Thursday February 9, 2017 was the penultimate event of the season. 23 Les Entreprises MP Roy Pro Late Model Drivers signed in for the CKF Construction 175. This was the longest race of the season so far. Would Tents of Champlain Points Leader Justin Fuller maintain his 1 point lead?
For the second straight week Fuller grabbed the NHR Pole Award and led the field to the green flag. Championship hopeful Nicklas Rasmussen would start outside of the front row and haunt the 51 machine’s mirror for the early portion of the race. Fuller was able to fend off many bids for the lead holding strong on the top side. The first yellow would come out after contact between the 5 of Shawn Cool and the 7 of Donny Lia. On the restart Fuller would hold off Rasmussen again but the battle was for third between the other half of the Championship quartet, Brandon Oddo and AJ Hamel. Oddo prevailed and began to pressure the top two with Hamel and Al Smith Jr watching closely. The next yellow flew when Cool clipped the apron, losing control and collecting #97 John Ada. It started to become clear that local driver, Florida’s own Stefan Marinak, would be a factor before the night was over. Marinak piloted the #25 from a provisional starting position into the top 5 following an aggressive 3-wide move up the middle on the ensuing restart. Al Smith Jr suffered a mechanical issue which brought out the 3rd caution of the night. The front runners would take the time to come in and put on 4 fresh tires and take a breath for the battle to the end. Justin MacDuff and Donny Lia played some strategy would lead the field back to the green. After one lap Marinak would take the lead from MacDuff pulling Fuller along with him. Rasmussen would move past the 51 of Fuller with 30 laps to go and try to chase down Marinak. The battle for third would be where the eyes were for the remainder of the race where Fuller, Oddo, Hamel, and Jason Stehney were battling for the last podium spot. When the field would get the 2 laps to go sign there was contact between Fuller and Oddo that would cause both the 24 and the 51 going for a spin. Stefan Marinak would pick up his second career win in dominating fashion, followed by Nicklas Rasmussen and Jason Stehney. AJ Hamel would finish fourth and rounding out the top five was AJ Bunch.
The points battle is tight as it ever could be after the CKF Construction 175. Nicklas Rasmussen is back on top by 4 points over the “Dark Knight” AJ Hamel. Justin Fuller is 8 points back from the leader and the last driver who is still mathematically in it is Brandon Oddo who is 4th. For a complete run down on the click her for the Tents of Champlain Points Standings
Jason Stehney clinched the Nein Shiza Autosport ROTY Honors with his third place finish. Nein Shiza Autosport will present the trophy on April 22nd at the URL Banquet. Nein Shiza Autosport will reward Stehney with 50 iRacing Credits.
Will Nicklas Rasmussen hold on and claim the championship? Will AJ Hamel be able to pull the upset? Or will Justin Fuller make an epic comeback and hoist the trophy for a 4th time? Be sure to tune in Thursday night at 9:30 on LSRtv for the exciting conclusion.
CKF Construction Results
CKF Construction 175 OFFICIAL RESULTS – 1)Stefan Marinak – Winner 2)Nicklas Rasmussen-0.369 3)Jason Stehney (R) -8.217 4)AJ Hamel-10.044 5)AJ Bunch-14.146 6)CJ LaVair-10.787 7)Rex Hoyle (R) -13.377 8)Alex Orians (R) -16.057 9) Donny Lia -19.013 10)Dan Dubuque -19.500 11)James McIntyre Jr (R) -20.000 12)Justin Fuller -20.500 13)Brian Rogers Jr -21.000 14)Brandon Oddo -21.500 15)Jay Dubuque -1 L 16)Al Smith Jr DNF 17)Mike Holtsclaw DNF 18)Justin MacDuff DNF 19)Cale Frennier DNF 20)Mike Fortier (R) DNF 21)Shawn Cool (R) DNF 22)John Ada DNF 23)Erik Haag Provisional