck wouldn't hold for long. As the field circled under the caution flag for Felver's engine problems, Keselowski, the 2003 track Late Model champion and recent ARCA RE/MAX Series winner from Berlin Raceway, coasted down pit road with a loose coil wire. Keselowski was able to reconnect the wire without stopping, but dropped from the lead to the tail of the field for the restart.
Luberda picked up the point on the restart but the show was on behind him. Former ICEMAN Series champion and Toledo Speedway track favorite Dave Kuhlman started one position out of
Jack Landis earned what he called the biggest win of his career on Sunday in the Glass City 200. (Robert Michon photo)
After jumping from his crashed racecar, Simko stopped St. Denis while he was circling under caution by jumping onto the hood and through the windshield of St. Denis’ car before falling to the pavement. Not to be deterred, Simko got up, unfastened St. Denis' window net and threw several punches before being restrained by track safety officials.
Simko made a third run at St. Denis, and that was the charm as St. Denis, the burly Canadian, unbuckled and climbed from his car and went after the youngster.
A full-blown donnybrook erupted in the infield grass before the two were separated. Simko's car was too heavily damaged to continue while St. Denis was parked for the afternoon by ARCA officials.
The video from the event (click here to see), along with photos, have become somewhat of an media and internet phenomenon since Sunday’s race. Because of both drivers’ actions, Simko and St. Denis have been suspended from further participation in ARCA sanctioned racing events for an indefinite period of time. The suspensions were issued for violation of ARCA Rulebook Section 3, #10: Conduct or actions detrimental to the sport, unsportsmanlike driving, fighting, and/or taking part in any demonstration which impedes the orderly process of an event shall be subject to penalty.
Back under green, it was just a matter of time before Kuhlman exerted his strength and took the lead. But again, leading the race would prove not the place to be. On lap 132 Jeff Bailey and Dr. Bob DuCharme spun off turn four, and before he could get slowed down, Kuhlman, Brad Birr, and 16 year-old Jake Francis collided sending the leader's car hard into the frontstretch wall. While he was uninjured in the accident, the Howell, Mich. veteran took his time exiting the car before taking the long walk back to the pits.
The lead went back to Luberda, but he didn't keep it for long as fast qualifier Belott quickly moved to the front. Belott pulled away with ease, but once again Lady Luck frowned on the leader as smoke seeped from the pipes of Belott’s car on lap 168.
Landis, who had just slipped past Luberda to take second, assumed the lead and led the rest of the way.
"When we were behind Belott, I could see smoke coming out," Landis said. "I was thinking to myself how nice it would be for him to have some kind of leak or something and have to come down pit road to get it fixed. Then I saw how much oil was on the windshield and was just about to start lobbying for a black flag when it took care of itself.
“I've had some pretty big wins in my career but I definitely rank this one at the top. (Steve) Sauve was teasing me earlier that he has three of these (Budwesier Eagle trophies), but now I have one of my own."
Luberda held on to second in just his second visit to the quick banked half-mile.
"We led at halfway and we picked up the Wynn's bonus for being the highest finishing driver making his first start in the Glass City 200," Luberda said. "It's not a win, but we'll gladly take second place and all that bonus and lap money. It was a good race. We learned a lot and we'll definitely be back to try to win this thing next year."
Landis (#10) gets around Mike Luberda Jr. (#40) for the lead. (Michon photo)
Andy Ponstein worked the outside groove to perfection throughout the day to come home third.
"This is just the fourth race on this car and the first time we've had it here," Ponstein said of the No. 00 Ford. "I ran a little bit of a unique line out there. People hear all the time about some of the wild stuff that the Cup teams are doing to get their cars down on the ground. As you can see, our car is pretty far up off the ground. But it works and we're still finding ways to make it work better. It really helped the car up high."
Brent Jack finished fourth, a nose ahead of Harold Fair, Sr. in fifth. Keselowski recovered from his early problems to finish sixth.
Attrition sidelined many pre-race favorites early in the going. Defending race winner John Doering, Jr. was out early with mechanical problems, while a bout with the turn two wall sidelined perennial favorite Fred Campbell. Flat Rock Speedway champion Paul Pelletier also went out early, while Harold Fair, Jr. was a factor until late race engine troubles forced him out.
Joe Hawes won the 30-lap B Main for the 12 drivers that did not make the field for the Glass City 200. Ron Allen, who finished 14th in the Glass City 200, captured the 40-lap companion ARCA Sportsman race.
The accident and fight everyone is talking about: Michael Simko (#06, top) wrecked, then kicked through the windshield of St. Denis (middle) before the two fought outside their cars (bottom). (Todd Ridgeway photos)
the inversion after qualifying 13th, but was charging hard towards the front. After zipping past three-time Glass City winner Steve Sauve and battling Andy Ponstein, Kuhlman set sail for Luberda. Kuhlman was able to pass Luberda twice before the lap-101 break, but before the lap could be completed the caution would wave and he would be forced to fall back in line.
Kulhman went right back to work after the 20-minute halftime break, working both the inside and the treacherous outside groove. Kulhman got the jump and passed Luberda for a third time on a lap 112 restart, but a crash involving Michael Simko and Don St. Denis again forced Kuhlman back into second position.
While Kuhlman fought his frustrations in the cockpit, Simko's boiled over.