Photo by Dale Calnan (www.imagefactormedia.com)
By Tommy Goudge
PORT COLBORNE, Ont. (June 30, 2022) – Mitch Brown earned his first sword on Thursday night at Humberstone Speedway, withstanding pressure from several challengers to take his first Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car A-Main win.
Mitch Brown and Brayden Cooley were on the front row for the 25 lap A-Main, and Brown took the early lead while Mack DeMan and Mikey Kruchka jockeyed for the third spot. DeMan was strong on the high side, especially in turns three and four, and drove around Cooley to take the second position on lap four. Cooley then tried the upper lane, but Kruchka drove around him on the inside to take third.
Brown lived up to his “Downtown” nickname, methodically running the low side lap after lap. DeMan began to track down the leader and was less than half a second behind when the yellow flag came out for Jim Huppunen’s flat tire. Kruchka was still in third at this point, but pulled off the track with brake and rear end problems just as the green flag was about to come back out. Cory Turner inherited the third spot as a result.
Brown held serve again while DeMan and Turner diced for the second spot until another yellow flag appeared for a Dan Nanticoke spin. Aaron Turkey then stopped with a flat tire just as the green flag was about to reappear, and when it finally did Turkey’s teammate Cooley brought out the yellow again with a front suspension problem. Cooley’s bad luck moved Ryan Turner and Travis Cunningham into fourth and fifth, respectively, with Brown, DeMan, and Cory Turner ahead of them.
The green flag stayed out only briefly, as things went from bad to worse for Huppunen, Nanticoke, and Turkey who all tangled in turn one. Huppunen and Nanticoke restarted, but Turkey’s night ended on the tow truck. The restart saw Tyler Rand spin to again bring out the yellow flag and set up a nine lap dash to the finish.
DeMan stuck close to Brown on the restart, running the bottom in turns one and two and the top in turns three and four. Just it looked like DeMan might have something for the leader, he got over the cushion in turn four and gave up the second spot to Cory Turner. Brown was oblivious to all of this, but he quickly became aware of Turner’s presence when Turner tried a bold move in turn one with three laps left; Turner dove low under Brown entering the corner but slid too high and off the banking, which allowed Brown to cross underneath and keep the lead.
Brown drove on to take the win, while Cory Turner fended off brother Ryan for the runner-up spot. DeMan and row seven starter Cunningham rounded out the top five.
“I just figured that was where it was going to be and if they were going to pass me they were going to have to go around me,” said Brown of his commitment to running the low groove. “Cory sort of surprised me there at the end, but it was a good race.”
Cory Turner had a slightly rueful smile afterwards as he reflected on his race.
“A podium’s good, just got a little excited there,” said Turner. “I should have chilled out there for a couple laps.
The Knights of Thunder series will next be in competition at the 16th Running of the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on Friday, July 1 at Ohsweken Speedway. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.
Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series
Race Report – Thursday, June 30, 2022
Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada
Heat Race 1 [Started] 8 laps – 1:55.547
1. 91-Ryan Turner, Dunnville ; 2. 13-Cory Turner, Tillsonburg ; 3. 88H-Josh Hansen, Beamsville ; 4. 15-Dan Nanticoke, Ohsweken ; 5. 90-Travis Cunningham, Grimsby ; 6. 11-Jamie Turner, Caistor Centre ; 7. 5-DJ Christie, Beachville 
Heat Race 2 [Started] 8 laps – NT
1. 14H-Jim Huppunen, Welland ; 2. 01K-Mikey Kruchka, Hamilton ; 3. 17X-Mack DeMan, Mississauga ; 4. 20AU-Brayden Cooley, Kirkstall, Victoria, Australia ; 5. 9-Liam Martin, Binbrook ; 6. 24-Ben Silliker, Grande Prairie, Alberta ; 7. 68-Aaron Turkey, Ohsweken 
Heat Race 3 [Started] 8 laps – 2:01.516
1. 10-Mitch Brown, Brantford ; 2. 0-Glenn Styres, Ohsweken ; 3. 1 10-Jake Brown, Brantford ; 4. 1-Holly Porter, Dorchester ; 5. 84-Tyler Rand, Picton ; 6. 87X-Shone Evans, Scotland ; 7. (DNS) 45-Nick Sheridan, Mount Brydges
A-Main [Started] 25 laps – NT
1. 10-Mitch Brown; 2. 13-Cory Turner; 3. 91-Ryan Turner; 4. 17X-Mack DeMan; 5. 90-Travis Cunningham; 6. 88H-Josh Hansen; 7. 11-Jamie Turner; 8. 87X-Shone Evans; 9. 9-Liam Martin; 10. 1 10-Jake Brown; 11. 1-Holly Porter; 12. 45-Nick Sheridan; 13. 84-Tyler Rand; 14. 5-DJ Christie; 15. 14H-Jim Huppunen; 16. 0-Glenn Styres; 17. 24-Ben Silliker; 18. 15-Dan Nanticoke; 19. (DNF) 68-Aaron Turkey; 20. (DNF) 20AU-Brayden Cooley; 21. (DNF) 01K-Mikey Kruchka
Margin of Victory – 1.074 seconds
Hard Charger – Shone Evans +10
Friday, July 1, 2022 – Ohsweken Speedway – Ohsweken, Ontario
About the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder Sprint Car Series: Founded in 2021, the Knights of Thunder series is a traveling winged 360 Sprint Car tour based in Ontario, Canada. Each points-paying event on the 2022 schedule will pay a minimum of $2,000-to-win and $250-to-start, and all events will be broadcast live on GForceTV. The championship winner will be rewarded with $5,000 and a Pinty’s VIP package for the 2023 Bristol Dirt Race, while 10th place in the championship standings will pay $1,000. The 2022 Knights of Thunder Sprint Car Series is made possible with the support of Pinty’s Delicious Foods, Corr/Pak Merchandising, Stoneridge Specialty Insurance, Hoosier Tire Canada, Burger Barn, Nitro 54 Variety, Strickland’s Brantford Chevrolet, and EPIC Racewear. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.