ST.-MARCEL-DE RICHELIU, Quebec —Mario Clair made history on Friday evening becoming the first driver to win a DIRTcar 358 Modified Series event at Le RPM Speedway.
Clair took the lead on a lap 76 restart and resisted charges from Chris Raabe in the final portion claiming his first DIRTcar 358-Modified Series event of the season.
Pierre Dagenais and Mat Williamson were on the top row of 26-car field that took the initial green in the 100-lap event. Williamson quickly jumped to the lead as Chris Raabe got to second. Carey Terrance hit the outside wall in turn 4 with 2 laps completed.
Only one green lap was done when Daniel Rivard stopped in turn 2 and the yellow was back out. Williamson charged to the lead as RPM Speedway promoter Yan Bussière grabbed third on the issuing restart.
Williamson lead, followed by Raabe in second and Bussiere in third, and the event started to pick up a good rhythm when Brian McDonald hit the wall hard in the front stretch.
While Williamson retained the lead, Steve Bernard was able to pass Yan Bussière for third when the green light came back. Local runner Suzie Langlois slowed the field down on lap 31.
When flagman Benoit Savoie showed the green, the top two remained the same as Mario Clair was able to move up to the third spot. A good battle occurred for the lead as a three-car tangled happened just in front of the flag stand.
At the halfway point, still under caution, Williamson still in the lead over Raabe, Clair, Bussière and veteran Claude Brouillard rounding out the top 5.
Green lights came back on lap 52 with Williamson and Raabe on the top row with Clair behind him, Brouillard, Bussière and Dominic Dufault in the mix for fifth just before Kevin Hamel slowed the field down.
A lap 58 restart saw Clair taking second over Raabe, but the young gun regained his position on lap 60. Another 3-car accident occurred in turn 4.
Williamson kept the lead as the top 5 stayed intact on the restart.
A lap 75 restart saw Williamson and Raabe got slightly together and Mario Clair slipped by and took the lead. Behind the leader, Willamson was involved in an accident with Hebert also in the mix in turn 4 on lap 77.
Using the outside lane, Clair powered by Raabe in the lead; Claude Brouillard was now behind the two leaders with only 20 laps to be completed. Running in the top 5 most of the feature, Bussière stopped in the backstretch
Clair, using the top lane, out-dueled Raabe in the last portion of the event and claimed his first DIRTcar 358-Series win of 2013 over Chris Raabe and Claude Brouillard.
Clair was pretty happy in the winner’s circle: ”we battled hard for this win”, moving up to second in points with this win the #22 driver noted the points chase.