Photos by Dale Calnan (www.imagefactormedia.com)

By Tommy Goudge

OHSWEKEN, Ont. (September 17, 2022) – Ryan Turner claimed $10,000 and the second Canadian Sprint Car Nationals win of his career on Saturday night at Ohsweken Speedway.

Mikey Kruchka and Jordan Poirier earned front row starting spots for the 35 lap CSCN A-Main, both looking for their first Canadian Sprint Car Nationals win. Poirier took command early, looking to follow in his uncle Steve’s footsteps. Paulie Colagiovanni took the second spot from Kruchka on lap two and went after Poirier. The leaders were already beginning to close in on traffic on lap five, but got a reprieve when Nick Sheridan brought out the yellow flag with a broken rear end.

The double-file restart gave Colagiovanni a shot at the lead, but Poirier took command again while Ryan Turner moved into third past Kruchka. Colagiovanni was close behind Poirier and looking to pounce, but the race was slowed again on lap eight when Lynton Jeffrey and Chuck Hebing made contact on the frontstretch; Jeffrey’s car suffered significant front end damage and put the Australian driver out of the race. D.J. Christie also stopped on the track with left front suspension damage which eventually ended his race.

Poirier, Colagiovanni, and Turner restarted in the top three, while Liam Martin, Kruchka, and Kyle Phillips made up the other half of the top six. Martin powered around the outside on the restart, but got pinched between Colagiovanni and the backstretch wall; the contact was enough to break Martin’s rear end and bring out another yellow flag.

Poirier held serve on the next restart with Colagiovanni close behind, while Phillips and Turner diced for third. Row 12 starter Jason Barney moved into the top five, while Friday night winner Jordan Thomas also moved past Kruchka. The next yellow flag came out with 11 laps complete when Todd Hoddick stopped on the track with a mechanical issue.

Colagiovanni took the lead away from Poirier on the restart, while Poirier fell into the clutches of Ryan Turner. A slide job on lap 18 briefly got Turner past Poirier and in a position to challenge Colagiovanni just as they started to encounter traffic. Poirier’s counter was cut short when Barney caught the frontstretch wall and flipped violently. Barney was shaken up, but able to walk away from his badly-damaged car. Going back to the last completed lap put Poirier back into second, and he subsequently inherited the lead when a fuel leak during the stoppage forced Colagiovanni to the pit area and ended his bid for a second CSCN victory.

The race restarted just short of the halfway mark with Poirier leading, followed by Ryan Turner, Phillips, Kruchka, and Thomas. Poirier held the lead again, while Kruchka drove around the outside of Phillips to take third. Turner went after Poirier and took the lead as the two were lapping Dale Gosselin in turn two with 11 laps remaining, and Kruchka then took second from Poirier on the next lap. Another yellow flag appeared on lap 30 when Ryan Coniam spun in turn four.

The single-file restart with five laps left saw Turner, Kruchka, Poirier, Phillips, and Hebing in the top five. Turner doggedly stuck to the low side of the track while Kruchka searched for a way past on the outside. Kruchka made a bold move on lap 34 diving low between Turner and the inside wall in turn one, but Kruchka slid high and Turner drove back around him. Poirier got a shot at Kruchka while Turner drove under the white flag, but Phillips stopped high in turn four to bring out the yellow flag and force a one lap dash to the finish.

Turner had a good restart and drove to the win with Kruchka settling for the runner-up spot. Hebing slipped past Poirier on the last lap to claim the final podium spot, while Mitch Brown rounded out the top five. Josh Hansen, Cory Turner, Jordan Thomas, Glenn Styres, and Baily Heard rounded out the top ten.

The unique circumstances of 2022 allowed Turner to claim two Canadian Sprint Car Nationals wins in one season, a feat that is unlikely to ever be possible again. He also did it with two different cars and two different teams following his move to the No. 15 in August.

“I think we’ve just been gaining speed and winning this race shows just how much we’ve really been gaining,” Turner exclaimed. “Our crew killed it all night; they were thrashing right before we went out, changing tires, changing rims. They worked their butts off.”

Kruchka wasn’t unhappy with second and the $5,000 payday, but wished the race had stayed green. Still, it was a good finish for the veteran driver who has had his share of CSCN heartbreak in the past.

“It’s frustrating because we only get typically one shot at this a year, and then to come so close…” lamented Kruchka. “I’m sure I had a better car running around the top; I just I knew it was going to be a long race and I packed it full of fuel but I was scared to pack it too much because sometimes you get a stumble at the start. I didn’t need that last caution…with the momentum I think we would have been alright, but (on the restart) I got a couple bumbles and I was just praying to hang on to second.”

Chuck Hebing added to his illustrious Canadian Sprint Car Nationals resume with his sixth top-five CSCN finish and third podium.

“We survived…a couple of the guys had trouble up front,” Hebing observed. “We were better on cold tires than we were on hot tires; you know we haven’t been up here in so long and we will make some changes for next time, but it was good to be back.”

The Knights of Thunder series will next be in competition at the Fall Classic Championships on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1 at Humberstone Speedway. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.

Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series
Statistical Report – Saturday, September 17, 2022
Ohsweken Speedway – Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada

18th Running of the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals (Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series w/Empire Super Sprints, Kool Kidz-Corr/Pak 360 Sprint Cars, Patriot Sprint Tour, & Southern Ontario Sprints)

A-Main [Started] 35 laps – NT
1. 15-Ryan Turner[4]; 2. 01K-Mikey Kruchka[1]; 3. 45H-Chuck Hebing[13]; 4. 28-Jordan Poirier[2]; 5. 10-Mitch Brown[12]; 6. 88H-Josh Hansen[17]; 7. 13-Cory Turner[15]; 8. 79-Jordan Thomas[11]; 9. 0-Glenn Styres[10]; 10. 70-Baily Heard[19]; 11. 84-Tyler Rand[30]; 12. 1-Holly Porter[27]; 13. 87X-Shone Evans[7]; 14. 14H-Jim Huppunen[21]; 15. 7NY-Matt Farnham[26]; 16. 1 10-Jake Brown[22]; 17. 21K-Kyle Phillips[8]; 18. 81-Derek Jonathan[16]; 19. 46-Kevin Pauls[29]; 20. (DNF) 46C-Ryan Coniam[28]; 21. (DNF) 3G-Dale Gosselin[25]; 22. (DNF) 90-Travis Cunningham[18]; 23. (DNF) 10C-Paulie Colagiovanni[3]; 24. (DNF) 87-Jason Barney[23]; 25. (DNF) 94-Todd Hoddick[24]; 26. (DNF) 5-DJ Christie[20]; 27. (DNF) 9-Liam Martin[5]; 28. (DNF) 0J-Lynton Jeffrey[6]; 29. (DNF) 11-Jamie Turner[14]; 30. (DNF) 45-Nick Sheridan[9]
A-Main Lap Leaders – Jordan Poirier 1-11, 18-24; Paulie Colagiovanni 12-17; Ryan Turner 25-35
Hard Charger – Tyler Rand +19

-A-Main Winner Bonus: Ryan Turner (Free Fire Suit – EPIC Racewear)
-Bill Peer Memorial Best Appearing Car: Matt Farnham ($350 – Corr/Pak Merchandising)
-Travis Rutz Long Tow: Ryan Coniam ($250 – Niagara Golf Lounge at Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel)
-Fastest Qualifier: Todd Hoddick ($300 – Qwick Wick)
-Fastest Canadian Qualifier: Mitch Brown ($300 – Ohsweken Speedway)
-Rookie of the Nationals: Baily Heard ($250 – Slack Lumber)
-Hard Charger: Tyler Rand ($300 – Nitro 54 Variety)
-Larry Gartly Memorial Last Chance Hard Charger: Tyler Rand ($200 – Doddey Creek Agri Services)
-George Huppunen Memorial Hard Luck: Nick Sheridan ($400 – Huppunen Brothers)

Qualifications Flight 1
1. 94 Todd Hoddick – North Tonawanda, New York – 13.814; 2. 10 Mitch Brown – Brantford – 13.904; 3. 0J Lynton Jeffrey – Prairie City, Iowa – 13.919; 4. 45 Nick Sheridan – Mount Brydges – 14.129; 5. 13 Cory Turner – 14.140; 6. 87X Shone Evans – Scotland – 14.261; 7. 10C Paulie Colagiovanni – Cicero, New York – 14.265; 8. 46C Ryan Coniam – Denver, Colorado – 14.285; / 9. 90 Travis Cunningham – Grimsby – 14.329; 10. 1 Holly Porter – Dorchester – 14.388; 11. 11J Chris Jones – Picton – 14.453; 12. 14H Jim Huppunen – Welland – 14.471; 13. 0 Glenn Styres – Ohsweken – 14.485; 14. 81 Derek Jonathan – Lewiston, New York – 14.550; 15. 3G Dale Gosselin – Saint-Pie, Quebec – 14.606; 16. 21 John Burbridge Jr – St. Williams – 14.640; 17. 0C Cole MacDonald – Waterdown – 15.322; 18. 28 Jordan Poirier – Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec – NT

Qualifications Flight 2
1. 45H Chuck Hebing – Ontario, New York – 14.051; 2. 01K Mikey Kruchka – Hamilton – 14.069; 3. 15R Ryan Turner – Dunnville – 14.099; 4. 88H Josh Hansen – Beamsville – 14.189; 5. 9 Liam Martin – Binbrook – 14.195; 6. 79 Jordan Thomas – Harding, Pennsylvania – 14.269; 7. 70 Baily Heard – Niagara Falls – 14.341; 8. 5 D.J. Christie – Beachville – 14.388; / 9. 110 Jake Brown – Brantford – 14.445; 10. 87 Jason Barney – Brewerton, New York – 14.560; 11. 11 Jamie Turner – Caistor Centre – 14.705; 12. 21K Kyle Phillips – Grand Island, New York – 14.718; 13. 7NY Matt Farnham – Tonawanda, New York – 14.719; 14. 13KG Keith Granholm – Syracuse, New York – 14.751; 15. 70MM Dave McKnight – Brampton – 14.899; 16. 84 Tyler Rand – Picton – 14.973; 17. 46 Kevin Pauls – St. Catharines – 15.249; 18. 94X Scott Hall – Wilsonville – NT

Heat Race 1 [Started] 10 laps – NT
1. 10C-Paulie Colagiovanni[1]; 2. 0J-Lynton Jeffrey[3]; 3. 13-Cory Turner[2]; 4. 0-Glenn Styres[7]; 5. 90-Travis Cunningham[5]; 6. 94-Todd Hoddick[4]; / 7. 3G-Dale Gosselin[8]; 8. (DNF) 11J-Chris Jones[6]; 9. (DNS) 0C-Cole MacDonald

Heat Race 2 [Started] 10 laps – NT
1. 87X-Shone Evans[2]; 2. 45-Nick Sheridan[3]; 3. 10-Mitch Brown[4]; 4. 28-Jordan Poirier[9]; 5. 81-Derek Jonathan[7]; 6. 14H-Jim Huppunen[6]; / 7. 1-Holly Porter[5]; 8. 46C-Ryan Coniam[1]; 9. 21-John Burbridge Jr[8]

Heat Race 3 [Started] 10 laps – 2:29.221
1. 9-Liam Martin[2]; 2. 15-Ryan Turner[3]; 3. 45H-Chuck Hebing[4]; 4. 11-Jamie Turner[6]; 5. 70-Baily Heard[1]; 6. 1 10-Jake Brown[5]; / 7. 7NY-Matt Farnham[7]; 8. 46-Kevin Pauls[9]; 9. 70M&M-Dave McKnight Jr[8]

Heat Race 4 [Started] 10 laps – 2:29.720
1. 01K-Mikey Kruchka[4]; 2. 79-Jordan Thomas[2]; 3. 21K-Kyle Phillips[6]; 4. 88H-Josh Hansen[3]; 5. 5-DJ Christie[1]; 6. 87-Jason Barney[5]; / 7. 13K-Keith Granholm[7]; 8. 84-Tyler Rand[8]; 9. (DNS) 94X-Scott Hall

Pole Dash [Started] 5 laps – 1:12.293
1. 01K-Mikey Kruchka[1]; 2. 28-Jordan Poirier[4]; 3. 10C-Paulie Colagiovanni[6]; 4. 15-Ryan Turner[8]; 5. 9-Liam Martin[2]; 6. 0J-Lynton Jeffrey[7]; 7. 87X-Shone Evans[3]; 8. 21K-Kyle Phillips[5]

B-Main [Started] 12 laps – NT
1. 3G-Dale Gosselin[1]; 2. 7NY-Matt Farnham[3]; 3. 1-Holly Porter[5]; 4. 46C-Ryan Coniam[10]; 5. 46-Kevin Pauls[4]; 6. 84-Tyler Rand[6]; / 7. 21-John Burbridge Jr[8]; 8. 70M&M-Dave McKnight Jr[9]; 9. 13K-Keith Granholm[2]; 10. (DNS) 11J-Chris Jones; 11. (DNS) 0C-Cole MacDonald; 12. (DNS) 94X-Scott Hall

Up Next:
Friday, September  30, 2022 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ontario
Saturday, October 1, 2022 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ontario

Website: www.knightsofthunder.com
Twitter: @KoTSprints
Facebook: KnightsofThunderSprintCars
Instagram: @knightsofthunder
YouTube: GForceTV

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.