Race 1 of the F1600 Duals presented by Lubrico Warranty was an intense battle throughout the field, and once again, the name DeGrand sits at the top of the results sheet.
Tristan DeGrand (pictured) did not have it easy though. Brandon Newey made the trip north and very quickly let it be known that he was here looking for a win.
The first corner of any street race is always precarious. DeGrand held the lead through the first complex of corners. Just behind Zacharie Robichon and Michel Bonnet made contact with Robichon getting airborne, causing the field to scramble and Bruno Chapinotti to spin. Robichon sustained damage and was not able to continue.
One of the favourites, Steve Bamford, was hit from behind by Craig Willis and damaged enough that his race was over.
There was more damage at the end of Lakeshore straightaway on lap 1, with Marcel Lafontaine suffering some to his left front suspension and unable to continue. His incident would bring out the first full course caution of the day.
The car of Lafontaine was quickly removed and at the drop of the green DeGrand was challenged immediately by Newey, forcing him wide and allowing a charging Pelletier to also slip by.
Newey opened up a gap over the battling Pelletier and DeGrand, with Pelletier unable to hold him off for long. DeGrand put his head down and chased Newey down, making a bold pass for the lead as two competitors behind them, Brian Fowler and Yves Beaudoin made contact, stranding Fowler and bringing out the 2nd full course caution.
The car of Fowler was removed quickly allowing the race to go back to green with a few minutes left and setting the stage for some last lap heroics. On the final lap Newey was tucked right up under the gearbox of DeGrand and looking to get by.
DeGrand drive down the right side of the long Lakeshore straight and as the two hit the breaking zone Newey made an aggressive move to the left, clipping the left rear of DeGrand and getting in the air. As he spun into the runoff area all of the following drivers managed to miss him. DeGrand would bring his car to the checkered as the winner, followed by Jack Mitchell, Jr. and Chase Pelletier. Sam Chastain had a remarkable race to move up to 4th at the end followed by Olivier Bedard. Newey would recover and bring it home in 15th.
“That was an amazing race,” said a jubilant DeGrand. “I hate it that it ended in tears for Newey because we really raced each other hard but I am really happy to get the win at this event and in front of a large crowd. I can’t wait to get back in the car tomorrow and see if we can make it a perfect weekend.”
In the B Class battle Connor Wagland had a great race with pole sitter David Graham, Steve Bodrug and Amy Castell. Wagland had an eventful run, having to avoid the spinning Chapinotti at the start and then collect himself and put his head down for the remainder of the race.
Castell looked like she was destined for a podium finish but got caught up in some late race action and dropped one spot after one of the yellow flag zones.
“I had so much fun in that race,” said a happy Connor Wagland. “This is my first street race and the Honda Indy is such a cool event I’m thrilled to get the win here today. My car has worked well all weekend and I’m going to go for it again tomorrow.
Race 2 for the F1600 Duals presented by Lubrico Warranty will go green on Sunday at 6:15pm, directly after Indycar race 2.
Photo by John Walker