CENTENNIAL CHRYSLER DRIVER JOHN GAUNT GETS PING-PONGED TO EIGHTH IN THE LATE STAGES OF SATURDAY'S NASCAR RACE AT MOSPORT BARRIE, ON -- Saturday evening's NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Mosport Speedway was a roller-coaster of emotions for...
CENTENNIAL CHRYSLER DRIVER JOHN GAUNT GETS PING-PONGED TO EIGHTH IN THE LATE STAGES OF SATURDAY'S NASCAR RACE AT MOSPORT
BARRIE, ON -- Saturday evening's NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Mosport Speedway was a roller-coaster of emotions for John Gaunt and the crew of the #12 Centennial Chrysler-sponsored Dodge Avenger.
A good practice session at the half-mile oval was followed by a disappointing qualifying effort, which saw the Barrie, ON racer line up 16th in the field of 20 for the seventh race of the season. Setup changes for the start of the race paid dividends, however, as the #12 Centennial Chrysler / AKN Sikkens / Vital Signs / Mobil1 / Unitec Dodge Avenger climbed into the top 10 by lap 70 of the 200-lap chase. And just prior to the midway point, Gaunt was running comfortably in third place before giving up a few positions.
Within 40 laps of securing a top finish, however, Gaunt was knocked for a loop in turn 4 as he and another car were attempting to negotiate slower traffic. Over the next 25 laps, the veteran racer was able to claw his way back to sixth place before being tagged again with just five laps to go. Gaunt would ultimately record an eighth-place finish, and was understandably frustrated as having been the victim of others' rough driving.
"It was an interesting night," said Gaunt, after the race. "We didn't time trial very well, but we had a good car in practice -- I think we were about ninth-fastest. We made some more adjustments and the car wasn't bad at the start of the race. We made an early stop and made some more adjustments to free the car up some. It was working pretty good at that point. We made it into the top five and we were comfortable in the top 10."
Gaunt continued, "At that point, we got turned by the #9 car [Mark Dilley] and then near the end -- with about 5 laps to go -- the #02 [Kerry Micks] turned us. It was just a lot of bumping and grinding and not a lot of giving. It just makes it tough. Maybe one day the shoe might be on the other foot. But all in all, the car raced well and the team was excellent with their adjustments during the pit stops. Our end result didn't show what we had."
Following seven events, the #12 Centennial Chrysler Dodge Avenger sits 10th in the overall NASCAR point standings, with five races remaining.
Looking ahead to the team's next outing, Gaunt is anticipating being part of the fourth and final NASCAR Canadian Tire Series road course event of the season, this coming weekend at Quebec's Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres.
"We'll probably sit on the pole and lead the most laps," Gaunt joked. "We're looking forward to going to Trois-Rivieres for the first time. I'm actually starting to enjoy these road course races. And based on what we saw in Montreal, the fans in Quebec are fantastic. We'll go there, have some fun and hopefully come up with a solid result in our last road race of the year."
MOSPORT SUMMARY: Five-time Canadian national stock car champion Don Thomson Jr. won his second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race of the season, on Saturday evening at Mosport Speedway.
The Hamilton, ON racer was the class of the field in the second half of the 200-lap chase around the Mosport half-mile oval. Mark Dilley finished second, ahead of recent Montreal race winner Kerry Micks. The event was slowed by eight caution flags for a total of 59 laps, many of them coming in the late stages of Saturday's race. Points leader Andrew Ranger was involved in a crash that dropped him to 13th-place at the end of the Full Throttle 200.