Vanderwyst 17th after cut tire ends hopes for victory. PETERBOROUGH, ON - Pete Vanderwyst's Exide Batteries Pontiac was one of the best cars in the field at Peterborough Speedway, on Sunday afternoon. After qualifying and the race were rained...
Vanderwyst 17th after cut tire ends hopes for victory.
PETERBOROUGH, ON - Pete Vanderwyst's Exide Batteries Pontiac was one of the best cars in the field at Peterborough Speedway, on Sunday afternoon. After qualifying and the race were rained out, the night before, the CASCAR Super Series racers were lined up on Sunday based on their positions in the point standings, following the season's first race, at Delaware.
That placed Vanderwyst - who was second in points - on the outside of the front row for the 200-lap marathon at the high-banked, 1/3-mile Peterborough oval. For the first 37 laps, Vanderwyst looked strong, running second behind polesitter Robbie Thompson. But seconds later, Vanderwyst ran through oil and spun, causing him to go to the back of the 29-car pack.
Passing at Peterborough is particularly difficult, but that's exactly what Vanderwyst did. By lap 117, the St. Thomas, ON resident had clawed his way back to 10th. With 50 laps to go, the Exide Pontiac was running seventh, but that's as high as it would recover.
Before the race, Vanderwyst discussed what he dreaded most about racing at Peterborough; flat tires. And within a few dozen laps of posting his second top finish in as many weeks, his worst fears were realized.
"Same old deal... a flat tire under green," lamented Vanderwyst, after the race. "This time, it was the right-front. It picked up a stone and it worked its way in and cut 'er down. Last week [at Delaware] we had luck on our side, but this week it bit us."
By the time he returned to action, after stopping for a new tire, Vanderwyst had lost two laps on the leaders and soldiered on for a 17th-place result. Combined with his runner-up finish at Delaware, Vanderwyst is a respectable fifth in the CASCAR Super Series points chase, after two outings.
"I really think we had the car to beat today. At least, we had a top five in the bag. We just need to put the finishing touches on one of these things. You work all week trying to prepare for everything, but things happen. Racing is one humbling game, I'll tell you that."
Describing his early-race adventures, Vanderwyst recalled, "Robbie [Thompson] and I were able to pretty much check out on everybody. But then somebody broke something and dumped fluid on the track. DJ [Kennington] got into the back end of me and threw me around. We ended up at the back of the field.
"We came back through, but when you do that, you're playing with fire. When you run up front, there's so much less chance of things happening. You just try to stay ahead on the leader. We were doing that and making it through traffic OK. The guys did a great job spotting for us and the pit calls worked out. But it's a game of luck."
Looking at the bright side, Vanderwyst admits he's encouraged by the performance of his car and team in the first two events, even if the Peterborough result was discouraging. "It's not like we're not fast. We've got our program to where we know we're a contender again, week in, week out. And that's a tribute to all the work the guys did over the winter, getting our stuff ready."
NEXT RACE: The Exide Pontiac will be back in action this Saturday night (June 1) at Montreal's Autodrome St-Eustache. According to Vanderwyst, the flat, 4/10-mile asphalt oval is one of his favourites. He's been quick there in the past and is looking forward to coming home with a top finish. "I've always done well there. We've won there [Sportsman races] and have led a lot of Super Series laps. We've always qualified very well there, too. I've been leading that race with 20 laps to go and have had flats. Last year, we were running third when the oil cooler line broke."