It was a stellar weekend for Team Rockstar Energy Polaris Racing’s Lee Butler, Iain Hayden, and JB Dennis at the International Grand Prix of Rouyn Noranda in Quebec on January 14/15th. All three drivers mounted the podium to make it a near perfect weekend of racing.
Although Saturday’s heats and finals proved to be a challenge for defending Pro Open Champion, Hayden, his No.3 ranked teammate Butler found himself on top of his game. Butler nabbed 2-3 finishes in his heat races to then run a strong second in the final of the day.
Hayden struggled with the Rouyn Noranda track all day Saturday, especially in the final, which saw him deal with a few get-offs and remounts to eventually finish in fifth place. While many a driver would consider fifth a respectable finish, Hayden, who still managed to record 3-3 results in his heat races, wasn’t very happy with his performance.
“I just wasn’t in tune with the track on Saturday and couldn’t find my groove. The sled worked awesome and I should have been able to run in the top three. But top five is still better than a DNF, because in this series every point you earn is a valuable one, ” Hayden said.
Day one of the CSRA Pro Open title hunt may not have been an exceptional one for Hayden, but day two certainly made up for it.
In his first qualifier, Hayden finished a noteworthy second. He went on to improve on that result with a definitive win in the second qualifier. He had found his groove!
In the final, Hayden put his IQ 600 at the front of the pack, never looking back and running a strong race to greet the checkered flag as winner.
Butler, meanwhile, held up his end by nailing down 3-3 finishes in his qualifiers as well as snaring a third place in the final. Coupled with his second place finish on Saturday, Butler took home the overall win for the weekend.
“I wasn’t quite there to grab a first place finish in any of my races, but I ran consistently all weekend. That was more or less the game plan. When the points were added up, my results were strong enough to give me the overall. So it paid off in the end,” Butler said.
In the Pro Lite Open class, Team Rockstar Energy Polaris Racing’s JB Dennis stepped up to the plate on Sunday by delivering a perfect 1-1-1 score. The young up-and-comer rode flawlessly all day to rack up his first win of the season.
The day before in the Pro Lite Stock class, Dennis showed a lot of promise recording 2-2 finishes in his qualifiers. In the final, however, a last lap bobble cost him a top three finish, dropping him to the back of the pack to take the checkered in 13th place.
“I am really excited with the Pro Lite Open win, especially since I had to really pour on the gas to connect with the front-runners. My IQ delivered the power when I needed it. Saturday’s Pro Lite Stock final turned into a bit of disappointment when I made an error, so going 1-1-1 in the Open was extra sweet,” Dennis said.
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