Whitlock leads most laps at St-Eustache St-Eustache, QC -- Jun 04 2005: Dave Whitlock qualified his Avenue / NMT Dodge third fastest and led most laps of the Whelan 200 on Saturday night at this 4/10 mile oval near Montreal. But when each of the...
Whitlock leads most laps at St-Eustache
St-Eustache, QC -- Jun 04 2005: Dave Whitlock qualified his Avenue / NMT Dodge third fastest and led most laps of the Whelan 200 on Saturday night at this 4/10 mile oval near Montreal. But when each of the podium finishers was asked by the announcer if they saw the drama that had unfolded behind them during the closing laps, they each said yes but were glad to not be a part of it.
Don Thomson Jr. passed pole sitter Peter Gibbons on lap 16, and Whitlock drove past Thomson for the first of three times to assume the lead on lap 21. Eventual winner Kerry Micks passed Thomson shortly thereafter and the trio raced hard for nearly 100 laps. With ten cautions in total, getting around the slower-car traffic was continually a challenge for the leaders, but the ability of Whitlock to keep his Dodge up front was never seriously challenged. It was traffic that finally caused a scramble at lap 117 when Micks and Thomson got by the trapped Whitlock. The trio forged ahead of all others until lap 181 when again Whitlock passed Thomson for second and began his pursuit of Micks. But three laps later, that drama began to unfold.
Coming out of turn two, Thomson and Whitlock took opposite sides passing a lapped car and were side-by-side entering turn three. Slight contact upset Whitlock's #39 resulting in him spinning, and the ninth caution. With only ten laps remaining and Whitlock in 14th, he was on a mission, working the lapped traffic and chasing the best finish he could salvage.
On lap 195, he charged under a lapped car going into turn one just as 10th-place Jeff Lapcevich was doing the same from the outside groove. Unfortunately, the two made contact, causing the #23 to spin and bring out the final caution. The drama heightened dramatically when race officials assessed a stop-and-go penalty to Whitlock. When the green flag waved, Whitlock again charged forward and entered the pits on lap 196. He had gained enough track position on the restart to return to the track just as the leaders were approaching. As the four-car pack headed for the white flag, slight contact again emerged causing Thomson to slip back two spots, finishing 4th.
That drama brought the crowd to their feet and caused tempers to flare. It is that same drama that will emerge many more times as teams all pursue the commitments made during their Media Day comments. It will be a season where more drama will cause the sweet taste of victory, and for many, the painful agony of defeat. And drama will be just one small part of the ultimate victory earned by whomever is crowned Champion at the 2005 CASCAR Awards Banquet.
On TV: Event #1, the Mopar 250 from Delaware Speedway will air at 9 p.m. on June 11 on SPORTSNET. This event #2 will air at 3 p.m. on June 25th.
Next CASCAR Super Series race: June 17-18 at the famed Mosport road course.