A Team Caler Sandwich ...
The preliminary heats were standard
straight track 250 lap affairs.
Up to nine drivers per race tried
to qualify for the big oval.
The 18 best drivers enjoy the
spectacle of the WBC 500 oval.
David Albin and Danny Lewis
What an exciting race the WBC 500 was this year! The Final
included 18 of the top drivers from a field of 51. Doug Porterfield
(#95) took the pole followed by Luke Koleszar (#71 Teddy Bear)
and Cameron Spaner (#44 Slim Jim) while Tom McCorry was the last
qualifier with a provisional in the #32 Tide car.
Jim Bell driving his specially made #63 Lysol car made the
first move as the leaders tried to pull away at the green flag.
Kevin Brown (#9) got manhandled by some slow traffic on lap 39
and took with some body damage. Cameron Spaner (#44 Slim Jim)
was the first driver to earn the "Trinity" -- good
car set-up, good engine setting and learn the track -- on lap
54 and tried his best to make his way to the front. Luke Koleszar
(grabbed an early lead and held it until the first round of pit
stops on lap 78. John Shaheen (#5 Tony the Tiger) opted to stay
out in order to lead a few laps. Ernie Chambers (#28 Havoline)
did a splash and go and moved up three positions while Lane Newbury
(#12 Mobile) fired his crew chief after a 31.2 second pit time.
He did manage to get out ahead of the #9 who took 35 seconds
to repair his damage. #71 led them out of the pits but never
regained the lead.
Dave Albin (#21 Take 5) completed his trinity on lap 102.
Disaster struck on lap 108 when Carol Caler (#99 Dominos) got
impatient and crashed, wrecking her car in spectacular fashion.
Dave Zimmerman (#10 Tide) took control of the race and led until
lap 138 by pulling away in the outside lane. The second pit window
was on lap153 with Daniel Lewis (#33) and Luke Koleszar (#71)
completing their trinity cards.
Steve Caler driving the #41 car led out of the pits with an
8.9 second pit time and #63 Lysol had the worst pit stop at 24.3
seconds, losing five spots. Ernie Chambers (#28) and John Shaheen
(#5) tried to stay out last the race but came up short when they
didn't get any yellows. Slow traffic was a major factor for the
second half of the race and caused a lot of drivers headaches.
With 11 laps to go, Cameron Spaner (#44) made a spectacular
move with a slingshot pass inside of slow traffic, passed two
cars (#6 and #42), followed by another slingshot to the outside
lane and finally pulling away with Steve Caler (#41) drafting
in tow. Steve then passed #44 and beat the second place car of
Kevin Brown (#9) to the finish line on the last turn. Luke Koleszar
(#71) rounded out the top three taking a close third. Team Caler
(Steve in #41 and Carol in #99) made a huge WBC 500 sandwich
by taking first and last. Steve was overheard saying "Clearly,
the husband can drive" after the race but when asked about
his teammate's driving ability on camera, he declined to comment.
Overall it was an exciting race with 14 lead changes, two yellow
flags and three DNFs.
There's more than just wood at stake
GM Mark McLaughlin is plenty busy
inside the oval.
Uh oh - the KMart car is off
the shoulder on the inside.
Everybody is ready to go.