ORILLIA, Ont. ; Taylor Holdaway was a man on a mission on Saturday night and drove to his seventh win of the season on Saturday night at Sunset Speedway. The Orillia, Ont. pilot drove his Bay Auto & Truck Parts/Image Factor No.41 from the seventh starting position to earn the win in the second of two 35-lap features. He finished sixth in the first main event.
In total, Holdaway has nine top-5 finishes this season in 14 starts at the Innisfil area oval and has finished outside the top-10 just three times. Saturday night started off with a third-place qualifying effort for Holdaway.
“We finished sixth in the first one after qualifying third. We’re at that point in the year where tire strategy is a big deal. I was good when I was by myself, but as soon as I got in to traffic and got pinched down on the bottom, it wouldn’t rotate through the corner,” Holdaway explained.
Holdaway was in a battle for the fourth spot with two laps to go before a caution put him back to fifth and he slipped to sixth on the green-white-checkered restart. The sixth-place finish lined him up in the seventh starting spot for the second main event where he had to take evasive action to make his way forward.
“We started seventh in the second one and missed a couple of wrecks,” Holdaway said. “We had a great battle with Chris Morrow. I think we ran nine of the last 10 laps side-by-side until I finally cleared him coming to the white flag and we were able to hold him off for the win.”
The battle with Morrow, a seven-time Sunset champion, is the type Holdaway looks forward to on Saturday nights.
“We had a good battle. Him and I are usually able to put on a pretty good show. He’s definitely one of the guys that will race you the way you race him. If you give him the room and run him clean, he’s going to race you back pretty clean,” Holdaway concluded.
The victory solidified a good points night for Holdaway, who reduced Gord Shepherd’s point lead to just five markers.
“We would have liked to finish in the top-five in both. It was still a good weekend. When you’re gaining points on the points leader, it’s a good weekend,” Holdaway said candidly.
Two strong finishes this weekend are certainly positives in the Holdaway Motorsports notebook, but the team won’t be satisfied until another championship trophy is solidified.
“I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself lately. Anytime we don’t win it’s frustrating. On the realistic side, a lot of guys go to the track all year looking for a win. For us, our goal is to get a win a weekend,” Holdaway said. “We’re setting high goals for ourselves. My goal coming in to this season, because we knew weren’t going to repeat what we did last year, was to win seven races.”
Holdaway has already accomplished his goal and is now chasing double digit wins for the second year in a row. It’s certainly a tough feat to achieve, but he’ll have an excellent opportunity to take one step closer with triple 35-lap races on the schedule this weekend, July 30, to make-up for rained out event on July 9.
“We’re going to try and make it double digits. This is where the grind starts setting in and it’s a lot of hours in the shop to make the program successful,” Holdwaway concluded.
“This weekend is going to be huge for the championship. You have to survive all three races. We’re lucky enough we have a backup car if we need it. Hopefully we don’t and we can try to get another win next weekend.”
Event information for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Triple 35s is available at www.sunsetspeedway.ca.
– Sunset Speedway Press Release
– Photo Credit Ashley McCubbin