ICE CHIPS XTRA . . . . GOLD CUP SERIES, RACE ...
ICE CHIPS XTRA . . . . GOLD CUP SERIES, RACE #2 by Debi Domby, Southgate, Michigan
The 100-lap second leg of the Royal Truck/Trailer, G-Tec Truck Equipment Gold Cup Series at Flat Rock Speedway Saturday night was won by Royce Cornett in his Varsity Ford/Carl's Hide-a-Way Thunderbird. A new track record of 11.471 was set by Rick Knowles on the newly resurfaced track.
The Royal Truck/Trailer, G-Tec Truck Equipment Gold Cup Series for SLM's consists of five races, three at Flat Rock and two at Toledo. Both tracks are run under the ARCA sanctioning banner.
Cornett started the race in fifth position and by halfway began challenging Paul Hahn for the lead. Cornett took to the high side on lap 55 and outpowered Hahn. Steve Bunge and Jerry Cook followed the new leader taking second and third. Hahn dropped to fourth while Allen drifted back to seventh. Cornett was never really challenged over the final 46 laps beating Bunge by five car lengths.
************************************************************************* ******************** Royce Cornett aboard his Varsity Ford/Carl Hide-a-Way Thunderbird, led 46 of the 100 laps taking home $230 in lap money. The win moves the Lambertville, Michigan driver into a tie with Bill Steinhilber for the Gold Cup points lead. "I was a little concerned about the track for the first 30-40 laps because it was just repaved on June 5. The second groove started coming in about then and the track was great. The track lost some of it's grip around the last 20 laps. We really needed this win. It's cool to run up front and even cooler to win," said a very excited Cornett after the race. "I'd really love to run at Toledo (next Gold Cup July 2) but I'm a short on dollars. My sponsorship money only covers my car at Flat Rock. Sure would love someone to sponsor me at Toledo."
Steve Bunge finished second despite a severely blistered right rear tire on his Allen Chevrolet/CandB Automotive/Auto Trim Design Camaro. The car in the latter laps of the race developed an extremely bad vibration. Steve remarked over the scanner to his crew that "the vibration was just about shaking his teeth out". The crew told me after the race that they hadn't yet discovered what was wrong with the right front that was causing the vibration.
Tonight's Gold Cup race may have been the turning point in Jerry Cook's nightmarish season. The AC Delco/Murray's Iceman Series veteran has dropped out of nearly every race entered this season with various problems. Tonight Cook white and blue #88 qualified 17th, but the car handled well in the feature. His Marco Pizza/UB Machining/Giles Auto Body Thunderbird ran side-by-side and nose to tail with the cars of Bill Steinhilber, Jimmy Thiel and Dennis Strickland for the last half of the race.
Bill Steinhilber's power steering belt came off with 25 laps to go. He manhandled the car out of a couple sticky situations when the car got extremely loose twice in turn 4. His Martin's Hardware/Brackett Auto Parts Camaro was so out of shape on lap 92 while battling Cook for third place, the nose of the red #67 was just about pointed to the infield. The South Lyon, Michigan driver said after the race, "Did you see that save!!! Well the whole idea is to keep driving no matter what happens. Right? I almost had Cook too. The only other problem is I had is was I didn't have an air vent in the car and it got a little hot in the car."
The Volcano Fireworks "Most Improved" award was given Jimmy Theil who started 21st and finished fifth. "Something wasn't right with steering, I don't know, maybe a broken or bent rack. I had the same problem all night long. I just drove my heart out all race long," said the driver of the Canton Tree and Cement Camaro.
The most breath holding pass was made by Dennis Strickland and Bill Steinhilber when the pair passed the lapped car of Dusty Whitney. Steinhilber took to the high groove while Strickland's Provide.Net/Strategy One Monte Carlo went to the grass to pass the rookie driver. Steinhilber came out ahead of Strickland in the maneuver but it was probably the most exciting pass of the entire 100 lap. Prior to qualifying Strickland said, "We probably won't be fast enough for the pole, but the car's going to handle really great in the feature."
Ron Allen led the first 46 laps, taking home $230 in lap money. Allen finished seventh in his SandJ Asphalt/LandM Packaging Monte Carlo after having to pit on lap 78 to change a deflating tire. The Lincoln Park, Michigan resident had a good weekend as he set a all time LM new track record at Toledo Speedway on Friday night with a 15.662. It eclipsed the mark of Fred Campbell's outlaw car (15.71) and the Iceman full-bodied car record of Matt Hutter (15.69).
Dusty Whitney won the consolation race. Also transferring were: Jay Rohrback, Jimmy Thiel, Eric Britt, Craig Pace and Len Fritz.
Other awards given out: Rick Knowles Trend Products Fast Time Award - $100; Hahn won the ½ way award of $100 and also took home $40 in lap money.
Ten cars dropped out before the end of the 100 lap race: **Stan Yee Jr's - left front suspension (lap 1) **Randy Cronenwett, in Paul Hahn's backup car, blown engine (lap eight) **Polesitter, Len Roberts - mechanical problems **Eric Britt - bent tie rod (lap 30) **Joe Hawes - broken front crank seal (lap 37) **Len Fritz - front end damage (lap 62) **Sean Monahan - throttle hung (lap 78) **Ed Hage - broken wheel (lap 79) **Dusty Whitney oil leak (lap 80) **Rob Randa - mechanical problems (lap 96)
GOLD CUP RACE #2 Royce Cornett, Steve Bunge, Jerry Cook, Bill Steinhilber, Jim Thiel, Dennis Strickland, Ron Allen, Rick Knowles, Craig Pace, Steve Cronewett, Jay Rohrback, Paul Hahn, Kevin McCarthy, Rob Randa, Tim Hebert, Dusty Whitney, Ed Hage, Sean Monahan, Len Fritz Jr., Joe Hawes, Eric Britt, Len Roberts, Randy Cronenwett, Stan Yee Jr CONSI (non transferring to feature) Robbie Loving, Bryan Nelson, John Rowloff, Paul Pelletier, Chris Benson, Mark Mayville, Dan Lippner