Toledo Speedway race notes 2004-09-26

Steve Sauve won his third consecutive Glass City 200 race at Toledo Speedway Sunday afternoon. Today's win ties the Saginaw, Mich., driver with Bob Senneker for the most wins in the seasoning ending event, but Sauve is the only driver to win three...

Steve Sauve won his third consecutive Glass City 200 race at Toledo Speedway Sunday afternoon. Today's win ties the Saginaw, Mich., driver with Bob Senneker for the most wins in the seasoning ending event, but Sauve is the only driver to win three consecutive races. "I didn't believe that this could happen. Three in a row. There was such a good quality of cars here this year and wasn't sure I could win this year. I wasn't good in hot laps, or qualifying but wow, the second half of the race, the car took off. The odds were stacked against us, starting 14th. Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Bob Senneker is an honor," said the driver from Saginaw, Mich. Sauve's 14th place start is the farthest back anyone has started since the race resumed in 1999 ... he started on the pole for his first win and third last year. Sauve's #97 is sponsored by Helm Electric, Proformance Perf. Products and Jack Tree Service.

Jack Landis finished a career high Glass City 200, second ... it was also his highest career finish at Toledo. The Bryan, Ohio, resident qualified eighth and hung around the top 10 most of the race. "I had no idea I'd be in position to win, I just survived out there. We decided to just ride around during the first 100 laps and not do anything stupid and race in the second half, so I gave up a little bit. I hadn't been here in a while (April 2003), so I had to relearn the racing line. I didn't have anything for Steve (Sauve) so I'm happy to finish second." Landis is the 2004 SuperPro Series points leader (champion, I don't know if the series has finished it series). His #10 car is sponsored by Manufacturing Housing Enterprises.

For long time fans, seeing the winner of the 1999 Glass City Tim Felver, in anything but the #5 Zent owned car is unusual. He has switched teams and finished third in a car owned by Tim Curry. "We had a rough race. The race didn't start very well. During the warm-up lap, we knocked the front end out a little. Then I thought we'd go a lap down there, and got saved by a caution. Next came the rear end leak. Tim (Curry) gave me a good car, I'm real proud of the team and how hard they worked," said the driver from Owosso, Mich., whose car is sponsored by Finish Line Fabricating and Parr Trucking.

And what happened to Tim's old ride. It is now driven by veteran driver John Doering Jr. In Doering's 29-year race career he had never been to Toledo Speedway, other than a couple of practices. He hadn't even sat in the grandstands to watch a race. Doering won the first qualifying race last night and started 21st for the 200 lap race. He steadily moved his way to the front and in the end finished fourth. "Great race, great car! I took my time coming towards the front. I got a little loose at the end, so I gave Tim (Felver) the lane," said the driver of the Flint Auto Auction, Superiod Cadillac GMC from Clio, Mich.

2004 Gold Cup Champion, Dennis Strickland, had to take a provisional to get into the race. The Carleton, Mich., driver started 31 and moved up 23 positions to finish fifth, giving him the Burge Wrecking Move Up Award. "I thought we had a top 10 car but to get a top 5, wow! We're down on motor to some of these top cars so all the money we won will go into the motor for next season and hopefully we can run the top group then," said Strickland, who also won the 2004 combined late model championship between sister tracks Flat Rock and Toledo. Strickland was in his own car rather than the #06 Canton Tree sponsored car (which Ronnie Allen was in) that Dennis drove all year at Toledo.

Sixth place went to Harold Fair Jr, who led the most laps during the course of the event, 100. "I held on at the end, I didn't have anything left. Up until the last portion of the race we had a good car. I think this is the first time I've ever finished a 200 lapper here." said the Canton, Mich., driver sponsored by the Royal Truck and Trailer.

NOTE: Harold has finished the 200, two years ago he finished 10th, two laps down. Today's race is the first Glass City he's finished on the lead lap. The last car on the lead lap was Ron Allen. Allen was racing the car driven all season by Strickland at Toledo.

Some drivers were making their first starts of the year, Mike Demars and Chuck Roumell. Demars finished 12th and Roumell dropped out on lap 55 and finished 23rd.

Bobby Parsley, a Sunoco Series regular, decided to skip that series race in Rockford, Ill., this weekend and run the Gold Cup Race. His weekend started out well, qualifying seventh, but his race ended with mechanical problems on lap 86 while running sixth, finishing 20th.

Parsley, from Sheperdsville, Ky., traveled about five and half hours to get to the Toledo, but he didn't drive the greatest distance. That distinction belongs to Jerry Artuso. Jerry, from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, drove over hours, about 400 miles to get to Toledo (and that's just from the International Bridge, not from his home). The Canadian driver trip was not what he was hoping for. He had to run the first qualifying feature and apparently got loose out of turn two of the first lap and spun. He was hit by several cars and T-boned by Gene Molnar. The car was reported to been hit on every corner and the track's welder said that the car's front clip was wrapped over the engine, with center section damage also. Molnar's car suffered front clip damage. Also involved was Shawn Gray who hit the wall trying to avoid Artuso's car and Jeff Bailey. Bailey was the only one that was able to fix his car and return Sunday to run the B main. All drivers were okay.

Don St. Denis had the fast qualifying time and as he completed his second qualifying lap, his engine blew. The team loaded the car and took off for home, LaSalle, Ontario, a couple hours from the track. They weren't going home just to install a new engine, but to build a new one. The team worked all night and finished the engine about 7 a.m. They installed it in the car and started the engine at 8:30 a.m. to make sure all was fine.

They were back on the road at 9 a.m. and arrived at the track at 10:30 a.m, with no one on the crew getting any sleep. The track allowed St. Denis to retain his 10th place starting position, as long as the car past the technical inspection, which it did. By lap 50 he was in second and caught leader, Harold Fair Jr, about lap 70. The pair waged a terrific battle for 30 laps until the halfway point. On 117 a tire blew out and although St. Denis was able to continue he never was a factor again, dropping out on lap 157.

Polesitter Dave Kuhlman didn't have a good race. The team said this was the first time all season he had the pole, but it wasn't lucky for the Howell, Mich., driver. He led the first eight laps of the race, but dropped off pace and coasted into the pits. They tried various cures from the fuel pickup to electrical problems, but nothing seemed to work so they finally pulled the car behind the wall the called it a day. He finished 31st, the first car out of the event.

Four provisionals were given for the race. Dennis Strickland (Gold Cup Champion), Joe Hawes (Toledo Champion), Eric Lee (Flat Rock Champion) and Chris Benson (highest in Gold Cup points that didn't make the race). Lee blew his engine in practice and was in Kent Brewer's car for the event. Jamie Gritter was the recipient of the first Lucky Dog draw award. All the drivers that didn't make the 200 after the qualifying races put their names in a pot and Jamie was the driver picked at random to start the 200. He did pretty well, finishing 12th and moved up 19 positions. Claude Plante Jr took over the ride formerly driven by Bob Mikolajczyk. Plante Jr dropped out on lap 54 and finished 24th.

Mikolajczyk brought out his "yellow" car from last year, painted it black and changed the number to 19, rather than the 17 he's been for quite a while now. The 19 is his original car number. He was involved in the Artuso wreck during the qualifying race, took the car home, replaced the rear quarter panels and decklid and was back for the B main on Sunday. He finished sixth in the B main.

Steve Peters win in the B main was his first career feature win in any division. He led the entire 30 lap event and took home $1,000. "Yesterday I told my crew I'd rather start last in the 200 than win the B main ... I think I've changed my mind about that now. The 200 is a tough feature to make, the best 31 cars in the region are in it. But the B main was tough too. I'd like to thank my crew, family and everyone for their support," said the Dundee, Mich., driver

Jim Froling was also going for his first career SLM win, but came up one short, but it wasn't for lack of trying. He must've tried every possible move to get around Peters, but to no avail. "I just couldn't get by Steve (Peters). Wish we could've been in the top 31, but we'll work on that over the winter and hopefully be able to move up next season," said Froling from West Bloomfield, Mich.

Rob Randa was back at Toledo for the first time in several years and finished third. "This was a rough weekend for us. It's been a while since I've been here. We had a time of it getting the car working," said the Marine City, Mich., resident.

-ts-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jeff Bailey , Shawn Gray