WEST: Vanderwyst Calgary preview

CALGARY, AB - This weekend's CASCAR Castrol Super Series National event, at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park, will mark an anniversary, of sorts, for Pete Vanderwyst and the ...

CALGARY, AB - This weekend's CASCAR Castrol Super Series National event, at Calgary's Race City Motorsport Park, will mark an anniversary, of sorts, for Pete Vanderwyst and the #77 Loctite team. It was in last year's 300 lap National Series opener that the St. Thomas, ON racer captured his first career Super Series feature win. It was the highlight, so far, of his racing career. Vanderwyst's late-race pass for victory on the high-banked, half-mile oval was one of the most exciting and memorable in CASCAR history. Of course, Vanderwyst is hoping to get a chance to do another celebratory cartwheel down the front-straight at Calgary, following this Sunday's Mopar Parts 300. "We're going to do our best to defend that race. That was such a big thrill last year," said Vanderwyst, moments after the conclusion of this year's first National event, in Edmonton. 'Max' [his oval car] is all ready to go. We'll do some preventative maintenance on the car before things get going and make sure it's ready to rock. We'll also work on 'Ruby' [the team's road racing car] while we're here, too, to get it ready for the Mosport road course race." "I'm really comfortable with the Race City track and I think we know what it takes to get things done down there. We were hoping to be stronger in the National points after Edmonton - especially after winning our heat on Saturday - but it's just one of them deals," lamented last year's Eastern points runner-up after failing to finish the Edmonton road course race, due to mechanical troubles. Pole qualifying and heat races for the Mopar 300 take place Friday evening, with the 300-lap feature race slated for Sunday afternoon (July 30).

Vanderwyst 27th in Edmonton The weekend in Edmonton started extremely well for Pete Vanderwyst. Friday afternoon's first qualifying session saw the #77 Loctite car post the second-quickest time (to Sunday's eventual race winner Kevin Dowler) in the half-hour qualifying session, which locked him onto the outside of the front row for Sunday's (July 23) 86-lap road course feature. Saturday's timed sprint race went just as well as the Loctite Chevy started on the pole for the 20-lap chase and led every lap en route to the checkered flag. "It feels really good. We lost the clutch with about 10 laps to go, so I was just poking the car in gear and losing a bit of time trying to upshift without it," said Vanderwyst of his win. "I always downshift without it. I only get into fourth a couple of times; down the front straight and after the chicane. We had a great day in qualifying and stuck it on the outside pole. We're locked in that spot for the big race on Sunday. Winning this qualifying heat is a great opportunity for us to test the car and make it better for the longer runs. We're right there with the top road racing guys like [Peter] Gibbons, Dowler and [Don] Thomson. I was pretty happy with how the car was handling right from the start." But Sunday was another story. A mechanical problem just prior to the halfway point of the race knocked Vanderwyst out of the hunt. He completed just 40 of 86 laps and was scored 27th in the final ranking. But there were several highlights before the curtain came down on his Edmonton outing. "We had a good car. We did our pit stop and things were going well. We were running 14th - right behind [Kevin] Dowler. We got the bonus points for leading the race and we posted the fastest lap of the entire race. "After leading, we backed off to save the tires and just wanted to run around. There was a caution and the darn window net fell down. We had to come in to fix it and then went back out. We got down to the end of the long straightway - made the turn into turn 2 - and went to pick up the gas and something broke. The left-rear trailing arm pulled right out of the 'heim' [joint] and we got into the curbs and tore some things up, which finished us off.

"It's too bad because the Loctite car was comfortable and I could put it where I wanted. It's disappointing when days that start out so well end like this. The guys work so hard for something to happen, but it's just dumb luck. The best prepared teams can't even find some things that are about to go wrong with their cars. You can't afford to wait for something to break. You have to start replacing things after a couple of races and that's the only way to prevent some of these things. Even if it looks great, those are the type of things that bite you."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Canada
Drivers Kevin Dowler , Pete Vanderwyst