Taking the checkered flag again

Jason VandeKamp took home a large payday when he won the B-modified feature race Sunday at the Thunder Bay Truck Centre Dirt Nationals at Mosquito Speedway. VandeKamp was also last year’s winner.

The record shows Jason VandeKamp has won the last two B-modified feature crowns at the Thunder Bay Truck Centre Dirt Nationals.

It was anything but easy.

The Scandia, Minn.-based driver withstood four caution flags and several close rallies from fellow American Brandon Copp to capture the main event race and $12,000 at Mosquito Speedway on Sunday.

Copp finished third behind VandeKamp and Thunder Bay’s David Simpson, the race’s top local driver.

“Last year there were a lot of cautions and this year there were a lot of cautions,” said the 41-year-old VandeKamp. “When you’re leading, you don’t want cautions and when you’re not leading, you want some cautions. That’s just kind of how it goes.”

The 24-car field in the finals got down and dirty for 50 laps on the track affected by rain throughout the week. Conditions cleared up for race days on Saturday and Sunday, allowing the sixth annual of these nationals to draw close to 1,500 fans on the final day of action.

VandeKamp earned the necessary points over the heats to run the lead spot along with Copp, Simpson and Colin Chaschack in the feature. It was Copp who would give VandeKamp fits throughout.

“I saw (Copp) under me a few times and during one of those restarts, I was just hoping not for a slide job so I wouldn’t be able to pull away again,” VandeKamp said.

Copp ended up fading behind Simpson after the final restart triggered the start of the last six laps. Five of the 25 cars that lined up in the feature failed to finish the race.

Thunder Bay’s Joel Cryderman, who was making a return to the track after a nine-year hiatus, was the sentimental favourite of the crowd. Driving Shawn Polonoski’s No. 51, Cryderman failed to reach the feature via the heat races, but won a six-car Last Chance Race to sit in the back row of the final. He managed to work his way to sixth place.

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