BRIGHTON, ON (September 22, 2020)- The racing action was wire to wire at the 16th annual Applefest “Lite” at Brighton Speedway on Saturday night. With six divisions and 127 stock cars the race card was jam packed and drivers were dialed in for a night of high octane.
The night was broadcast live on GForce TV and to fans delight can be re watched on YouTube. The DIRTcar Sportsman headlined the event along with the Late Models, Canadian Modified/UMP’s, the Eastern Ontario Vintage Stock Club, Thunder Stocks and Comp 4/Mini Stock engaging in 185 feature laps on top of multiple heats and timed hot laps.
Hennessy scores back-to-back late model wins
Following a rare misstep that cost him the Canadian Modified feature, No. 87 Andrew Hennessy wasn’t going to let anything stand between him and victory in the Late Model Open 40-lap race.
No. 46 Brandon Mowat looked like he was well on his way to scoring his first Applefest victory as he dominated the entire race. Hennessy kept closing the gap as the pair duked it out door-to-door. The 87 snatched up the lead after a last lap caution created a mad three-way dash to the finish line with Hennessy, Mowat and 311 Sam Pennachio. Hennessy drove hard on the bottom to victory lane just 1.005 secs ahead of Mowat. No. 9 Bryan Sudsbury with his season best finish was fourth and past champion No. 57 Charlie Sandercock rounded out the top five on the final night.
While holding his checkered flag, Hennessy expressed how awesome it was to score an Applefest win in the late model. “A huge thank you to Paul and Charlie for letting me get in it,” he said. “I love these cars. I grew up watching them and I’m thankful to be able to get in here and go.” He also tipped his hat to the 46 and 311 for running a good race.
Rouse racks up another Applefest win
Determined to get back to victory lane at Brighton, No. 18R Brad Rouse charged his DIRTcar Sportsman through the field of 21 competitors from his 8th starting position as polesitter 38J Jarrett Herbison and four-time Applefest winner No. 777 Cody McPherson battled for the lead. The pair went wheel to wheel for half of the 35-lap event when mechanical issues stopped Herbison in his tracks. Not even a lap later a right rear flat, crushed McPherson’s chance at five wins in the premier event. Rouse snapped up the lead with 11 laps to go and the driver from St. Catharines roared to victory lane securing his second Applefest win. No. 44 Johnathon Ferguson took second, No. 52 Jessica Power was third, No. 72 James Frisen placed fourth and No. 15 Adam Leslie placed fifth.
Whaley Wins Danny Reid Memorial at Applefest
The best moment of the night was watching Adam Whaley wheel his No. 12 machine into victory lane as the right-side panel sported the K5 in the 35-lap Canadian Modified/UMP Series Danny Reid Memorial.
The original K5 belonged to Canadian Modified driver Danny Reid who passed away while racing 15 years-ago at Brighton Speedway. Ever since, the division has held the crown jewel of memorial races in his honour.
No. 87 Andrew Hennessy had it hooked up on the bottom line and looked like he was well on his way to winning the coveted memorial checkered flag again when a split decision on the final lap cost him the race. Hennessy went down low and tried to do a slide job in to turn two when his rear end hit second-place No. 1 Shawn Gregory bringing out the caution. On re-start Whaley punched it to victory lane leaving Gregory to settle for a hard-earned second.
The win was an emotional one for Whaley as his first modified car was the one Danny passed away in.
“This means everything,” he said. “I ran with the Reid family for years…I had to do what I had to do. I never won one of these races and I wanted to do it bad.” Whaley also revealed this was his last race as he just sold his car. No. 09 Dan Price was third, No. 07 Curtis King finished fourth and No. 69 Julian Phillips placed fifth.
French scores Thunder Stock win
No. 0 Tyler French was unstoppable in the 30-lap Thunder Stock main event. He led the field to green and dominated the entire race as No. 48 Adam Wells tried to take top spot. But with five laps to go French was hooked up as he built more than a half a straightaway advantage. Lapped traffic slowed the pace allowing No. 85 Austin Reid to slide into second as French cruised to victory lane. “This is unbelievable,” French said in victory lane. “I’ve been working so hard for this. There are a lot of good drivers in this class and a lot of good sponsors. When it’s slick out there it’s all throttle. I guess I’m good at it. It’s my favourite kind of track.” Reid placed second, Wells third, No 53. Wade Purchase was fourth and No. 03 Justin Ramsay fifth.
Billings and Charland bring home Vintage victories
No. B3 and No. 28 Ryan Comeau treated fans to an epic side-by-side battle for the lead in the Eastern Ontario Vintage Stock Car Club 20-lap feature. Billings was untouchable in his 70’s – 80’s classic dirt car. He parked it and No. 12 Tim Charland won in the 50-60’s class. “We didn’t have as many cars as we wanted but this was a step up,” Billings said in victory lane. He added his strategy worked well. “I didn’t leave the bottom and praying and counting the laps down. Charland’s car got a lot of compliments from fans during the online broadcast. “I love it,” Charland said post-race. “I love when I get compliments on the cars all the time. It brings back a lot of memories for fans of the family and friends running this type of car.”
Jodoin takes checkers
No 44. Tommy Bailey and No. 43 Devon Kippen went to war for the lead at the start of the 25-lap Comp 4/Mini Stock main event. On lap 12 No. 22J Justin Jodoin slipped into second to mount a challenge on Bailey. With 6 to go Jodoin shot past Bailey and onto victory lane. Bailey placed second, Devon Kippen third, No. 15 Josh Boggard fourth and No. 19 Jordan Baldwin
The abbreviated season at Brighton Speedway has come to an end. With challenges in place caused by a global pandemic Owner’s and Promoters Mark & Angela Rinaldi were proud to host the events they could. The comradery and sportsmanship within the racing community is felt deeply, as sponsors, teams and fan supported the Speedway through this trying time. 2021 is not that far away and there is hope that the race track will see a resurgence of dedicated fans and loyal racers.
The 2020 Eve of Destruction scheduled for Sunday, October 4th is now being cancelled. As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the province and the government strives to put in place stricter restrictions, the Rinaldi Family is opting out of the show. An event that generally brings in thousands of fans and 100’s of participants and is the highlight of the season, is not manageable in this current global situation. This decision is not made lightly. It is with heavy hearts that we make official that the Eve of Destruction will not run.
Full Results at www.brightonspeedway.ca