PORT HARDY — Brock Shore didn’t get to the checkered flag first. But he got there the most often, and that was enough to deliver the Port Hardy stock car driver the 2011 Dirt Bowl championship Sunday night at Tri-Port Speedway.
“This is the first time I ever won anything,” said Shore, a second-year driver who seemed slightly stunned after being awarded the Dirt Bowl trophy, a cash prize and a case of motor oil.
Shore finished with a 110-point total, just two points ahead of runner-up Daniel Hovey in the two-day, eight race points series. But the key was that Shore finished, while Hovey landed in the pits with a broken drive shaft 16 laps into Sunday’s 25-lap main event.
Shore, whose car was sputtering badly and limped through the feature race behind the lead pack, nearly pulled off the track himself to investigate. It turned his gas cap had been left off and he had water in his fuel.
“I’m glad I stayed out there,” said Shore, who earned points for each completed lap and needed all of them to edge Hovey for the championship. “I was gonna come off and see what was wrong, but I decided it was still running and I’d just try to keep it going.”
On Saturday, during a regular track points series event, Shore suffered a broken rear axle that cut short his night. But he got the car back together and it held up through Sunday’s Dirt Bowl.
The main went to Glen Day, who edged Justin Reusch in a matchup of the two cars battling atop the standings for the track points championship. Day entered the evening a distant fourth in Dirt Bowl points after his car broke early on the first night of the series, held two weeks earlier. His win helped him earn the third-place plaque and a cash payout.
Donnie Lawrence, who was tied with Hovey in Dirt Bowl points following the opening night of racing, did not appear Sunday and finished four overall.
It was a bitter finish for Hovey, a three-time track champion who had just won the second heat and who posted his strongest showing of the summer one night earlier while winning one heat race and the 25-lap main event.
“That was the best I felt running all season,” Hovey said after his win Saturday in a regular points series event.
He was pushing Day hard for the lead on lap 16 in Sunday’s Dust Bowl when he came out of turn 4 too hot and slammed the wall along the front straightaway. He made it around the next turn before his car coasted to a stop on the back straight.
Lance Gullacher, driving one of Paul Weeks’ two cars, finished third in Sunday’s main. Week saw his night end early when his other car blew its engine on the second of two qualifying laps.
Reusch remained in the hunt for the track championship despite breaking an axle in the second heat of Saturday’s races. With one wheel still working, Reusch returned for the main and promptly drifted to the back of the five-car field, content to run laps for points.
He wound up placing third when Patrick Gullacher threw his right rear wheel in dramatic fashion after his axle failed, and Weeks left went to the pits with an overheating issue.
“I should have stayed out there to finish the second heat,” Reusch said. “I was waiting for the whole thing to blow apart.”
Tri-Port Motor Sports Club
2011 Dirt Bowl
Overall points: 1. Brock Shore, 110; 2. Daniel Hovey, 108; 3. Glen Day, 81; 4. Donnie Lawrence, 80.
Trophy dash: 1. Lance Gullacher; 2. Daniel Hovey; 3. Justin Reusch; 4. Glen Day.
Heat 1: 1. Reusch; 2. Gullacher; 3. Day; 4. Kevin Doucette; 5. Brock Shore; 6. Hovey.
Heat 2: 1. Hovey; 2. Day; 3. Reusch; 4. Shore; 5. Gullacher; 6. Doucette.
Main event: 1. Day; 2. Reusch; 3. Gullacher; 4. Shore; 5. Hovey.
Trophy dash: 1. Justin Reusch; 2. Daniel Hovey; 3. Paul Weeks; 4. Patrick Gullacher.
Heat 1: 1. Glen Day; 2. Reusch; 3. Hovey; 4. Brock Shore; 5. Weeks.
Heat 2: 1. Hovey; 2. Day; 3. P. Gullacher; 4. Shore; 5. Reusch.
Main event: 1. Hovey; 2. Day; 3. Reusch; 4. Weeks; 5. P. Gullacher.