LONDON, ON - The Loctite Racing CASCAR Castrol Super Series team will have a new look for this weekend's National finale at Delaware Speedway Park (Sept. 1-3). Pete Vanderwyst has driven a Chevrolet - either a Lumina or a Monte Carlo - since his entry on the tour several seasons ago. But for the CARQUEST 300, the St. Thomas, ON racer is hoping to boost his fortunes with a new car and a new 'skin'. For the first time ever, the #77 Loctite CASCAR late model will be competing as a Pontiac Grand Prix. The new Loctite car will also sport a new paint scheme for its first - and final - appearance of the 2000 Super Series season. It's been a busy couple of days for the Vanderwyst Motorsports crew since Vanderywst's disappointing 23rd place finish on the road course at Mosport Int'l Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
"We've got a lot ahead of us to get our car ready for this weekend at Delaware. The plan is to be able to test at Cayuga on Thursday. I'm in New Hampshire on business for the early part of the week. We'll have a new paint scheme on the new Loctite Pontiac Grand Prix for the CARQUEST 300. It's really 'trick' looking," was the only hint that Vanderwyst would offer about his all-new racer.
"The goal for the weekend is to put a good finish on what's been a difficult year. Last season, when we finished second in the Eastern points, we were successful in putting the bad luck aside. This year, we've been hit with our fair share and more."
Looking back at the Mosport event, Vanderwyst qualified well in the top half of the field during time trials and finished sixth (after starting seventh) in his Saturday qualifying heat race, which was cut to just 15 laps by rain.
In Sunday's 64 lap (250 km) main event, Vanderwyst was running eighth by lap 20, prior to pitting to allow his team to remove the car's hood, which was buckled in an earlier coming together with another car. "Our pit strategy worked. We wanted to 'short pit' - come in early. The full course caution came out just as we came in and the CASCAR official at the end of pit road held me there, which put us down a lap. We argued and argued, but they wouldn't change it. It wasn't right.
"It was perfect timing for our stop. I was already in the pits making my stop when the caution came out (on lap 24). It was actually a blessing. You dream about that happening, because when everyone comes in the next time around, you're the leader. But we got nailed by a bad call, and somehow lost a lap."
Vanderwyst was able to recover, however, and actually charged back past the leaders to recover his lost lap.
"I eventually got my lap back. But I was too distracted and I just lost it. Coming into turn 9, I dropped my right-front tire off the track and into the gravel (on lap 41). The car spun and it took the back end off. That ended our day. It was too bad, because we had a good day going and we were as fast as the leaders. CASCAR got me and then I got myself," lamented Vanderwyst.
MOSPORT RACE SUMMARY: The third CASCAR Castrol Super Series National event of the season finished on a familiar note. For the second year in a row, the Mosport Int'l Raceway road course race was won by Peter Gibbons. And for the third race weekend in a row, Gibbons finished ahead of his nearest National points rival, Don Thomson Jr. The pair also finished 'one-two' at the July 30 National race at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park, as well as at the Eastern finale on Aug. 6 at Montreal's Autodrome St-Eustache. Gibbons and Thomson ran nose-to-tail for much of the race and finished several seconds ahead of third-place Kevin Dowler. The CASCAR National season winds up this weekend (Sept. 1-3) at London's Delaware Speedway Park. The CARQUEST 500 Race Weekend concludes on Sunday afternoon with the CARQUEST 300; Canada's richest, oldest and biggest stock car race. Qualifying time trials and heat races are scheduled for Friday evening.