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Kevin Cornelius is crowned Don Biederman Memorial Champion at Sunset Speedway

After losing the Don Biederman Memorial Championship last year in a tie-breaker, Kevin Cornelius would come back stronger this year and score the feature victory on Sunday night at Sunset Speedway. The feature victory marks Cornelius’ second in the last three events and third straight top-two finish.


As a result of finishing second on Saturday night and winning on Sunday, the Shelburne native was crowned the 2014 Don Biederman Memorial Champion. Cornelius becomes the 10th different driver to win the race in the 16-year history.


The night started off with 2013 Don Biederman Memorial Champion and Saturday night’s feature winner Dwayne Baker edging out Glenn Watson to win the first qualifying race of the night. Andrew Gresel finished third, followed by Rob Poole, Jesse Kennedy, Dave Doucette, Tyler Hawn and Shane Gowan.


The second heat didn’t go smoothly as rookie Corey Jones would go for a spin on lap five after getting into the corner a little too hard. Jeff Hanley picked up the win ahead of Kelly Balson, Mike Beyore, Cornelius, Jones, Todd Campbell, Chris Burrows and Ethan Cournyea.


Come feature time, it’d be Dwayne Baker starting his No. 48 Zancor Custom Homes, B&B Towing, Nisco National Leasing, Clearview Heating & Cooling, Four Valleys Excavating, Baker Performance Parts and Knightworks Design SLM on pole ahead of Jeff Hanley, Glenn Watson, Kelly Balson, Andrew Gresel, Mike Beyore, Rob Poole, Kevin Cornelius, Jesse Kennedy, Corey Jones, Dave Doucette, Todd Campbell, Tyler Hawn, Chris Burrows, Shane Gowan and Ethan Cournyea.


Baker wouldn’t lead the first lap, though, as Jeff Hanley grabbed the advantage on lap one behind the wheel of his No. 70 Raylene Racing Inc and Carmen Auto Sales SLM. Baker would slip into second ahead of Balson while Watson and Beyore battled for fourth. Beyore would get the spot, though didn’t rest comfortably for long as Cornelius got alongside him, grabbing the fourth spot on lap four. Beyore would slip back to fifth, followed by Gresel, Watson, Poole, Jones and Kennedy. Cornelius would continue his climb to the front, passing Balson for third on lap six while Watson and Poole battled for seventh. Cornelius’ next pass came on lap 13, as he passed Baker to move into second. Watson and Poole kept their battle going for a number of laps, with Poole grabbing the advantage on lap 18 ahead of Watson, Kennedy and Doucette. Unfortunately, Todd Campbell saw his night come to an end at lap 24 as he headed down pit road under green.


The leaders would mostly run single-file, logging laps in the books till the first caution flew at lap 26 for Cournyea spinning Doucette in their battle for 10th. With 24 laps to go, Hanley would lead Cornelius, Baker, Balson, Gresel, Beyore, Poole, Kennedy, Hawn, Cournyea, Watson, Jones and Doucette.


Photo Credit; Ashley McCubbin
Photo Credit; Ashley McCubbin

Hanley would choose the outside lane for the restart, and it wouldn’t pan out well as Cornelius grabbed the advantage heading into turn one, however the caution flew once again for Doucette and Cournyea spinning in turns one and two.


The second attempt at a restart would see Cournelius take the lead heading into turn one once again behind the wheel of his No. 17 Halton Crushed Stone, Lee Sand & Gravel, Sandbox Tech Child Care, TripleCrete Ltd., Hanson Pipe & Precast, Alliston Transmission, Ed’s Automotive and MacMaster Pontiac Buick GMC SLM ahead of Hanley, Baker, Gresel, Balson, Beyore, Poole and Kennedy while Hawn and Watson battled for ninth. Three-time Sunset Speedway Thunder Car Champion Poole would get underneath Beyore for sixth at lap 30, clearing him a couple laps later while Watson cleared Hawn for ninth. With adjustments made underneath the yellow, Watson would get alongside Kennedy for eighth with two to go, though wouldn’t have enough to clear.


At the front of the field, though, it was all Kevin Cornelius as he held serve till the checkered flag to score the feature victory. Jeff Hanley finished second, followed by Dwayne Baker, Andrew Gresel, Kelly Balson, Rob Poole, Mike Beyore, Jesse Kennedy, Glenn Watson, Tyler Hawn and Dave Doucette.

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