By Randy Spencer for OntarioOval.com – It’s that time of year, the summer is drawing to a close and it’s the start of SILLY SEASON!!! With only 3 race events remaining for the Late Models and Thunder Cars and four for the Mini Stocks, combined with a double points night, it made for some exciting racing action and even a little drama mixed in. And you may have thought it was Halloween as orange cars were the lucky cars on the night. Rob Hoskins, Mark Burbridge and Jeff Stewart showed orange cars were the color to beat in feature racing.
Adding to the craziness was an additional feature for the Late Models and it was double points night for all divisions. The Grisdale Late Models got the night off with a couple of heat races. Shane Gowan and Brad Corcoran took checkered flags. Scott Simmons and Russ Aicken were heat winners in Ponderosa Nature Resort Mini Stocks. The Ray’s Auto Center & Towing Thunder Cars heat wins went to Jeff Bean and Shawn Arnott while the open wheel division, the Pro 4 Modifieds had two heats with Dave Asbury Jr. and Rib Divenanzo picking up victories.
That brought the intermission and it was Fan Appreciation Night so most cars lined up on the front stretch and the fans poured on the raceway to meet their heroes and collect some autographs. Lots of extra prizes were up for grabs for fans of all ages. Let’s Landscape Together, sponsor of the #01 Mini Stick of Mark DaSilva, put up a couple of kid’s bicycles. DaSilva also put up a New Car Wash Kit, t-shirt, hat and back pack from his employer, Leggatt Auto Group. Brad Collison and his sponsor London Recreational put up their usual prizes as well as a couple of door panels given away to a couple of young fans in attendance. Dale Shaw and the rest of the Shaw racing team put up a great looking basket filled with candy, a hat and some great die cast cars for another lucky young fan. They annually give a great basket away to show the fans their appreciation all season long. After all the fans filled up on candy and autographs, it was back to the stands to get the feature racing underway.
The Late Models stayed on the track and got their first feature underway. This was the feature for the night so double points were on the line. And missing in action was the #8 of Paul Howse. Howse was first in points at the start of the night, just 4 points up on defending champion Jason Shaw. A broken axle was the culprit and Howse had no choice but to get hard at it and get the car ready for the make up feature later in the evening. Shane Gowan sat on the pole and he led the first 6 laps but Jeff Stewart got by and led the last 23 laps and picked up the checkered flag. Nineteen Mini Stocks took the green for their feature and before the cars could complete a lap the yellow came out and Ken Stenhouse Jr. took a hard hit to the front end and as a result he left the track with his front right wheel not turning. The remainder of the race ran pretty clean with a four car battle between Rob Hoskins, Russ Aiken, point leader Billy Schwartzenburg and the #13 of Mike Holmes. As the green flag flew it was Rob Hoskins winning another feature, his sixth feature win in 2012.
The silliness continued into the Thunder Car Feature. Just 10 points separated the top three cars at the beginning of the night with Kevin Albers sitting on top followed by Nick Troback and defending champion Brad Collison. All was going off pretty well until the cars passed the start finish line on lap 17. Going into turn one (I didn’t see it) the cars were battling for position. From what I understand some of the top runners, Collison, Albers, Rick Burbridge and a few others got tangled and as a result Burbridge and Collison got together and were heading for the wall. Both cars climbed the wall and Burbridge, although was unable to continue he went up but not over. That couldn’t be said for Collison who climbed the wall and kept going and in almost slow motion rolled over and ended up on his roof. Great work by the Ray’s Towing crew prevented further damage to the 13 car. After a fairly lengthy delay, crews got the car over and Collison was taken out and was ok. The green came out again and it stayed that way until the end and Mark Burbridge, who had led from lap one, took his sixth feature victory of the season. The Pro 4 feature was another exciting affair. Robert Mercer led early but by lap 3 the Dave Hodgkinson owned car, piloted by real life pilot Rob Divenanzo, took the lead and held it until the last lap going into turn three when what seemed to be almost a speed wobble caused Divenanzo to let off the gas and the gave Cliff Hodgkinson the advantage he was looking for and he crossed the line first in another photo finish in the Pro 4 feature. The final race of the night was the rained out feature from August 4th. Paul Howse had his car repaired and back for this feature. Howse battled with Steve Laking but he couldn’t get by and Laking picked up the second and final feature race of the night for the Late Models.
Another great night of racing was in the books and due to the on track autograph session at intermission, Gord Bennett and his Full Throttle team held their two seater Late Model ride alongs at the end of the night. Once again lots of excited fans and HUGE smiles!! Don’t forget to join us this Saturday September 8th, when ALL STUDENTS are admitted FREE with a VALID STUDENT CARD ID. Late Models, Thunder Cars, Mini Stocks, Pro 4 Modifieds and the Ontario Pro Challenge will he on hand. Pit Gates Open at 4pm, Grandstand Opens at 5pm, Qualifying gets under way at 6:30pm with Main Events starting at 8pm. And in two weeks time a special night, Saturday September 15th is Late Model Championship Night as well as the Annual Memorial Night and they’ll be joined by Thunder Cars, Mini Stocks and the Pure Stocks. Pit Gates Open at 4pm, Grandstand Opens at 5pm, Qualifying gets under way at 6:30pm with Main Events starting at 8pm. Some more names will be added to the Memorial Trophy. I’m looking forward to attending a BBQ at the Sobey’s in Waterdown Saturday morning September 15th. Some of the Flamboro race cars will be on hand including the Full Throttle late model and some other local heroes. A joint venture between Sobey’s and Flamboro Speedway, all donations at the BBQ will go to the local food bank. Watch for an and in the Flamborough Review.
Don’t forget to plan on joining us this Tuesday and every Tuesday, weather permitting, and sign up for a ride in the Full Throttle Marketing and Promotions two seat Late Model race car during track practice day. It’s an amazing ride, I loved it!! They have a special on NOW, just $10 per lap!! Also every Thursday night, the race car Cruise night from 5-8pm at the Walmart store parking lot on Pinebush Road Cambridge location where you can get up close and meet the racers and see the cars and get an autograph and pictures. See you all at the track!!
Pro 4 Modifieds : The Pro 4 Modifieds continued to play musical chairs moving different drivers in and out. Dave Hodgkinson continues to re-cover from a broken ankle and Rob Divenanzo was back in the hot seat and once again made a great showing. The past four races before tonight, Divenanzo had won three of four. He did lose one of those to a one spot penalty for jumping the start but anyway you look at it he has been impressive in his short career with the Pro 4′s. Hogkinson, a veteran of many years with the Pro Four club, has put together a rocket ship and the car had won four features in 2012 between Hodgkinson and Divenanzo. It hasn’t been enough however as Blake Bomberry is in the lead a top the Pro 4 Point Standings. Bomberry was out early in tonight’s feature so once the points are tallied, we’ll see where that leaves Bomberry. Nice to see a dirt racer out and back behind the wheel. Sprint car racer Ryan Hunsinger was behind the wheel of Craig Shaver’s #8. Unfortunately, Hunsinger had some bad luck and the car broke in practice and he didn’t get to get the car out for heats or the feature. Nice to see Dave Asbury Jr. pick up his first win in the #31. Unfortunately he didn’t make the call for the feature. Another veteran, Larry Westwood who has raced everything from a hobby car to and Can AM Midget and Hurricane Midget was in the #65 car tonight. During the practice session, Westwood had his #21 Hurricane Midget out turning some laps. Didn’t see it but I heard it as something broke and Westwood took a hard hit to the turn four wall. Westwood was ok and made the night of racing in the Pro 4 car. Nice to see Lisa Hodgkinson back behind the wheel of the #46 car.
Thunder Cars : Scott Laporte’s bad luck with problems under the hood continue. Gotta feel for Scott and his crew and they have gone through several engine’s and transmissions and had a lot of bad luck with a torn up race car after a promising start posting two heat wins early on. He took the green flag and ended up with a DNF in the heat and feature. They’ll work on the transmission again this week after another leaking seal ended their night early. Nice to see the veteran Stan Pokupec out in the #14 car owned by Harry Nicholson and usually piloted by Rob Istead. Pokupec has been a fixture around tracks since the late 1960′s. Pokupec normally races with the Pro 4 club, a group he is known as a “founding father”. Pokupec finished ninth in the thunder car heat but he ended up with a DNF in the feature. As mentioned earlier, just ten points separated the top three cars. Kevin Albers led with 1787 points with Nick Troback second with 1778 and Brad Collison third at 1777. When Burbridge, Collison and Albers tangled in the feature, it gave Nick Troback a boost. Albers finished fifth after being slowed with some minor damage in the incident. Collison, who ended the feature upside down, obviously didn’t finish. After the race, I talked to Brad’s dad Jim Collison and I mentioned the car didn’t look to bad. He told me however that there was a lot of damage that was underneath. The frame was bent among a few other serious problems so we’ll see what happens this week and how the car does going into next weekend. Mark Burbridge picked up his 11th win of the year, including 6 features. It’s either been wreckers or checkers and although he has made 16 of 17 events, the few DNF’s have put him out of the points race. But a big win in the double points night feature and a third in the heat will vault Burbridge up the ladder for sure. Nice to see some cars out that haven’t made a lot of shows of late. Dave Silverthorn Jr., Chris Van Dusen, Bill Pearsall and Wayne Phillips were out and joined by Jeremy Bean who was making his second start in the #87 while Kacey Huffman had his #18 dirt car out for his first try at the 1/3 mile paved oval.
Late Models : Brad Corcoran was back and surely chomping at the bit to get back to victory lane. Work commitments forced Corcoran to miss the final race of the Grisdale championship as well as the Gold Rush 100 race. Corcoran wasted little time picking up the heat win and a third in the second feature. Corcoran still sits just 25 points back of the leader Paul Howse as the night got underway. Speaking of Howse, his seat a top the Grisdale points standings took a hit as he missed the first, double points feature. The broken axle kept him on the sidelines but undoubtedly a quick trip to the race shop by Jr. Hanley got Howse back together and out for the final race of the night. Steve Laking picked up a feature win and that helped his chase as he was only 9 points back of Howse at the start. Dale Shaw who has been have an outstanding rookie year in the late model sat fifth in points with 915. A broken tie rod forced him to a DNF in the heat race but had a couple of seventh place finishes in the features. Thanks to the Shaw clan for a great prize the donated, something the Shaw crew does for Fan Appreciation night every year. Shane Gowan, who had Kenny Wallace race his car in the Gold Rush 100 recently still had the set up for Kenny in his car. He seemed to hold it together pretty well winning his heat and started pretty well from the pole in both features, bringing it home to a couple of sixth place finishes. Look forward to talking with Shane and his dad “Smoker” Ray, a long time Flamboro racer over the years about their racing careers. Shane said his dad will loan me a couple of huge containers of old Flamboro memorabilia. That will be a great addition to the Flamboro Hall of Fame and Museum. Big thanks to Bruce Bennett, owner of the #56 Late Model for the thousands of old racing photos he has loaned me as well the first large tote of old racing programs. All donations or stuff on loan is so appreciated, this will make the Hall of Fame and Museum be the best it can be for all to view.
Mini Stocks : Rob Hoskins had his orange #37 back out this week after he gave the newer style yellow #37 bug out last week with minimal success. He picked up another feature win, his sixth of the year, eleventh checkered flag overall for 2012. Thirteen year old Brandon McFerran has been tearing up the local tracks of late. A brand new Bev Thring built machine has put McFerran in victory lane three times in August with 2 feature victories at Sunset and his first at Flamboro a couple weeks ago. He didn’t have good luck tonight however mixing it up in the heat with a little damage to the front left corner and an eighth in the feature and the front of the car looked more like a modified car than a mini stock at race end. Mark DaSilva had hoped for a better night with double points night and his sponsors on hand but it wasn’t meant to be. He mentioned that the car ran like a dump truck last week and made some adjustments and hoped for better results. Thanks to Mark and his sponsors Let’s Landscape Together and Leggatt Chevrolet for all the great prizes they donated including a couple of great kids bikes. Nice to see Rich Schwartzenburg back in the #18 car. Talking to Ricky during intermission he told me of his bad luck and having less than 60 laps on three engines this season. In the heat race he didn’t have reverse, first or second gear and raced it in third but figured he had it ready for the feature. He did finish the feature and hoping for better luck for Ricky, such a nice guy who works hard with the rest of the Spira crew to get the car out there every week and keep his younger brother Billy on top of the Mini Stock points standings. Billy was 32 points up on defending champ Dave Bailey at the start of racing. A third in the heat and feature should keep him on top as Bailey had a second place in the heat gave way to a DNF in the feature. Samantha Shaw was in third at the start followed by Mike Holmes in fourth and Russ Aicken rounding out the top 5. A heat win and a second in the feature should help Aiken move up a little when the points come out later this week.
UNOFFICIAL Results (scored finish, not official)
Pro 4 Modified Heat #1: #31 Dave Asbury Jr., #24 Blake Bomberry, #9 Brian Nanticoke, #65 Larry Westwood, #46 Lisa Hodgkinson, #91 Robert Mercer (DNF), #68 Aaron Turkey (DNF)
Pro 4 Modified Heat #2: #36 Rob Divenanzo, #08 Cliff Hodgkinson, #43 John Verney, #63 Mark Lucas, #37 Dan Nanticoke, #93 Dan Petit, #3 Shannon Morris (DNF), #8 Ryan Hunsinger (DNS)
Pro 4 Modified Feature: #08 Cliff Hodgkinson, #36 Rob Divenanzo, #43 John Verney, #63 Mark Lucas, #37 Dan Nanticoke, #65 Larry Westwood, #9 Brian Nanticoke, #91 Robert Mercer, #93 Dan Petit, #68 Aaron Turkey, #46 Lisa Hodgkinson, #24 Blake Bomberry (DNF), #31 Dave Asbury Jr. (DNS), #8 Ryan Hunsinger (DNS), #3 Shannon Morris (DNS)
Mini Stock Heat #1: #44 Scott Simmons, #5 Ken Stenhouse, #1 Josh Shantz, #22 Wade Watson, #94 Jake Gilbert, #10 Courtney Scott, #32 Glen Vandergeld, #05 Dave Goodacre, #61 Chad Ditner (DNS)
Mini Stock Heat #2: #71 Russ Aicken, #31 Dave Bailey, #86 Billy Schwartzenburg, #81 Samantha Shaw, #37 Rob Hoskins, #13 Mike Holmes, #64 Brandon McFerran, #18 Rich Schwartzenburg, #47 Bruce Wheller, #01 Mark DaSilva (DNS)
Mini Stock Feature: #37 Rob Hoskins, #71 Russ Aicken, #86 Billy Schwartzenburg, #13 Mike Holmes, #1 Josh Shantz, #22 Wade Watson, #64 Brandon McFerran, #44 Scott Simmons, #47 Bruce Wheller, #10 Courtney Scott, #32 Glen Vandergeld, #94 Jake Gilbert, #18 Rich Schwartzenburg, #31 Dave Bailey (DNF), #05 Dave Goodacre, #61 Chad Ditner (DNF), #5 Ken Stenhouse, #01 Mark DaSilva (DNF), #81 Samantha Shaw (DQ)
Thunder Car Heat #1: #37 Jeff Bean, #13 Brad Collison, #02 Mark Burbridge, #5 Linda Dean, #55 Chris Howse, #4 Gary Slama, #73 Nick Troback, #27 Kevin Albers, #7 Bobby Mercer, #89 Bill Watson, #88 Scott Laporte (DNF)
Thunder Car Heat #2: #76 Shawn Arnott, #2 Rick Burbridge, #9 Dave Silverthorn Jr., #38 Bill Pearsall, #87 Jeremy Bean, #81 Chris Van Dusen, #31 Kevin Gallant, #01 Wayne Phillips, #13 Stan Pokupek, #18 Kacey Huffman
Thunder Car Feature: #02 Mark Burbridge, #76 Shawn Arnott, #73 Nick Troback, #81 Chris Van Dusen, #27 Kevin Albers, #4 Gary Slama, #7 Bobby Mercer, #37 Jeff Bean, #89 Bill Watson, #55 Chris Howse, #9 Dave Silverthorn Jr., #01 Wayne Phillips, #5 Linda Dean, #2 Rick Burbridge (DNF), #13 Brad Collison (DNF), #38 Bill Pearsall (DNF), #31 Kevin Gallant (DNF), #13 Stan Pokupek (DNF), #88 Scott Laporte (DNF)
Late Model Heat #1: #39 Shane Gowan, #86 Kenny Forth, #56 Jeff Stewart, #22 Bill Lassaline, #61 Brent Wheller, #77 Matt Balog, #58 Paul Dudnick
Late Model Heat #2: #05 Brad Corcoran, #82 Jason Shaw, #8 Paul Howse, #44 Steve Laking, #24 Brennan Didero, #9 Jeff Ruddy, #83 Dale Shaw (DNF)
Late Model Feature (regular feature): #56 Jeff Stewart, #44 Steve Laking, #24 Brennan Didero, #82 Jason Shaw, #86 Kenny Forth, #39 Shane Gowan, #83 Dale Shaw, #05 Brad Corcoran, #22 Bill Lassaline, #9 Jeff Ruddy, #77 Matt Balog, #58 Paul Dudnick, #61 Brent Wheller (DNF), #8 Paul Howse (DNS)
Late Model Feature (from August 4th): #44 Steve Laking, #8 Paul Howse, #05 Brad Corcoran, #82 Jason Shaw, #22 Bill Lassaline, #39 Shane Gowan, #83 Dale Shaw, #77 Matt Balog, #9 Jeff Ruddy, #58 Paul Dudnick, #56 Jeff Stewart (DNF), #61 Brent Wheller (DNS)