Mike Bentley goes back-to-back in Autumn Colours Pro Late Model Feature
For the second straight year, Mike Bentley would score the victory in the Autumn Colours Pro Late Model 113 lap feature behind the wheel of his No. 51 Lattitude Land Effects Late Model.
After winning both of his qualifying heats, Bentley started pole ahead of Andy Kamarath, Dan McHattie, Mark Watson, Gary Elliott, Ryan Kimball, Bryan Mercer, Mat Box, Mike Wallace, Dale Shaw, Jason Shaw, Shawn Chenoweth, Jamie Cox, Chris Mitchell, the 96, the 98, Adam Quarrie, Chris Ferguson, the 82x, Brent Wheeler, Gord Shepherd and Bruce Rankin.
The action started right away on the first lap as Kimball would get spun by Mercer, collecting Wallace. Under caution, Wallace, Ferguson, Elliott, Mercer and Kimball headed down pit road.
Once the race went back green, Bentley was able to open up a lead ahead of Kamrath, McHattie and Watson while Jason Shaw had moved up to fifth by lap 11. Chenoweth ran sixth followed by Cox, Dale Shaw, Box, Mitchell, Shepherd and Mercer. By lap 21, the top six remained the same while Dale Shaw had worked his way by Cox for seventh. Mitchell ran ninth followed by Shepherd, Mercer, Box and Kimball. Bentley would continue to extend his lead over the next 10 laps while McHattie was able to slip by Kamrath to move up to the second spot. Watson continued to run fourth with Chenoweth up to fifth followed by Dale Shaw, Jason Shaw, Watson, Mitchell, Mercer, Shepherd, Box and Kimball.
The second caution would fly on lap 33 for Wheeler spinning on the front stretch. Box and Ferguson would head down pit road under the yellow flag. With 80 laps to go, Bentley led McHattie, Kamrath, Watson, Dale Shaw, Chenoweth, Jason Shaw, Watson, Mercer, the 98, Mitchell, Shepherd, Kimball, Wallace, Elliott, the 82x, Quarrie and Box. Rankin ran as the first car a lap down followed by Wheeler and the 96.
The first restart would be a no go as McHattie jumped.
The second restart brought forth the third caution as Mitchell drove Cox up on the wall. Both drivers were okay, but there was a red flag to get Cox off the wall and move the wall back into place. Once back under yellow flag conditions, Shepherd, Quarrie and the 82x headed down pit road.
On the third attempt at a restart, there’d be no problems but the fourth caution came shortly after on lap 38 for Mercer spinning Chenoweth. Mercer would come down pit road with a flat right front tire. He’d be joined on pit road by Chenoweth and Kimball. It certainly wasn’t Chenoweth’s day as he would be spun again, this time on lap 46 by Elliott. Under caution, McHattie gave up the second spot to pit. He was joined on pit road by Shepherd and the 96. With 67 laps to go, Bentley led Kamrath, Watson, Dale Shaw, Jason Shaw, Box, Wallace, the 98, Justin Demelo, Mitchell, Quarrie, Kimball, Mercer, Chenoweth, McHattie, Shepherd, Wheeler, Rankin and the 96.
At the halfway mark at lap 57, the top five remained the same while Wallace had slipped by Box for sixth. McHattie had made his way back up to eighth followed by Mercer, Demelo, the 98, Shepherd and Kimball. Chenoweth would end off his day by being the cause of the sixth caution as he went for a spin by himself. He’d park the car and be done for the day. Under the caution, Watson and the 96 headed down pit road. With 51 laps to go, Bentley led Kamrath, Dale Shaw, Jason Shaw, Wallace, McHattie, Box, the 98, Shepherd, Kimball, Quarrie, Mitchell, Mercer, Rankin and the Wheeler.
The cautions would start to stack up as the seventh caution flew two laps later for Quarrie and Mercer going around. Demelo and the 98 used this opportunity to pit. The eighth caution flew a lap later on lap 65 for Dale Shaw having a flat tire. He’d head down pit road to change it. With 48 laps to go, Bentley led Kamrath, Jason Shaw, Wallace, McHattie, Box, Shepherd, Kimball, Mitchell, Mercer, Demelo, Quarrie, the 98, Dale Shaw, Wheeler, Rankin and Elliott.
On the restart, Bentley once again escaped the field ahead of Kamrath while McHattie was able to move up to third ahead of Jason Shaw and Wallace. Box held down the sixth spot ahead of Mercer, Kimball, Mitchell, Shepherd, Quarrie, the 98, Watson and Demelo.
The ninth caution would fly at lap 83 for Box spinning in turn four. Under the yellow, Watson would head down pit road with Demelo, Elliott and Box. With 30 laps to go, Bentley led Kamrath, Jason Shaw, McHattie, Wallace, Mercer, Kimball, Shepherd, Quarrie, the 98, Dale Shaw, Mitchell, Demelo, Box, Watson and Wheeler.
They’d get four more laps in before the 10th caution for Demelo spinning. Watson came back down pit road once again. The restart brought forth the 11th caution when Mercer would take Kamrath out in turn four, sending Kamrath up into the wall. The incident also collected Quarrie, Mitchell and McHattie. Kamrath would be done for the event while the others would continue.
The cautions kept coming as the 12th caution flew at lap 88 for Mitchell having problems and being done for the event. It was a trying weekend for Mitchell as besides the incident earlier in the race, he climbed the wall during qualifying. With 25 laps to go, Bentley led Mercer, Jason Shaw, Kimball, Wallace, Shepherd, Dale Shaw, Box, Watson, Demelo, the 98, Quarrie, McHattie, Wheeler, Rankin and Elliott.
Caution laps would begin to be counted due to the race going beyond its extended the distance so the restart would come actually with 20 laps to go. Bentley used it to his advantage as he extended his lead once again while Jason Shaw was able to slip by Mercer by lap 104. Dale Shaw moved his way up to fourth ahead of Wallace, Kimball, Watson, Demelo, Box, the 98 and Quarrie.
In the final laps, Jason Shaw was able to close the gap between himself and Bentley, however wasn’t able to get by. Mike Bentley would hold on to take the win for his second straight Pro Late Model feature win ahead of Jason Shaw. Bryan Mercer finished third followed by Dale Shaw and Mike Wallace. Ryan Kimball finished sixth followed by Mark Watson, Gord Shepherd, Adam Quarrie and Mat Box. Justin Demelo finished 11th followed by the 98.