ST. THOMAS, ON - This past weekend, Pete Vanderwyst and the ...
ST. THOMAS, ON - This past weekend, Pete Vanderwyst and the #77 Loctite Chevy crew made the long trek to Autodrome Chicoutimi for the sixth CASCAR Castrol Super Series East race of the season. The 1/3-mile oval is located a few hours north of Quebec City and the race was the first time the facility had hosted CASCAR's top division. The event was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday evening, but persistent rain pushed the 150 lap affair back until mid-afternoon on Monday. During qualifying for the race, Pete Vanderwyst posted the 11th quickest time during time trials on the banked oval and looked ready to dominate his heat race until a flat tire spoiled his run. "We qualified 11th and were about a half-lap ahead in our heat race - with two laps to go - when we had the right-front tire go down. So, we went to the back." By 'the back', the St. Thomas, ON racer meant 20th place, which wasn't a great prospect because passing was definitely a difficult task on the tight 'bullring'. More often than not, racing is a physical affair on such tracks and Monday's race at Chicoutimi was no exception. "In the race, we got up to 10th and Claude Leclerc got into me and just about put me on my roof," said Vanderwyst. "I had two wheels up in the air and everyone could see my oil pan. But the car was still running and after going to the back again, we just followed Mark Dilley for the rest of the race." The final results had the #77 Loctite Chevy in ninth place, just one spot behind Dilley, whose motor had expired prior to the race and he ended up borrowing Vanderwyst's second car, which he'd brought along for the trip. "They [Dilley] didn't have a second car or motor. I always bring a second car to the track in the event that it happens to us. The only thing wrong, at the end of the race, was that he finished ahead of me," joked Vanderwyst. According to Vanderwyst, the Chicoutimi facility was in great shape, but the configuration wasn't exactly to his liking. "The scenery up there was beautiful and the track was well kept, but it was another small, tight oval that offers few opportunities for passing. Racing on one groove is tough. It was just another tiny, no passing track. At the end, we were running two-tenths of a second quicker than [race winner] Don Thomson. We still had a lot left because we didn't really race all day long before that. It's not really my favourite thing going to those little places. Some guys might like them, but if you don't get it done in qualifying, you're behind the 8-ball. On the bright side, though, the fans over there get pretty pumped up about their racing."
Coming Up: The next event for the #77 Loctite Chevy team is on Saturday, July 15 at the Toronto Molson Indy. The Exide '99 Street Fight will mark CASCAR's return visit to the lakeshore circuit after a successful inaugural outing in 1999. Last year, Pete Vanderwyst started sixth and finished fourth at the Indy and is looking for another solid road course result this time. "We went out and practiced once at Mosport earlier in the season. That kind of brought me up to a par with the other guys who were at Mosport two years ago when we didn't race because of engine problems. I'm just hoping there isn't any rain because we have to race no matter what the conditions are. We're looking forward to it. You've got a great work atmosphere in the National Trade Centre and there are great people putting the event on. The track is decent and there are going to be a bunch of Loctite people out for our race on Saturday and also for the CART race on Sunday. One thing we want to do it keep the car together so that we won't have to do too much before racing in Edmonton the next weekend." That race signals the start of the four-event Super Series National championship.
Race Report: CASCAR Castrol Super Series East points leader Don Thomson won his second race of the season, in Chicoutimi, to stretch out his series points lead to 33, with just the Toronto Molson Indy road course race and the Aug. 6 return to Autodrome St-Eustache remaining on the Eastern schedule. Finishing second to Thomson was Dave Jacombs, followed by Dave Whitlock.