Vanderwyst Motorsports / EXIDE Racing From second to sixth in the blink of an eye. MONTREAL, QC - Pete Vanderwyst's Exide Batteries Pontiac was running second on lap 90 of Saturday night's CASCAR Super Series race at Montreal's Autodrome ...
Vanderwyst Motorsports / EXIDE Racing
From second to sixth in the blink of an eye.
MONTREAL, QC - Pete Vanderwyst's Exide Batteries Pontiac was running second on lap 90 of Saturday night's CASCAR Super Series race at Montreal's Autodrome St-Eustache. As the field circled the flat 'egg-shaped' oval, rain started to fall. On lap 94, with the trickle having given way to a full downpour, Vanderwyst - who was being tailed closely by Peter Gibbons - was tagged in the rear-end by the two-time National champion, whose tires had lost grip on the increasingly wet racing surface.
The contact sent Vanderwyst sliding into the infield in turn 2. Finding it difficult to see because of all the water on his windshield, the St. Thomas, ON racer eventually managed to rejoin the pack. Moments later, with the downpour continuing, the rest of the race was scrubbed and Vanderwyst's Exide Pontiac was scored in sixth-place in the final results.
Although bitterly disappointed to have seen his second-place finish washed away with the rain, Vanderwyst took comfort in the knowledge that his string of strong runs in 2002 had continued at St-Eustache.
During time trials at the 4/10-mile oval, Vanderwyst posted the fourth-best time of the 30 competitors. In the three races held so far this season, the Exide Pontiac has never qualified outside of the top-four.
"We had a great car today. We off-loaded fast and had a good time during practice. We had a setup we were happy with for the race."
At the initial green flag, Vanderwyst was able to move quickly to third and held that position for the first 41 laps. "We had a great opportunity at the start and the car stuck up high, allowing us to capitalize on the opening, and fall in line." On lap 41, Vanderwyst was on the move again and darted underneath Don Thomson, into second.
"Donnie was trying to set up 'Whit' [race leader Dave Whitlock] and I was setting up Donnie. I got underneath him and won the race into the corner. After that, I started chasing Whitlock. I could get to him in the first 10 laps or so, but after that, he'd take off. He was very strong. He had a good line in [turns] one-two and he was fast in three and four, as well. When you can be good in all the turns at this place, you deserve to win."
Vanderwyst was holding off the advances of Peter Gibbons when the rain started to fall. Moments later, Gibbons got into the back of Vanderwyst, after slipping on the wet racing surface.
"That deal with Gibbons running into the back of me was really unfortunate. It was pouring over in turns 3 and 4 at that point and I just slowed down because it was so wet. It was getting to the point that I could hardly see with all the water on the windshield.
"I knew the caution was coming out. But then we got together and that was it. After that, I scrambled to get back on track. There's no way I should have lost second because we had to race in a rainstorm. I don't blame Peter; he couldn't stop because of the water."
Asked if he could have caught Whitlock, if the race had stayed 'dry', Vanderwyst responded, "My car was real tight in the middle of 1 and 2, but we were quick off and that's what kept us ahead of Peter all that time he was challenging us."
After three of 12 events, Vanderwyst is sixth in the overall CASCAR Super Series points.
NEXT RACE: Following the first 'off weekend' since the season started in the middle of May, the Exide Pontiac will be back in action at Mosport Int'l Raceway on June 15-16 for the first road course event of the season. Pete Vanderwyst has extensive experience at the challenging road course, and is looking forward to participating on the familiar circuit.