Photo by Dale Calnan/www.imagefactor.ca
By Tommy Goudge
THOROLD, Ont. (September 17, 2021) – Ryan Turner won his first sword from the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car series on Friday night at Merrittville Speedway; Turner led just one lap in the 25 lap A-Main, but it was the most important one.
The action began in the early morning hours when series points leader Jordan Poirier had trouble with his hauler more than four hours from Merrittville. Poirier was able to get a ride to the track but his equipment was left behind, and the Team Turner Racing 19 car became the Quebec driver’s ride for the evening.
Travis Cunningham and Glenn Styres made up the front row for the 11th Knights of Thunder A-Main of 2021, and Styres grabbed the early lead with Cunningham and DJ Christie giving chase. Christie got past Cunningham on lap five and quickly went to work on Styres. The middle groove was working for Styres, while Christie worked the cushion and Cunningham was on the inside. Close racing ensued as all three began to work through traffic, and Christie briefly got past Styres for the lead before getting over the cushion in turns three and four. Christie recovered and was preparing to mount another attempt when a yellow flag appeared for the stopped car of John Burbridge Jr.
Another yellow flag for Aaron Turkey appeared soon after the restart, but Styres’ stay at the front ended on lap 12 when Christie made a well-executed slide job and fought off a crossover attempt by Styres. Christie opened up a lead while Styres fell into the clutches of Mack DeMan, who had fallen back on the initial start before mounting a comeback. DeMan got around Styres just before a red flag flew for a Dan Nanticoke tipover, while Ryan Turner followed suit after the restart.
Christie opened a lead of more than one second as the race wound down, while Turner caught and passed DeMan with three laps to go. It appeared Turner was going to run out of time in his pursuit of Christie, but the yellow flag appeared again for Jamie Turner’s stopped car and set up a two lap dash to the finish. Christie had the advantage on the restart, but Turner gained rapidly on the leader as they took the white flag. Turner got alongside in turns one of two and cleared Christie down the backstretch, but Christie fought back and attempted to slide under Turner in turns three and four. Christie couldn’t make the move stick and watched helplessly as Turner took the checkered flag.
Christie held DeMan off for the runner-up spot, while Josh Hansen and row seven starter Jim Huppunen rounded out the top five. Styres faded at the end but held on to finish sixth, followed by Tyler Rand, Cunningham, Poirier, and Mat Williamson. Cory Turner moved from 22nd to 11th to claim Hard Charger honours, while heat race wins went to Jacob Dykstra, Liam Martin, and Styres.
Poirier’s lead in the championship standings now stands at 44 points over Ryan Turner, with Jim Huppunen 12 points behind Turner in third. Josh Hansen holds the fourth position, while DJ Christie is now into the top five. Travis Cunningham, Cory Turner, Liam Martin, Tyler Rand, and Holly Porter make up the rest of the top ten.
The Pinty’s Knights of Thunder series will next be in action on Friday, October 1 at Humberstone Speedway. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.
Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series
Race Report – Friday, September 17, 2021
Thorold, Ontario, Canada
0 Glenn Styres – Ohsweken, Ontario
0W Mat Williamson – St. Catharines, Ontario
01K Mikey Kruchka – Hamilton, Ontario
1 Holly Porter – Dorchester, Ontario
5 DJ Christie – Beachville, Ontario
5D Jacob Dykstra – Port Colborne, Ontario
9 Liam Martin – Binbrook, Ontario
11 Jamie Turner – Caistor Centre, Ontario
13 Cory Turner – Caistor Centre, Ontario
14H Jim Huppunen – Fenwick, Ontario
15 Dan Nanticoke – Ohsweken, Ontario
17X Mack DeMan – Mississauga, Ontario
19 Jordan Poirier – Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec
21 John Burbridge Jr. – St. Williams, Ontario
46 Kevin Pauls – St. Catharines, Ontario
68 Aaron Turkey – Ohsweken, Ontario
70 Baily Heard – Niagara Falls, Ontario
71S Shawn Sliter – Port Colborne, Ontario
84 Tyler Rand – Picton, Ontario
87X Shone Evans – Scotland, Ontario
88H Josh Hansen – Beamsville, Ontario
90 Travis Cunningham – Grimsby, Ontario
91 Ryan Turner – Dunnville, Ontario
Heat Race 1 [Started] 8 laps – 1:47.589
1. 5D-Jacob Dykstra; 2. 91-Ryan Turner; 3. 17X-Mack DeMan; 4. 19-Jordan Poirier; 5. 0W-Mat Williamson; 6. 14H-Jim Huppunen; 7. 70-Baily Heard; 8. 11-Jamie Turner
Heat Race 2 [Started] 8 laps – 1:50.286
1. 9-Liam Martin; 2. 5-DJ Christie; 3. 84-Tyler Rand; 4. 68-Aaron Turkey; 5. 87X-Shone Evans; 6. 01K-Mikey Kruchka; 7. 1-Holly Porter; 8. 13-Cory Turner
Heat Race 3 [Started] 8 laps – NT
1. 0-Glenn Styres; 2. 88H-Josh Hansen; 3. 90-Travis Cunningham; 4. 15-Dan Nanticoke; 5. 46-Kevin Pauls; 6. 21-John Burbridge Jr; 7. (DNF) 71S-Shawn Sliter
A-Main [Started] 25 laps – NT
1. 91-Ryan Turner; 2. 5-DJ Christie; 3. 17X-Mack DeMan; 4. 88H-Josh Hansen; 5. 14H-Jim Huppunen; 6. 0-Glenn Styres; 7. 84-Tyler Rand; 8. 90-Travis Cunningham; 9. 19-Jordan Poirier; 10. 0W-Mat Williamson; 11. 13-Cory Turner; 12. 9-Liam Martin; 13. 70-Baily Heard; 14. 5D-Jacob Dykstra; 15. 1-Holly Porter; 16. 87X-Shone Evans; 17. 68-Aaron Turkey; 18. 15-Dan Nanticoke; 19. 46-Kevin Pauls; 20. (DNF) 11-Jamie Turner; 21. (DNF) 01K-Mikey Kruchka; 22. (DNF) 21-John Burbridge Jr; 23. (DNS) 71S-Shawn Sliter
A-Main Lap Leaders – Glenn Styres 1-11; DJ Christie 12-24; Ryan Turner 25
Margin of Victory – 0.647 seconds
Hard Charger – Cory Turner +11
Friday, October 1, 2021 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ontario
KNIGHTS OF THUNDER MEDIA
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 2021 schedule will pay a minimum of $2,000-to-win and $250-to-start, and selected events will be broadcast live on GForceTV. The championship winner will be rewarded with $5,000 and a Pinty’s VIP package for the 2022 Bristol Dirt Race, while 10th place in the championship standings will pay $1,000. The 2021 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.