AKWESASNEY -- Barry Griffith (Westville) captured the win in Mohawk International Raceway's annual IronMan Slick Track Enduro 100 on Sunday.
The race was a true test of endurance, as he finished the race on only three tires as his right front tire went flat on lap 92 before disintegrating on lap 97.
Despite being slowed dramatically, Griffith was able to hold off Ray Mead (Massena), who came from being two laps down at the half-way point to finish second and who was originally was believed to have been the winner.
The Slick Track Enduro 100 started in typical fashion, with over 40 cars taking the green flag and the mad dash into turn one leading to cars spinning, sliding and slamming into each other.
As the dust settled, a large knot of cars nearly blocked turn one while the rest of the field raced for the backstretch. Former Enduro division star Joe Jock (West Potsdam) took the early lead, but MIR 358 Modified star Perry Francis snagged the lead as the lap counter clicked off 15 laps.
Francis would lead until the checkered flag waved to signify the half-way mark.
The first 50 laps were slowed by two red flags for rolled cars, but there were no injuries in either of the incidents. With 50 laps complete, the racers were allowed to return to the pit area to prepare for the final 50 lap grind while the track was re-watered.
The start of the second 50 laps saw the afternoon's most serious incident, as Francis was tagged from behind on the backstretch and slammed into the jersey barriers in front of the billboards.
The race was red-flagged and while Francis initially assured safety crews that he was fine, he did later complain of shoulder pain and was transported for observation.
The restart handed the lead back to Joe Jock, with Pete Backus (Huevelton), Griffith, and Ben St. Ann (Westville) the only cars remaining on the lead lap. Ray Mead, Jamie Martin (Fort Covington), Scott Kocher (Waddington), Robert Berger and Adam Delormier (Cornwall Island, ONT) were all two laps back at the half-way point.
The final 50 laps were a true battle of attrition, as Jock looked like he was going to win the race until the grind took its toll on the car: He slammed the wall on lap 74, bringing out the red flag.
Jock was uninjured, but the pounding of the race so badly damaged the car that the motor mounts broke and the car's engine dropped down onto the track.
Pete Backus now paced the field and looked like he was headed to victory lane, but the right front drive wheel broke, turning hard right and eventually breaking entirely, ending his day just before the lap 90 mark.
It was during this run that Ray Mead began his charge, making up a lost lap as he was clearly the fastest car on the track. After Backus retired, Ben St. Ann inherited the lead, with Barry Griffith a straightaway behind.
St. Ann's run came to an end on the backstretch with five laps to go, as a cloud of smoke gushed from the car and he limped to the edge of the track.
Griffith took over the top spot, but his right front tire had gone flat on lap 92 -- faced with the choice between pitting for a new tire and possibly losing laps or trying to finish the race, Griffith pushed on, shredding the tire completely over the next five laps and running the final three laps with only the steel wheel, which dug a large furrow in the hard clay as he circled the track.
While Mead was on the charge and appeared to be leader as the laps counted down, when the checkered flag waved and MIR scorers consulted their scoring sheets, they determined that Griffith had completed the full 100 lap distance, while Mead had only completed 99 laps. The final check of the scoring sheets took nearly half an hour before the winner could be officially declared.
The IronMan Slick Track Enduro 100 concluded the 2010 racing season at Mohawk International Raceway, but plans are already being drawn up for the 2011 season, with a Spring opening set for May 2011. Race teams and fans are encouraged to keep updated about the coming season by visiting www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com.
MOHAWK INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2010 IRONMAN SLICK TRACK ENDURO 100 (100 laps; Top ten only, with # of laps completed): Barry Griffith (100), Ray Mead (99), Jamie Martin (98), Scott Kocher (98), Wyatt Mullin (96), Todd Marlow (95), Bennett White (95), Owen White (95), Paul Backus (94), Ryan Phillips ((94).
Mohawk International Raceway is located midway between the Seaway International Bridge to Cornwall, ONT and the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. From Route 37, turn south onto Frogtown Road. Racing is held on Friday nights at 7:45 PM from May through September, featuring the Frenchie's Chevrolet DIRTcar 358 Modifieds, Sportsman and Pro Stocks, as well as the Bandit division.
The website is at www.MohawkInternationalRaceway.com. The MIR office is 518-358-3225 and on race days, the track number is 518-358-9017. The track is owned and operated by Mohawk International Raceway, LLC.