January 22, 2018

Dramatic 5th round hands Evans advantage with one to go

A dramatic conclusion to the penultimate round of racing at the Reedy Race of Champions turned the 24th running of the event on its head with Dustin Evans jumping into a 2-point lead going into the deciding round.  With Tessmann putting himself in with an outside chance of the title with a 3rd win of the day when he won the opening heat. The second heat saw Ryan Maifield take his second 2WD win also putting the former champion in with a mathematical chance of a second title but all the attention was on heat three. With joint points leaders Ryan Cavalieri and Spencer Rivkin together with Dustin Evans, who was just a point behind, on the grid, the race couldn’t have been scripted to be more dramatic.  Starting up front, Evans lead the way and looked to be pulling a gap as mid pack starting Rivkin and Cavalieri came through before Evans two laps in succession got it wrong in the whoops creating showdown of the title contenders with Cavalieri, who dropped back earlier due to a rare mistake, going to the front.  With the win certain to secure Cavalieri his 5th Reedy Race title the Associated driver would land the triple in front of the drivers stand on the pipe breaking a rear arm.  Getting around the corner, his car stranded in the middle of the track would get collected by Rivkin who on getting over Cavalieri’s car would then get stuck head to head with Joona Haatanen’s car allowing Evans to go clear for a 3-second win over Rob Gillespie.  With Cavalieri getting 9 points, the heat having only 9 cars, Rivkin would collect 5 points for 5th, turning the points table on its head with Evans the new leader from Maifield by a point with Rivkin third, Tessmann fourth and Cavalieri 5th before drops are taken into account. With drops counted Evans holds a 2-point lead over Cavalieri and Rivkin.  Going first Evans has the advantage of an easier heat albeit from the back row of the grid, while all the other contenders line up together in the final race of the event.

‘I knew it was going to be a gnarly race’, said Evans. Starting on the front row alongside pole sitter Joseph Quagraine, the 2011 Champion continued, ‘JQ told me straight up he was going for it at the start so I went for it too and kept my line around the outside.  I drove awesome for 4-minutes. I was telling myself to keep going and don’t let up but then I backed it off and had mistakes two times in the whoop and had to race it with Cav.  When he broke I managed to get around him while the others hit his car.  I had it under control, blew it and then won it. Thats the Reedy Race’.  Asked about the final round he said, ‘I don’t want to know the scenarios. I want to chill out for a bit and go out and do what I can.  The last heat is super stacked and I’m not in it but I’ve still got to go out and drive my own race’.

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