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Chase Pinsonneault Wins 7th Running of Big O Classic


Owosso Speedway

Chase Pinsonneault Wins 7th Running of Big O Classic

With $10,000 on the line, the stars of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour invaded the Owosso Speedway for the first of three visits in 2024 for the 7th Running of the Big O Classic presented by Reefer Peterbilt. The event, which ties back to the inaugural season of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour in 2011 when the first edition of the event was won by current NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones.

The festivities would take place in front of a large Memorial Day Weekend crowd. The first event on the Speedway would be the Gross Construction Street Stocks. The race would see a series of battles as Jim Miller Sr. looked to keep his winning streak alive, while the other stars of the Street Stock wars would look to upend him. Miller would have tremendous battles between himself and Defending Track Champion Ron Hart, and fast qualifier Tim Lahar, including very hard fought restart in the latter stages of the race. But it was to be Miller taking yet another victory. Lahar and Hart completed the podium positions while Larry Seely and Norm Overhiser claimed the remaining top five positions. Miller Sr., and Jim Miller Jr. both won heat races while Lahar set the mark in qualifying 16.217. Miller Sr. and Lahar would both get the 10 bonus points for being the hard charger of the race, each advancing eight positions in the feature.

The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour would run next in what may be the most exciting 100 lap race on the new Owosso Speedway surface that was laid down prior to the 2023 season. Cole Williams would lead the early runnings of the race, but the crux of the race was the titanic duel between Chase Pinsonneault, the young Canadian driver racing for Carson Hocevar Racing, and Evan Shotko, the West Michigan driver racing a chassis he himself built to compete. The two drivers would spend countless laps trading the lead back and forth, neither giving an inch in what would go down as an instant classic. However, after having two prior victories snatched away painfully, the young Canadian Pinsonneault would win the 7th running of the Big O Classic to claim his first victory on American soil. Part-time NASCAR Canada Series driver Kyle Steckly would snatch away second place from Shotko in the closing stages of the event, leading a Maple Leaf stampede on the top two. Shotko was third with Brett Robinson and Billy VanMeter. Qualifying was claimed by Pinsonneault with a 14.775.

The Michigan Paving and Materials All-American Trucks were the penultimate feature of the evening. In a moment of sometimes it’s better to be lucky, the as yet undefeated Greg Long III looked to be on track to being defeated for the first time in 2024. Darren Burton, who had fought through a litany of mechanical gremlins over the course of the 2024 season looked to be on course to claim his first victory of the season and potentially turn around what had been to this point an abysmal start to the year. But whether is be a voodoo curse, or the full moon, Lady Luck was not going to smile on Darren Burton this evening. After seeming to have reduced power down the back straight away, Burton would abruptly pull into the infield, giving the lead over to Long III. That would be all she wrote as Greg Long III took another trip to victory lane. Junior Gokee would come home second, with Brad Reseigh, Greg Long Jr., and Mark Palmer bringing home the top five. Walt Dalrymple Jr., Andrew Burton, and Mark Palmer were the heat race winners, while Long III set the mark in qualifying with a 18.402. Long III got the hard charger bonus for advancing the most positions with a gain of 11 spots. Long III was also presented with the Kimball Midwest Challenge, which allowed him to start at the tail of the field for a rolling $100 bonus. He declined, so the Challenge will grow to $700 for next week.

The Flory Crane Rental Sport Compacts were the closing act of the night. This race would be a shining example of the eternal struggle between Father and Son. Matt Elsey Sr. tried everything he could to keep what may be the fastest Compact in Michigan, and his son, Matthew Elsey Jr. behind him. The craft Elsey Sr. would use every trick in the book to try to keep his son at bay, but a late restart would allow Junior to start even with Senior and that was the end of it, as Matthew Elsey Jr. took the win over his father. Bryson Hosner came home third, with Don Rufener III and Damian Watters completing the top five. Andrew Bethards won the B Main. Dustin Workman, Frank Trupiano, Adam Whittaker, and Elsey Jr. won heats. Elsey Jr. made it a clean sweep with fast qualifier honors with a 16.935. Elsey Jr. also claimed the Hard Charger bonus for advancing nine positions.

Article Credit: Chris Fobbe

Submitted By: Chris Fobbe

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