NEWS: Andrew Gresel Wins Second Straight Gold Rush 100 at Flamboro Speedway

Tuesday - August - 2017
Andrew Gresel celebrates his Gold Rush 100 victory for the second year in a row at Flamboro Speedway. (Photo by Derek Smith).

 

Indiana’s Tyler Roahrig Falls Just Short of $10,000 Payday

 

By Clayton Johns

MILLGROVE, ON – August 21, 2017 – Andrew Gresel powered around the outside of Pete Shepherd III off a lap 20 restart and then dominated the final 80 laps to score a $5,000 payday in for the second straight year in the Outlaw Super Late Model Gold Rush 100 at Flamboro Speedway on Monday night.

“Two years in a row to be able to win this race down here is phenomenal,” said Gresel, a Sauble Beach, Ont. native and former OSCAAR Super Late Model champion. “The car was really good tonight and it held on pretty much the whole 100 laps. Near the end it got a little bit tight, but otherwise we were really good. I was really happy with it.”

Fast qualifier Tyler Roahrig of Plymouth, Ind. took the Gold Rush Challenge and surrendered his pole starting spot to start at the rear for a chance at a bonus $5,000 if he could score the win from the 21st and final starting position. It put Pete Shepherd III on the front row with four-time OSCAAR champion Glenn Watson.

Watson led the opening 17 laps until Shepherd grabbed hold of an opening in slower traffic and took the lead in turn one on lap 18. The third-starting Gresel jumped at the opportunity as well and took second from Watson. Two laps later, Derrick Tiemersma spun in turn three after locking up the brakes to avoid contact with an errant lapped car.

It was on the ensuing restart that Gresel took the point position from Shepherd. Two more cautions followed over the next four laps when John Cadman Jr. went up in smoke on lap 22 before Adrian Foster spun in turn one on lap 24. The field took a scheduled fuel stop at that time.

The top-five cars remained nose-to-tail in tight formation when the race resumed. On lap 26, Roahrig made his way into the top-five when he got past Paul Howse. As the run continued, Gresel and Shepherd pulled away until a yellow flag erased the advantage on lap 40. At that point, Gresel had felt how much stronger his car was in clean air during the 20-lap run compared with the first 20-lap running behind Watson and Shepherd.

“It was like night and day,” Gresel said of the difference between clean and dirty air. “I was basically following those guys off the corner and they were coming up so high they were missing the wall by a half or quarter of an inch and a lot of the time I was hitting in it. I think I hit it about three times, so that wasn’t working out for us at all.”

Gresel held off Shepherd’s challenge on a lap 40 restart and was able to consistently distance himself from the third-generation Shepherd from that point on. While lapped traffic was dicey in the first half of the race, a 46-lap green flag run allowed the field to spread out and made it easier for Gresel to work passed the slower cars.

The top-five remained relatively stagnant as the race reached the quarter-pole, but changed suddenly on lap 86 when Shepherd went sparking into turn three with a flat right-front tire among other problems after contact with Tiemersma, who was a lap down. At that point, Shepherd was one of just five cars on the lead lap, but could not continue.

“I wasn’t too worried about it, but I didn’t want to see it,” Gresel said of the final caution that erased a full straightaway lead. “I had a pretty consistent pace going there and I didn’t want to break that. I really didn’t want to see it. I knew the car was still good and we had lots of car left, but I didn’t know what the guys behind me had either.”

Following the final restart of the night, Glenn Watson shoved up the track in turn one, allowing his nephew Brandon Watson to race into second while Roahrig followed closely behind to claim third. After the multi-lap side-by-side battle for second, Gresel had opened nearly a straightaway lead and was beyond reach for the remaining contenders.

Brandon Watson held off Roahrig for second while Glenn Watson and Tyler Hawn completed the top-five.

Roahrig’s Rally

Roahrig’s drive to the front of the field during the first 40 laps was as entertaining as the tooth-and-nail battle for the top-three positions up front. However, the chase of getting to the front likely prevented him from challenging for the win, he said.

“The first 40 laps it was really good,” Roahrig said. “I obviously had to drive really hard to get it up front and maybe I wore the tires out a little bit more than I should have. I kind of lost all grip. I don’t know. I had to pass a lot more cars than the rest of the guys.”

“By the time I got to the front, I don’t know if they were a lot faster than me – maybe the 81 car was – but I was kind of out of tire and we were all about the same speed by that point. Overall, it was a good race. I’m pretty happy to come and happy that Flamboro put a big race on for us.”

While he would have preferred the win, Roahrig was satisfied with his decision to take the Gold Rush challenge and to have been part of the spectacle while taking home $3,500 CAD for his third-place effort.

“That’s what we came here for,” Roahrig said post-race. “We thought it would we doable and I think it is possible. You have to have a really good car and need the breaks to go your way. It’s $10-grand and that’s something you can’t pass up. I still got $3500 for third. If I wouldn’t have taken the tail and could have stayed up front, I would have had $1500 more, but I don’t regret it. I did it because everybody wanted me to and to try and put a show on.”

Roahrig also said he will stay on this side of the border for the rest of the week before heading to Jukasa Motor Speedway’s debut event on Saturday August 26 and Sunday August 27. The rare chance to travel north of the border and outside of the Michigan-Indiana area is something Roahrig hopes can happen on a more regular basis.

“It is really cool. I would like to see more of it happen,” Roahrig stated passionately. “The rules are a little different between the States and Canada. I’d like to see maybe Canada get on US rules or vice versa. I’d like to see more Canadian cars come to the States and more States cars come up here. It would be better for everybody.”

Roahrig’s fast time of 14.242 seconds in time trials eclipsed Brandon Watson’s 2016 Gold Rush 100 fast time of 14.712 by a sizable 0.470 seconds.

Gold Rush 100 Results (100 Laps): 1. 81 Andrew Gresel – Sauble Beach, ON (3); 2. 9 Brandon Watson – Stayner, ON (4); 3. 16 Tyler Roahrig – Plymouth, IN (21); 4. 22 Glenn Watson – Barrie, ON (2); 5. 2 Tyler Hawn – Oro Station, ON (6); 6. 48 Dwayne Baker – Stayner, ON (15); 7. 44 Paul Pelletier – New Boston, MI (16); 8. DNF 7 Derrick Tiemersma – Pefferlaw, ON (9); 9. DNF 4 Pete Shepherd III – London, ON (1); 10. DNF 21 Matt Pritiko – London, ON (8); 11. DNF 27 Roy Passer – Lefroy, ON (17); 12. DNF 04 Trevor Monaghan – Hamilton, ON (20); 13. DNF B10 Shawn Chenoweth – Plattsville, ON (7); 14. DNF 8 Paul Howse – Hillsburgh, ON (13); 15. DNF 26 Terry Baker – Hamilton, ON (11); 16. DNF 63 Jim Bowman – Fergus, ON (14); 17. DNF X Adrian Foster – Newmarket, ON (18); 18. DNF 71 John Cadman Jr. – Smithville, ON (5); 19. DNF 52 Gary Passer – Innisfil, ON (12); 20. DNF 45 George Rangel – Columbus, MI (19); 21. DNF 07 Todd Campbell – Guelph, ON (10)

Fast Qualifier: 16 Tyler Roahrig – 14.242 seconds
Freedom Village of Canada Halfway Leader ($1000): 81 Andrew Gresel