WPCA driver Vern Nolin rides his way to a penalty free finish during the Ponoka Stampede TrailBlazer RV Centre $50,000 Tommy Dorchester Dash for Cash July 2. Nolin earned his first Ponoka championship, along with being the aggregate winner. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Photo finish for WPCA Ponoka Stampede dash for cash

Driver Vern Nolin rides his way to a penalty-free finish and $50,000 more

By Billy Melville

In a highly anticipated TrailBlazer RV Centre $50,000 Tommy Dorchester championship final heat at the Ponoka Stampede, Vern Nolin, Jason Glass, Kirk Sutherland and Kurt Bensmiller survived the semi-final round and ran for the championship at one of chuckwagon racing’s most prestigious events on the WPCA Pro Tour – the Ponoka Stampede.

On one of the most exciting race nights of the year, to a sold out crowd, Nolin – driving the Vold, Jones & Vold Auction Mart outfit, and along with outriders David Bensmiller and Brendan Nolin collected the first-place winner’s cheque and the 2018 Ponoka Stampede Championship.

It was the first Ponoka Stampede Championship for Nolin who was also Ponoka’s aggregate winner, and the first WPCA buckle for outrider Brendan Nolin.

Nolin captured the Ponoka Stampede crown with a penalty free run of 1:16.20 from barrel position number 1. Jason Glass placed second in the heat from barrel position number 2, 45 one-hundredths of a second behind champion Vern Nolin, followed by Kirk Sutherland from barrel position 3, while defending Ponoka Stampede champion Kurt Bensmiller had to settle for fourth place from barrel position 4. Both Sutherland and Bensmiller were assessed penalties, but the penalties did not affect the outcome of the race.

As far as day results go, injured driver Mike Vigen’s Reinhart Oilfield Services Ltd. outfit, driven by Chanse Vigen, grabbed the day money after posting the fast time of the day with a 1:15.31 from barrel number one in the fifth heat. Mark Sutherland placed second, with 2018 Ponoka Stampede Champion Vern Nolin placing third, and Luke Tournier and Layne MacGillivray filling out the top five on the night.

The WPCA Pro Tour will now take a break for the Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby from July 6 to 15.

Kurt Bensmiller is the defending champion, and races will run each night at 8 p.m. MST. Live coverage of the GMC Rangeland Derby can be heard starting at 7:30 on Friday, July 6 on Rural Radio Channel 147 on SiriusXM, Country 99 at 99.7 FM out of Bonnyville, and AM 700 The Light out of Calgary, with 96.5 CKFM out of Olds picking up the final weekend. Television coverage can be seen live on CBC and Sportsnet One all ten nights starting at 8 p.m.

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