By Randy Spencer – Lots of exciting racing on the final night of regular season racing at Flamboro Speedway Saturday night. Two familiar favorites were crowned again but the point races were tight like the actual races they ran all season long.
In the Mini Stock division, #31 of Dave Bailey went into the evening leading second place #51 of Eric Yorke by a mere 13 points. In the Thunder Car division, the Rocket #72 Randy Rusnell led second place driver #27 Kevin Albers by 19 points and both drivers showed early they weren’t going to go down with out a fight, each winning their heat race.
Ken Stenhouse #5 and Kyle Mackie #16 led the 23 mini stocks into battle and a couple of team mates tangled early as the #28 of Dale Shaw got high in turn 4 and made contact with the #88 of Mark Dennis sending the two spinning into the infield.. By lap 9, two time champion and current point leader Dave Bailey started his way to the front but not without a battle along the way from the #71 of Russ Aicken and #72 of Rich Schwartzenburg. Kyle Mackie led the race but by lap 16 some pressure from the #55 of Brian Watson and #43 Sarah Miskiewicz was too much for the rookie and that pressure seemed to much and the engine expired and dropped some fluid on the racing surface. Miskiewicz took the lead with Watson on her tail and the familiar orange and white #31 of Bailey in third. A battle for the last 8 laps between Watson and Bailey gave the 43 of Miskiewicz some room and she took the checkered flag for her third feature win of a very impressive rookie season. Dave Bailey was crowned Mini Stock Champion for the third time in four seasons.
Top 3 in the feature: #43 Sarah Miskiewicz, #55 Brian Watson, #31 Dave Bailey. Heat wins: #71 Russ Aicken, #88 Mark Dennis, #31 Dave Bailey.
The Thunder Car championship was pretty much in the bag for Rusnell after his heat victory, but the anticipation of something going wrong for Rusnell, still was on this writers mind. #41 of Gary Slama and #37 Jeff Bean were on the pole with the top 3 points cars, Rusnell , Albers and #13 of Brad Collison bringing up the rear. A mid-race problem forced Rusnell to the pits to change a tire while Albers also was involved in an incident. Once again Rusnell and Albers were at the back looking up at the rest of the pack. Through all the excitement to the rear of the field, #10 of Dennis Cybalski, who had heated battles with Rusnell all year long and was in the points race until just a few weeks ago, led from lap 2 until the 25th lap and took the checkers. Despite finishing near the back of the field along with Albers, the Rocket was once again crowned Thunder Car Champion of Flamboro Speedway for a record fourth straight season. Talking to Rusnell and wife Joanne after the race, the smiles were from ear to ear and Joanne said, “Number one was great, Two was better, Three is for Dale Earnhardt, but the fourth was simply putting a smile on her face.” Not too many words, just a very happy race team!
Top 3 in the feature: #10 Dennis Cybalski, #3 Brad Collison, #73 Nick Troback. Heat wins: #13 Brad Collison, #72 Randy Rusnell.
The Ontario Pro Challenge caped off their season in fine style. The #02 was all but assured of his fourth points title going into the finale. The feature got off to a slow start with the #22 of Jonathan Sloot and #71 of Dario Valente not answering the bell, making the track but not the green flag. On lap 1 the #16 and #88 tangled in turn 3 and 4 and two laps later the #21 of Danielle Wilson got out of shape bringing out yet another caution. By lap 11 Thomson had made his way to a familiar perch, top of the field and would hold off the pack for the feature victory and another points championship. Top 3 in the feature: #02 Dennis Thomson, #66 Josh Nicholson, #88 Tim Norris. Heat wins: #40 Owen Smith, #8 Dale Wilson, #71 Dario Valente.
The Winged Warriors of Speed, the Can Am TQ Midgets capped of the clubs 45th season in style with a some exciting racing. As always they put on a fast paced action packed show. With the #14 and #3 on the pole getting ready for the start, the cars moved into their customary four wide salute to the crowd and (Flamboro announcer Josh Paxton said, “Only the best go four abreast.” Still think thats cool every time I see it!) like little rockets, away they went and back into line for the start. Paul Smith #28 of Cambridge, experienced some engine troubles early and exited the track. #49 Daniel Bois took the lead from #3 Todd Creswell and Bois quickly built a nice lead on Cresswell and the #16 of Chris Holman who were in a heated battle for second. #74 Rob Neely took the lead briefly but the #82 of James Gray made the pass in turn 3 with Gray, Holman and Bois taking turns at the lead with Gray leading the remaining four laps for the feature victory. According to the Can Am Midgets website, “It was the first time in the 45 year history of the Can-Am Midget Racing Club that an ‘official’ Can-Am Championship was won. Neely, the Canadian driver, and Ken & Cindy Lorenz, the American owners won their first title. The last time an American car won the title was 1983.”
Top 3 in feature: #82 James Gray, #49 Daniel Bois, #16 Chris Holman.
Heat wins: #48 Darren McLennan, #16 Chris Holman, #82 James Gray.
So another exciting regular season comes to a close at Flamboro Speedway. Congratulations to all on a fine season including champions, Grisdale Triple Crown Late Model Series-#89 Shawn Chenoweth, Late Model Points Champion #89 Shawn Chenoweth, Thunder Car Points Champion #72 Randy Rusnell, Mini Stock Points Champion #31 Dave Bailey, Pro 4 Modified Points Champion #63 Mark Lucas.
Notes: Dave Mast drove the #82 Mini Stock tonight, Billy Schwartenburg took the #86 of place of Dave Hagedorn who was away and Lindsay Van Wyngaarden got behind the wheel of the #92. Russ Aicken #71 took his heat and fourth in the feature to finish a successful season in third place in Mini Stocks, #43 Sarah Miskiewicz was second in her heat and took her third feature checkered flag to have a successful end to a great rookie season and the #81 of Sam Shaw finished her second season very strong with a second in her heat, eighth in the feature and a couple of heat race victories along the way.
The Iron Man, Gary Elliott piloted the #0 Thunder Car of Super Dave Osborne for the evening, and Brad Collison capped off another very successful year with a heat win and second place finish in the feature. The Ontario Pro Challenge sported a fine field of at least 9 rookies this year. Rob Howden of Cambridge in the #5, made his first appearance of the year. Howden who founded the Howden Media Group and founder of four very successful karting websites including ekarting.com is the son of Wayne Howden a very successful Late Model and Super Late Model driver at tracks around the province in the 70′s and 80′s including Flamboro.
And last but not least, this weekend the final race event of the season, Oktoberfest Weekend Classic, 2 days of racing with 6 classes and over 200 laps of feature racing on the Sunday. Check the Flamboro Speedway website, http://www.flamborospeedway.itgo.com/ for more information.