Scott Walter has been one hungry fellow, having won in his first ever start in the Can-Am Racing Series, a restrictor plate race during the short lived Thursday Cup Series back in May. Since then, just a best finish of 3rd at Iowa earlier this season in the NEORacingNews.com Pro Cup Series is all he has had to brag about. He came out firing last night at Chicagoland, however, setting one of the fastest times in practice then blistering the field for the pole position by almost a full tenth of a second. It was looking to be a great night for Walter.
But right off the drop of the green, Sean Casto had other ideas, and just about punted Walter into the turn 3 wall before the majority of the field had even hit 4th gear. This would send Walter back to 5th, and the field would scramble to keep from running him and anyone else over. As Casto ran away from the pack for the time being, Tom Dreilling and Chris Cable were mid pack still attempting to get their whole situations figured out after the jumbled start. Dreilling got a little high in the turn and hit the loose stuff which sent him spinning across Cables nose, thus bringing out caution #1 on the day.
The field got back underway and as Casto showed the pace, Josh Laughton, a late comer to the event who showed up just in time to unload his car and get on the grid, started making his presence felt. A long time DWC driver, Laughton came into the race with plenty of experience and pedigree, and was showing it quickly. By lap 30 he had taken the lead and was off and running. While Greg Netherwood restarted 22nd and worked his way up to 3rd by lap 50, showing he was going to be a car to beat by the end of the night, he and everyone else were still losing time to the orange ride of Laughton.
On lap 58, though, the second and final caution of the night came out as Laughton was trailling a pack of lapped cars fighting to remain on the lead lap. Scott Pregont and Ed Williams Jr slammed doors exiting turn 4, sending them spinning in front of the leader. This would slow the field and bring everyone down for their final stops.
The restart would show Laughton, Walter, Robinson and Ron Williams fighting for the lead for about 20 laps, with all of them swapping in for a chance at the lead lap bonus. But it was Laughton who would again start to pull away.
The laps wound down and with 30 to go, Netherwood, running 5th, was the first to hit pit road. Taking right sides and a splash, he gambled that he was early enough the tires would play a part, and he was almost right. Chris Cable followed suit, but without tires, and everyone else trickled in around the lap 105 mark. Everyone but the top 4 cars.
Laughton, Robinson, Walter and Williams all took the risk and were trying to race hard in a pack, while still saving that extra lap or two of fuel they needed. With under 5 to go, it was going to be close, but Netherwood and Cable were coming quick fast and in a hurry, so they couldn’t just diddle. The field took the white, and as the lead pack hit turn 1, Williams was the first to fall out as his 07 ride sputtered out of fuel.
Going into turn 3, it was Laughton the leader who would falter, and his tank ran dry, ending his chance for the win. But there were 2 left…. Walter and Robinson. Walter would sputter dry as he exited turn 3, with Robinson almost immediately after. But, that extra split second of fuel allowed Robinson to coast just past Walter, and all 3 of them would hit the line just barely beating the fast charging Cable and Netherwood.
Robinson would only lead the 1 lap in the victory, with Walter having his career best finish of 2nd after his first pole in the series. Laughton would coast by the line in 3rd, with Netherwood taking 4th and Chris Cable just nipping Gregg Richardson by .003 for 5th place.
The series heads to Kentucky next week!