Wednesday Can-Am Late Models: Wagner Holds off all Challenges at Martinsville
Decent turnout of 11 cars for our mid-season race at the legendary paper-clip of Martinsville!
Lots of cars were running extremely close times in Practice, but it would be Brandon Smith putting the PPi Toyota on point for his first-career circle track pole. The front of the field was extremely close, the top 4 separated by only .080 seconds!
Things would get off to a rocky start as teammates Smith and Rich Coffey would go side-by-side into Turn 1, and make heavy contact, Coffey up on two wheels and suddenly up into the wall, falling to the back. No caution was called and Cameron Wagner would slip by for the lead in the Fibbar Magee Chevy.
John Culbert, Jr. would get up alongside Smith as he recovered, and the two would put on the best race of the night, running side-by-side, which is extremely difficult at a single-groove track like Martinsville–especially for 8 or 9 laps! Culbert would finally clear Smith thanks to the preferred line exiting Turn 4. Defending Martinsville winner Michel Sauve would make it by him as well a few laps later.
This would settle in the top 3, with Wagner now enjoying a dominant 3 second lead, and Culbert ahead of Sauve’s Mopar Dodge by about a second. Culbert clearly had the setup for the long haul however, and over the course of the next 40 or so laps, he would hunt down Wagner, eventually cutting the lead down to just over a second. His plan went out the window as the caution finally flew, allowing the field to close up, this time with Rich Coffey in 3rd spot as Sauve was forced to pit for short fuel.
The restart would be the dramatic game changer, as Culbert briefly got up alongside Wagner through Turn 1 on the second green lap, only to fall back slightly, and Rich Coffey would get a run on the inside, but pinch down on the Hawk Performance Chevy, knocking him into the curb and spinning him out, sending him to the back of the field.
It would take two more restarts to settle it, with Wagner getting the jump every time, and Coffey suffering a spin with Rudy Kuhl and falling to the back to join Culbert. Wagner would take a dominant win, with Sherman Baumann climbing to second. On the final restart, an altercation with Jonathan Hill and the lapped car of Michel Sauve would come to a head at Turn 3, Brandon Smith and Hill making contact, with Hill actually taking the benefit to round out the podium, his first of the season and well-earned from the back of the field. Culbert would round out the top 5.
With Culbert and Coffey faltering slightly, Wagner and Baumann make the move up in points but the top 4 still remain close as we head to Wisconsin!
Pole Position (1pt): Brandon Smith (00:20.669)
Fast Lap (1pt): John Culbert, Jr. (00:20.659)
1. #39 Cameron Wagner (Fibbar Magee)
2. #36 Sherman Baumann (hillclimb.org)
3. #40 Jonathan Hill (Chevrolet)
4. #900 Brandon Smith (Reed’s Ginger Brew)
5. #66 John Culbert, Jr. (NAPA Auto Parts)
6. #30 Rich Coffey (Reed’s Ginger Brew)
7. #26 Tom Lory (Reed’s Ginger Brew)
8. #27 Michel Sauve (Mopar) (DNF)
9. #48 Dave Carlton (Skyy Vodka)
10. #56 Rudy Kuhl (Foxco) (DNF)
11. #09 Mike Campbell (DMR) (DNF)
Provisionals (20 pts)
#67 Glenn Corliss (Gosling’s Black Seal) (DNS)
Can-Am Late Model Championship Standings as of Round 8
1. Sherman Baumann 1438pts
2. Rich Coffey 1422pts
3. Cameron Wagner 1417pts
4. John Culbert, Jr. 1377pts
5. Brandon Smith 1186pts
6. Dave Carlton 972pts
7. Glenn Corliss 947pts
8. Jonathan Hill 943pts
9. Tom Lory 645pts
10. Robb McDonough 430pts
11. Brian Potvin 364pts
12. Rudy Kuhl 247pts
13. Cale Marklein 222pts
14. Mike Campbell 202pts
15. Tim Miller 192pts
16. Alex Bates 124pts
17. Michel Sauve 90pts