(Delaware, Ontario) -- Billy Innes and his Regional Auto Glass Ford Taurus kicked off the 2003 CASCAR Super Series season on Victoria Day weekend at Delaware Speedway, just minutes outside of London. The event, the MOPAR 300 is the first of 12 ...
(Delaware, Ontario) -- Billy Innes and his Regional Auto Glass Ford Taurus kicked off the 2003 CASCAR Super Series season on Victoria Day weekend at Delaware Speedway, just minutes outside of London. The event, the MOPAR 300 is the first of 12 events for the nations top stock car circuit, and Innes and his Ruckus Racing Team were looking for a solid run to get the year started.
The event was scheduled to begin Friday night with twin 100-lap qualifying races, but the skies were gray all afternoon, and the radar showed an all-night rain. This forced practice and qualifying to Saturday. During practice the Ruckus Racing crew kept adjusting the car, fine tuning their Taurus before competing against the clock in qualifying.
In time trails, Innes was able to post the 19th quickest time of the session. He was ecstatic after the qualifying session was over, "This was a great run for us. This is our best qualifying attempt since we came back to CASCAR three years ago, and the car should be good for tomorrow."
Sunday the green dropped on the MOPAR 300 with Innes starting 28th in the field. "We got off to a real good start," Billy explained, "I picked off a bunch of cars early, but we had the wrong tires, and knew that we could make the car better with a few adjustments on the pit stop." Innes got that chance early in the feature, as he came to pit road for two tires and fuel. The crew went to work, making a sway bar and a wedge adjustment. "It seemed to work, because the car was a lot better through the middle of the corners."
But the day would turn sour for Innes as he was forced to pit lane to change a rocker stud. "We broke a rocker stud in the motor and got that changed, but the brake fluid boiled while we were changing the stud and when we went back out on the track I had no brakes, and spun the car." # 00 returned to pit road and the crew changed the brake fluid, with Innes rejoining the action, though a few laps down after the time spent in the pits.
Innes would break another rocker stud later in the event, which ended his afternoon. "We could've changed it, but we weren't sure if it had hurt anything else, so we packed it in." When summing up the weekend, Innes explained, "It was good and bad. I'm disappointed about the problems we had with the motor, but we made about four of five adjustments on the car and it seemed to get better with every change we made. It makes me optimistic about the rest of the season."
Don Thomson Jr., and Steve Robblee sat on the front row for the MOPAR 300, and both led early. The field cycled through a number of pit stops, as Brad Graham, Kerry Micks, Pete Vanderwyst, and Jim Lapcevich all took turns at the head of the pack. Thomson took the lead away from Lapcevich on lap 205, but David Whitlock and Brad Graham were charging with fresher tires. They both passed Thomson with 12 to go, with Whitlock going the distance for the win. Graham had a problem with five to go, giving second back to Thomson, while Neil Fair filled out the podium.
1. Whitlock, 2. Thomson, 3. Fair, 4. Micks, 5. Vanderwyst, 23. Billy Innes.
The next event for the Ruckus Racing Team will be Saturday June seventh at Peterborough Speedway. Innes is excited about the opportunity to return to 'Canada's Fastest 1/3rd-mile Speedway'. "We've ran well at Peterborough over the years, and we're very excited about this year's race. It's a tough, fast little bullring, and it's usually an awesome CASCAR show there. We'll be ready, the car was fast this weekend, and I think we can carry it over to the next race.