Almand's win at Barrie is his first-ever ALSTAR feature victory BARRIE, ON - On Saturday night at Barrie Speedway, Mike Almand won his first career Shouldice ALSTAR Late Model Series race. The Alton, ON youngster started eighth in the field...
Almand's win at Barrie is his first-ever ALSTAR feature victory
BARRIE, ON - On Saturday night at Barrie Speedway, Mike Almand won his first career Shouldice ALSTAR Late Model Series race. The Alton, ON youngster started eighth in the field of 19 and inherited the lead while running fourth just prior to the mid-way point of the 75-lap feature race.
Two of the top-three runners at the time including leader Richard Holmes and third-place Chris Morrow left on the hook as a result of a hard accident that was triggered by contact between Holmes and the second-running Jim Molenhuis. Race officials declared that Molenhuis was also 'involved' in the incident and he was sent to the back for the subsequent restart, thereby handing the race lead to Almand.
While the stoppage to clear the cars and debris from the race-altering accident was the sixth caution of the event, it was also the last. After restarting at the front of the field, Almand carved his way through traffic like a veteran and stretched out considerable leads over Kyle Donaldson and Robbie Thompson.
Eventually, however, Donaldson was able to whittle away virtually all of Almand's lead. In the end, Donaldson settled for second while Almand became the Shouldice ALSTAR Series' fourth different winner of 2005, in as many events.
"My spotter kept me calm. I thought I overdrove it a couple of times and they just told me to be smooth," said Almand, who cut his teeth in racing in the Jr. Late Model division at Sauble Speedway. "The guys do a heck of a job on this racecar; they work day and night."
Rookie Donaldson continued to impress en route to a runner-up finish in the ALSTAR tour's first visit to Barrie Speedway, since it was reconfigured last fall. "It's beyond my expectations," said Donaldson of his result. "I battled hard and stayed out of trouble and passed who I could to get to the front. It's a great night all around.
Derrick Tiemersma entered the event leading the ALSTAR points on the strength of three 'back to front' runs in the season's first three races. Starting deep at Barrie, the Newmarket, ON resident ran into trouble when he clipped the wall and unfortunately did not finish the race. Tiemersma's misfortune opened the door for reigning ALSTAR champ Robbie Thompson and Kirk Hooker to fill the void.
Thompson's third-place run at Barrie moved him into a tie with Hooker for the ALSTAR points lead following four events. Hooker finished fifth in the race, behind Rob MacDonnell. Heat wins at Barrie went to: Rob MacDonnell, Jim Molenhuis, Mike Almand and Jason Shaw.
The Shouldice ALSTAR Late Model Series returns to action next Saturday night, June 25, with a race at Peterborough Speedway.