Jerry Bremner has moved into serious contention.
The Westerose, Alta., driver came off the fourth barrel last night and posted a 1:20.55, the fastest time on Night 3 of the Grande Prairie Stompede.
Bremner vaulted his TrailBlazer RV Centre rig from fifth to second in the aggregate standings.
The top four after tonight's heats will race in tomorrow's $25,000 championship dash.
"It's pretty nice positioning," Bremner said. "I can't complain at all."
Especially since he had to run the entire race three wide.
"I haven't had the rail since I've been here," he chuckled. "But the horses started, ran hard and they never let up."
With one final qualifying run tonight, Bremner will finally have a shot at the rail, coming off the No. 1 barrel.
"We're praying for sunshine now," he said. "We need to dry it up along the rail."
Bremner, who has a three-day running total of 4:00.58, likes the look of his barn in the early going of the WPCA season.
"We're three runs in, so I don't take anything for granted in this sport.
"But last year was a trying, learning season with those young horses. It takes awhile for them to season and mature into wagon horses.
"But you always hope they're going to go out there and give you what you're looking for every night."
Bremner finished seventh on the world charts last season. The four-time world champion, who claimed the 1993 Rangeland Derby, won the Stompede title in 1994.
Chad Harden (Neil Withers Trucking) continues to hold down top spot after three nights at 3:59.29. After Bremner, Luke Tournier (Happy Trails RV; 4:00.84) and Mark Sutherland (Swamp Donkey Hot Shot Service; 4:00.84) round out the top four.
High River's Jason Glass (Birchcliff Energy Ltd.) is fifth at 4:02.53.
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AROUND THE BARRELS: For the second straight night, Grande Prairie's Mark Sutherland (Swamp Donkey Hot Shot Services) posted the second-fastest time of 1:20.99 on his home track. Chad Harden (Neil Withers Trucking) was third at 1:21.02. Rounding out the top 10 were Rick Fraser (Kendal Pipelines; 1:21.49), Luke Tournier (Happy Trails RV; 1:21.49), Kelly Sutherland (Kledo Construction; 1:21.79), Hugh Sinclair (65 North Contractors; 1:21.83), Norm Cuthbertson (Rod Streeper Trucking; 1:21.85), Neal Walgenbach (Super 8 Motel; 1:22.01) and Kurt Bensmiller (Cascade Services Partnership; 1:22.06).
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ON THE MEND: Outrider Kyle Lawrence remained in a Grande Prairie hospital yesterday recovering from minor injuries resulting from an incident Thursday night.
Steve Fountain said Lawrence is in high spirits.
"Like a typical cowboy, he's been asking how the horses are," Fountain said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we see him back in a few weeks."
Lawrence suffered no broken bones in the mishap but his injuries could have been much more severe, Fountain said.
"I think if there's anything that saved that man, it was his flackjacket," Fountain said.
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ON THE AIR: Catch all the action from Night 4 of the Grande Prairie Stompede live on AM 910 at 7:30 p.m.