PORT HARDY — On North Vancouver Island, at least, stock car racing is no longer about wondering when the next crash will come.
This time, the Tri-Port Motor Sports Club is injecting some real suspense for this weekend’s 2011 season finale at Tri-Port Speedway.
Glen Day topped an otherwise balanced afternoon of competition Sunday, walking away with victory the 20-lap main event when main rival Justin Reusch broke as the two battled for the lead with fewer than four laps remaining.
The same two drivers are locked in a too-close-to-call duel for the season points title, which will be decided Sunday with time-ins beginning at 1 p.m.
Adding a twist to the proceedings, for the first time the club will allow each driver to choose two points sessions to scratch from scoring consideration this season.
Because of this scoring adjustment, current season points were not published by the club following Sunday’s event. The last time they were totaled, Reusch held a slender edge over Day.
Further adding to the suspense is the capricious nature of the North Island’s October weather, which smiled upon last weekend’s show but which could easily wash the cars from the track this weekend. If that happens, drivers will choose their two worst points sessions to eliminate, and the points will be tallied for the title without further racing.
Sunday began with defending track champion Daniel Hovey posting the fastest qualifying time. Reusch followed with a win in the trophy dash and, after Day won the first heat, Paul Weeks claimed the second heat ahead of Reusch.
The main event started with Reusch, Day and Hovey in a three-way battle for first position. But Hovey twice spun out and fell a lap off the pace by the time a competition yellow flag fell to bring the cars together midway through the race.
Shortly after the restart, Day made an inside pass of Reusch on the back straightaway, and would hold the lead the rest of the way.
Reusch kept the pressure on, but his last chance at the lead ended when he spun in turn one on the 17th lap and was struck by Weeks.
Unable to motor foward, Reusch backed the car through turn two and down the back stretch into the pit entrance.
“Things were knockin’ and bangin’ around back there,” Reusch said with a nod toward the rear end of the vehicle, which may have suffered a broken differential or axle. “I have no idea what’s going on. I’ll have to get in and have a look.”
He’ll have one week to figure it out or risk having Day coast to the season championship. Hovey and Weeks are in a similarly close fight for third place, but both are well off the title pace.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth for Sunday’s show. The concession will be open and door prizes offered.