The 2010 Lucas Oil Sportsman Series rolled into Flamboro Speedway for the final race of the championship season as part of the Octoberfest weekend of Speed at the popular 1/3rd-mile oval. Jay Doerr, of London, entered the night needing only to take the green flag to lock up the title as the champion of the most prestigious asphalt stock car series in the province, mostly thanks to a number of consistent runs during the year, including four wins.
The night started with qualifying for the cards feature event, 100 laps of Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup action, and Shawn McGlynn, of Kitchener, was able to put his car on the pole with a new track record. Josh Wood qualified second, with Doerr third, ‘The Crowd Pleaser’ Kelly Balson fourth, and Dave Connelly fifth. The fourth-place effort was enough to move Balson to within six points of Connelly for second in the points standings
McGlynn quickly blasted away from the field at the drop of the green, opening up a huge lead on the field before slowing on lap 18 with a mechanical problem, and turning the lead over to Josh Wood. Wood led until lap 24, when Doerr was able to take the top position on the outside during a restart. Doerr held off Wood, who would fall back in the pack on a subsequent restart, as Dave Connelly moved to second with Cole Weber in third.
With 25 laps to Matt Robblee was the man on the move, climbing to fourth and starting to put heat on Weber for the final spot on the podium, but it would turn out to be the battle for the win shortly after that. With one of the other competitors leaking some sort of fluid on the race track, Doerr and Connelly hit the liquid, both spinning into the wall in turn one, handing the lead to Weber. Robblee pressured Weber until lap 97 when he locked up the brakes and skated straight towards the wall. He kept the car out of the fence, but gave up second position and was shuffled back in the pack by the time he recovered. Wood had worked his way back to second and had one final crack at the lead, but Weber held him off, until the field was coming off turn four to take the white flag. Dave Connelly hit Kenny Forth who was making his first start of the season on the tour. Forth hit the wall, and his car flipped over. The race was called one lap short of the
100-lap distance, with Weber being awarded his first win of the season, and the second of his career, ironically also at Flamboro.
Weber spoke about holding off Matt Robblee, and the amount of cautions during the final laps, saying, “Matt was fast, and I’m sure there were a couple of times when he was inside of me, but he raced me clean. Our car was good early in the race, but really started to go away in the second half of the race. The cautions helped us a lot late in holding everyone off, because our car was good for the first three or four laps, but in 10 or 15 laps the right front would heat up and the car would push. We didn’t have the best car tonight and probably had a third or fourth-place car, but we got a little luck and it worked out for us. I really like racing here, and we’ve done half a season in a Late Model here, so I figured that of all the places we race we had our best shot at a win here.”
Doerr stayed near the back of the pack in the closing laps to bring home ea tenth-place finish to finish off his championship run. He spoke about the race, and winning the title afterwards, saying, “We had a great car again, and should have won the race. We went down in the corner, and the car swapped ends and ended up in the wall. I initially thought Connelly had gotten into me, but he didn’t. When we went green again, I saw those guys beating and banging in front of us, and we didn’t have enough time to get back to the front, so there was no sense in wrecking the car when we already had the title locked up. We did want to finish the season up with a win, but this place got us again.”
Jay was also quick to deflect a lot of the glory of the championship to his car owner / crew chief / father, Doug Doerr, “I can’t say enough about my dad, and he should be very proud. He works on this car all the time and we joke that he probably spends more time with it than my mother. My guys did a great job on the car all season, and while I get all the limelight, a monkey could’ve driven this car – it was just that good every night. We also had the numbers in our favour today. We changed to number 40 this year because I’m going to be 40 and Bob Merrifield is number 43. If we could’ve won here it would have been our 40th feature win, but that wasn’t meant to be. We also bought 40 pink ribbons for Derek Clark’s car, because we thought we just might need the karma.”
As for defending his 2010 championship, Doerr proclaimed, “We’ll be back in 2011, and I don’t care if I only win one race all season, as long as it’s a Flamboro.”
Wood filed past Robblee first when Matt slipped up and finished second, using the result to boost him to a third-place finish in the standings. Balson finished third, spring boarding to second in the standings, while Shawn Hewitt and Brennan Didero rounded out the top-five.
Sophomore driver Derek Clark posted his career best finish with a sixth-place result, and also turned a good deed in the meantime. His team sold pink ribbons on the car with the proceeds going towards Breast Cancer Research in a program titles ‘Racing for a Cure’. The promotion raised over $1,200 for the cause, and Clark mixed in the solid result.
Connelly finished 19th, but held on to fourth in the standings, while Dan Prudhomme was able to post a 16th-place result in the final event that kept him in the top-five in the points.
Race Results – 1. Cole Weber, 2. Josh Wood, 3. Kelly Balson, 4. Shawn Hewitt, 5. Brennan Didero.
Championship Standings (Final standings) – 1. Jay Doerr – 705 points, 2. Kelly Balson – 667, 3. Josh Wood – 661, 4. Dave Connelly – 655, 5. Dan Prudhomme – 611.