Paull backs up prediction with victory

He intended to do it and, earlier this month, Gavin Paull said he would do it.
“We’re ready to win at the fair, that’s what we’re going for,” Paull had announced.
And Paull did just that Saturday night at the Emo Speedway by taking the checkered flag in the 22-car feature race of the WISSOTA Modified division.
And by fulfilling on his prediction, he, in turn, drew similarities to “Broadway Joe” Namath, who back in 1969 guaranteed victory in Super Bowl III by his underdog N.Y. Jets over the heavily-favoured Baltimore Colts.
“We were pretty excited and had a pretty good celebration,” said Paull. “We’re pumped that we were able to back up what I had said.”
A packed grandstand saw Paull start in 13th position [he had finished fourth in his heat] but grab the lead after only eight laps. He never had to check his rear-view mirror for any challengers after that.
But that’s not to say the race wasn’t without drama.
As the white flag was being waved, Paull was about to lap Jake Kamm and Glen Strachan, and decided to split the two cars. And then. . . .
“I was lapping traffic and I had the lead by about half-a-lap, and there was one guy in the bottom and one guy on the top,” he recalled. “I was going to make my move and go right in between them, and I did and the guy in the bottom got up on the side of me.
“I was little bit bummed at the track [officials] because every other race track has a move-over flag for lapped cars and they didn’t seem to use the flag during the race.
“They should’ve been doing that because that is a rule,” said Paull.
But it didn’t matter as Paull still won the race by a comfortable margin—and got a surprise afterwards.
You see, Paull, 24, was unsure if his long-time girlfriend, Joelle Blanc, would be able to attend the race. So the win became even sweeter when he saw her make her way through the pits afterwards.
“I didn’t know that she was in the stands,” he said. “She said that she was maybe going to come and then she showed up and I saw her coming down the pits after and she was pretty happy.”
The moment would have been even sweeter if Paull’s mother, Nancy, could have been there, but somebody had to watch Garett, who is Gavin and Joelle’s new-born baby.
“My mom was babysitting and she was kind of bummed out because she hadn’t seen me win all year,” noted Paull, who has three feature wins in eight tries this season.
Adding to his motivation (and pressure) to win was Paull’s poor performance on Friday night, when he had to bow out of the feature after he broke a bar on his suspension.
That happened when he was in seventh place after being put to the back of the pack stemming from a crash he had been involved in.
But Friday did treat Marc Johnson well, as he was able to take the checkered flag (Johnson didn’t race on Saturday).
The weekend, as a whole, treated Jamie Davis the best, as he was distinguished as the Rea Memorial points winner in the Modified class by garnering third place on Friday and a second-place finish on Saturday.
“We’re really happy with the way things worked out,” said Davis, who also is the points leader for the season in the Modifieds division. And though he hasn’t won a feature yet this season, Davis said he prefers to be consistent and that a top finish eventually will come.
“Consistency takes a lot more work, so I shoot for consistency,” reasoned Davis, who had never finished a feature in his two previous appearances at the Emo Fair (he broke down both times).
John Hettinga also had an impressive weekend by being named the points winner for the Midwest Modifieds. He claimed the checkered flag on Friday and then took third place on Saturday behind winner Don Smith.
Hettinga couldn’t be reached for comment prior to press time.
In the Street Stock class, Jeff Wickstrom’s two second-place finishes gave him the points title. Gary Grimes won Friday night’s feature while Rob Ranttalo did so Saturday.
Wickstrom also couldn’t be reached for comment.
The Borderland Racing Association has its season championships slated for this Saturday (Aug. 27) at the Emo Speedway, with hot laps starting at 7 p.m.