The main staple event of the Autumn Colors Classic, the marathon….I mean, the 114 lap Pro Late Model feature catches the appeal of fans each year. The event has been considered the clear crown jewel event of the weekend, with several drivers throwing their names into the ring in hopes of scoring the victory.
The interesting factor is the immediate thought for pro late model competition is speed. However, speed is only half of this puzzle. The other piece is survival. As hinted, this race turns into a marathon with past events featuring sevene to 10 cautions, at least. Each driver has to work at surviving the action, while having the speed to take the lead at the opportune time to win, or at least finish well. Part of that involves also saving equipment – namely tires – as if you drive the wheels off the car in the beginning laps, there won’t be anything left for you to use in the second half. The driver who can balance all this will be the one that celebrates at the end of the event.
The past two years, Mike Bentley has put the pieces together by putting himself out front early to stay out of trouble, but also balancing the technique of saving equipment to hold off all charges in the late stages. Bentley will look to score his third Autumn Colors Classic feature in a row in hopes that it’ll erase the sting of the frustration season that he has had. The 2013 Sunset Speedway Champion found himself involved in multiple incidents throughout the year, perhaps pushing himself and his equipment too hard to try and get the victory. Can he put it all in balance this weekend?
Jason Witty and Nick Goetz will throw their names into the Pro Late Model ring for the first time in their careers. The Limited Late Model pilots will both be pulling double duty this weekend in running both the 114 Pro late Model feature, and the 75 lap LLM feature.
Witty will run his own car in the LLM feature, while running the McColl Racing Enterprises House PLM in the 114. Witty has been real fast all year at Sunset Speedway in his ride, scoring multiple victories en route to a top-five finish in points. He also knows his way around Peterborough, running third in the closing laps of the LLM feature before going for a spin. As for the equipment, this car has previously been piloted by Mark Dilley to a seventh place finish in a Sunset Speedway PLM event. Kevin Cornelius also ran the car in the first OSCCAR Super Late Model feature of the season due to a blown motor in his primary ride, scoring an eighth place finish.
Goetz will be running his primary ride in the LLM feature, while running his back-up car for the Pro Late Model. By the way, the back-up car is for sale ;). Goetz has already set his weekend in motion, set to start on pole for the LLM feature after winning the Chase for the Colors. Goetz also had some strong moments this past year at Sunset Speedway, posting some solid finishes and leading some laps during the features. The back-up car is the car that he ran full-time last year and has been raced on two occasions this year by NASCAR Canadian Tire Series star Jason Hathaway. Hathaway has had success with the car, posting a heat victory at the Velocity 250.
2011 Autumn Colors Classic Champion Dan McHattie is hoping to score another victory in the classic event. The past two years haven’t gone as McHattie has hoped as he hasn’t finished inside of the top 10 either year. After having a solid year at Peterborough this year full-time, can he return to his previous glory?
Jamie Cox is looking for a good run after having a solid year this past season at Delaware Speedway and finishing seventh in the 2012 running of the event. Last year didn’t work out as planned, though, as Cox would meet the turn three wall. Another Delaware driver looking to run well is Mark Watson as he was able to pick up some big victories this year and would like to improve on last year’s seventh place finish. The previous years he had run stronger, finishing second in 2011 and sixth in 2012. Keeping in the Delaware Speedway theme, Matt Pritiko has also thrown his ring into the Pro Late Model 114 lap feature, looking top a runner-up finish in 2012.
2014 Peterborough Speedway Champion Ryan Kimball announced that he will be running double duty this weekend. Kimball will be running the Wally Jensen owned car in the LLM feature, while running Sean Groman’s car in the PLM feature. Grosman ran a pair of events this past season at Sunset Speedway, finishing seventh in the first run while missing the set-up slightly in the second feature to put himself behind the eightball at the beginning of the feature. Kimball has been working all week to get the car ready, looking to top the sixth place finishes that he posted in his own ride in 2012 and 2013.
After finding the wall last year in the PLM feature, Chris Mitchell returns this year to do double duty once again – LLM and PLM – in hopes to have a strong run. Mitchell has done well at the Autumn Colors Classic, scoring the victory in the 2011 Autumn Colors Classic LLM feature.
Bryan Mercer is hoping to have a good run, building on his third place finish from last season after scoring a feature victory at Peterborough this past year. Mercer also had a good run the previous year, finishing third, though didn’t do as well as in 2011 as he finished 13th.
With each trip to Peterborough Speedway, Kent Nuhn has continued to improve. He finished 13th in 2011, before finishing ninth last year. A top-five run this weekend would be huge.
After posting a fifth place finish in 2011, Marc Jacobs hasn’t been able to find a quick way around Peterborough en route to a strong finish. As he continues to build on his young career, perhaps this year is the season for him.