After taking the lead with 15 laps to go, J.R. Fitzpatrick didn’t look back en route to scoring the Dickies OSCAAR Outlaws Presented by London Recreational Racing victory in the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway.
“It is pretty cool,” Fitzpatrick commented. “The car has obviously been pretty quick lately and I knew Saturday that the track would be different today. We didn’t really mess with it much because I was worried if it we went too far. When we got out front, Kevin was pulling us a little but I knew once he burnt his rubber up, we would be right there with him. Sure enough at lap 30 we were all over him and passed him. It’s a good day. I’m excited and glad that we won.”
Meanwhile, despite running into issues during the feature, Kevin Cornelius would be crowned the 2015 series champion.
The weekend would start off with qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Charlie Gallant would win the first heat in his first race back since blowing the motor earlier this year at Delaware Speedway. Roy Passer finished second ahead of Shawn Chenoweth, Glenn Watson, Kevin Cornelius, Sean Grosman and Shane Gowan.
J.R. Fitzpatrick won the second heat ahead of Kelly Balson, Gary Passer, Corey Jones, Gord Shepherd, Gord Bennett and Craig Stevenson.
Current series points leader Kevin Cornelius picked up the victory in the third heat ahead of Chenoweth, Watson, Gary Passer, Shepherd, Gallant and Stevenson.
The final heat would see Bennett stop in turn one with a mechanical issue at lap seven. Corey Jones picked up the win ahead of Fitzpatrick, Gowan, Balson, Roy Passer and Grosman.
Come feature time on Sunday afternoon, Kevin Cornelius and J.R. Fitzpatrick would start on the front row virtue of their 1-2 finish in the Chase for the Colours event in August. Shawn Chenoweth would start third ahead of Corey Jones, Kelly Balson, Charlie Gallant, Roy Passer, Gary Passer, Glenn Watson, Gord Shepherd, Shane Gowan, Sean Grosman, Craig Stevenson and Tyler Hawn.
Cornelius would put the No. 17 Shane Michaels Sales/Sandbox Tech Child Care/Triplecrete/Ed’s Automotive/Hanson Pipe/J.D. Smith Carpentry & Renovations/Fierce Wraps/McColl Racing Enterprises SLM out front ahead of Fitzpatrick, Chenoweth, Balson, Jones and Gallant while Roy Passer and Watson battled for seventh.
Watson would get the spot on lap five, with Shepherd tagging Passer behind him. Shepherd would then move into eighth on lap six ahead of Gary Passer, Gowan, Grosman, Hawn, Roy Passer and Stevenson. Gallant would then get alongside Jones, but the caution would fly on lap 14 for Stevenson stopping in turn two. Roy Passer would head down pit road under caution.
Cornelius would get a good restart to stay ahead of Fitzpatrick, Chenoweth and Balson while Gallant and Watson battled for fifth. Gallant would get the spot on lap 16, with Jones taking sixth on lap 17. Watson would now run seventh ahead of Shepherd, Gary Passer, Grosman, Hawn, Roy Passer and Gowan.
Over the course of the green-flag run, Fitzpatrick would close the gap between himself and Cornelius, using Roy Passer as a pick at lap 34 to get the lead. The caution would then fly, though, for Hawn spinning in turn four with a problem. With 16 laps to go, Cornelius led Fitzpatrick, Chenoweth and Gallant.
Fitzpatrick would grab the lead on the restart while Cornelius headed down pit road with a rear-end problem. In avoiding Hawn’s spin, something broke in the process. The caution would then fly on lap 36 for an incident involving Grosman and Gary Passer in turn one.
Fitzpatrick would get a good restart to keep the lead behind the wheel of the No. 84 Meineke Car Care, Transaxle Heavy Truck & Trailer Parts, Cambridge Rigging, Equipment Express, Jenco Equipment, Bert, McColl Racing Enterprises, Creative Edge Signs, Wix Filters, Permatex, Driven Steering Wheels, Spray Nine, Deon Racecars, Clayton Johns Media and ImageFactor.ca Motorsport Designs SLM ahead of Chenoweth, Gallant, Watson, Balson and Jones. There would be a final restart, though, as the caution would fly with five laps to go for Jones spinning Watson in turn one.
J.R. Fitzpatrick would get a good final restart and lead the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory ahead of Shawn Chenoweth, Charlie Gallant, Kelly Balson, Gord Shepherd, Roy Passer, Shane Gowan, Sean Grosman, Glenn Watson, Corey Jones, Gary Passer, Kevin Cornelius and Tyler Hawn.
As noted, Cornelius was crowned the 2015 series champion virtue of seven wins in nine feature events over the course of the season.
“Not the way I wanted to end it, but we came for the big prize and that’s what we’re taking home,” Cornelius commented post-race. “We wouldn’t be here without all these guys hard work week in and week out and the effort that they put in, and Mike McColl and Gary Leitch. It’s just a collaboration of good equipment and a good team, and just so proud. So proud that we won the championship and that we’re going out on a high.”
Also, Sean Grosman’s season that was highlighted by three top-fives would hand the Florida native the 2015 Rookie of the Year Award with a third place finish in the season-ending standings.