While the Glass City 200 has been filled with prestige and notoriety over its 24 events, there is 1 accomplishment that ranks up near the top of all short track racing. In the years 2002, 2003 and 2004, Saginaw, MI driver Steve Sauve became the second driver to win three Glass City 200 races. What's even more incredible is that the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame member did it 3 years in a row!
Steve is the most recent entry for the 25th Anniversary event next Saturday, September 28. To win another Glass City 200 would put Sauve in the truly elite category for this event, and, for that fact, in all of short track stock car racing.....
We'll start with the 2002 edition of the 200. A young, second-generation driver by the name of Terry Senneker Jr. (#37) made his first trip to Toledo and set fast time at 15:075. And the last-chance race winners? Future NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski (#19) and Donnie Hill (#50), a Columbus, OH Speedway champion. Steve Rollins (#68) took the B Main. 57 Late Models filled the pit area.
A perfect fall afternoon saw an 11 car inversion, putting Sauve on the pole. Scott Hantz (#72) and 1999 race winner Tim Felver shadowed Sauve. Felver pitted with mechanical problems just past lap 50 and Sauve continued out front, leading the field to the lap 100 break.
When the race resumed, Sauve again led the pack, and a lap 127 yellow saw Senneker and a host of others caught up in a melee on the back chute. Jay Sommers and then Harold Fair Jr. moved up through the pack in the late stages, but Sommers dropped out and Fair Jr. spun out coming to the white flag, setting up a 2 lap shootout between Sauve and Hantz. Steve grabbed the popular win, with Hantz second, Scott Baker (#11) third, Joe Bush (#101) fourth and veteran Chuck Roumell (#0) fifth. Rollins win in the 30 lap B Main came over Claude Plante Jr. and Jerry Cook.
With a 12 car inversion, locals Joe Hawes and Jimmy Thiel led the field to the green flag. A quick-hitting downpour caused a pileup in turn 1, bringing out the red flag. Joe stayed out front when the race resumed with Thiel in pursuit. Jimmy went by Joe on lap 67 to take the top spot. Hawes would get caught up in a wreck and Thiel spun in turn 3, giving Sauve the lead as the half-way break came about. Dennis Berry, Hantz, track champ Brian Keselowski (Brad's brother) and Felver made up the top 5 at the break. Felver showed his strength in the 2nd portion of the event, moving up to do battle with Sauve for the lead, and did take the point on lap 159. Sauve, determined to win his second Glass City race, darted back by a few laps later to stay in command and score his second win and another of the beautiful Budweiser Eagle trophies. Felver was second, Dave Kuhlman (#24) third, Berry (#6) fourth and Harold Fair Sr. (#81), who ran the very first Glass City race in 1968, came through with a great 5th place finish.
It would have been a pretty risky bet that Steve Sauve could make it 3 in a row in this race, which features some of the top Late Model drivers in the area. The 2004 race saw 53 cars time in, with Canadian Don St. Denis (#20) setting fast time at 15:055. John Doering Jr. and Donnie Hill captured the last-chance races, while local driver Steve Peters (#26) took the B Main event over Jim Froling and Rob Randa.
Odds-on-favorite Dave Kuhlman was the early leader but Dave exited quickly on lap 8 with electrical woes, ending his bid for a win. Johnny Belott was now the leader, with Scott Stovall chasing him. The pair made contact and both spun. Harold Fair Jr. was now in the number 1 spot and stayed there, running strong to the lap 100 mark, trailed by St. Denis, Freddie Campbell and Sauve. Fair's lead was taken away on lap 136 by Sauve, as he sailed by his competitors into the lead and to his unprecedented third Glass City 200 win in a row. Jack Landis (#10) was second, Felver third (in Tim Curry's #90), Doering Jr.(#5) fourth and Dennis Strickland (#90) fifth.