BRIGHTON, ON – For the first time since October 2019, fans were back in the stands at Brighton Speedway eager to watch some dirt track racing and on Saturday night the weather cooperated, and the 2021 season could finally kick off. With 5 divisions and 104 race cars in the pits it would be a full night of racing on hand for the crowd which was sold out at 25% of capacity as per step two of Ontario’s reopening plan.
The Quinte Septic Stingers would be the first feature of the night, #44 Rai-Ann Beaudrie and #17 Gavin Rushlow would lead the twenty one car field to green for the 12 laps around the oval. It didn’t take long for Stinger veteran #95 Chris Lammle to work his way from his forth starting position taking the lead on lap two. Lammle would hold on and lead the rest of the laps but not with out some challenges on a late race re-start from #67 Josh Whitney and #18 Carter Rhodes.
Rhodes would make his way around Whitney on the restart and challenge Lammle on the last lap but Lammle was able to hold on to take the first feature flag of 2021 followed by Rhodes and Whitney for the top three.
Twenty-four cars were set for the Brighton Automotive Thunder Stock 20 lap feature. #99 Kyle Quin and #92 Adam Turner would start on the poll position with Quinn taking the lead from the green flag. Quinn would continue to lead the early laps but would have a host of veterans chasing him down. On the fifth circuit around the track former champion #03 Justin Ramsay would be able to work his way around Quinn followed quickly by #85 of Austin Reid buzzing around the high side of the speedway.
Reid and Ramsay would battle it out for several more laps swapping the lead position until a late race restart and Ramsay would take the lead for good moving up to the high line to take it away from Reid for the win. Reid would hold on to second after a late race battle with #53 Wade Purchase who came home third.
Bainer’s OilGARD Canadian Modified feature would be an exciting one right from lap one as #1 Shawn Gregory was forced into the tires in lap one that would cause a caution and complete restart with Gregory heading to the back of the sixteen-car field.
On the restart #29 Rich Sanders and #56 Pat McEvoy would lead the field to green and Sanders would take the early lead, but McEvoy would run the high line right there with him. Mean while #3 Nathan Rinaldi was making a move up from his sixth staring position and Gregory was making his way back through the field.
By lap 6 Rinaldi had cleared McEvoy and was working around the high side of Sanders to take the lead on lap 9 while Gregory had now moved back into the top 5. Rinaldi taking advantage to the traffic behind him had opened up a 5 car length lead running along the bottom. However, Gregory would soon move by the traffic and into second and worked the high line. He would catch Rinaldi and move around him on the high side to take the lead and never look back. A late race caution would give Rinaldi one last shot at the lead as he dove to the bottom coming out of 4 but Gregory and the high line were just to strong and Gregory would hold on for the win followed by Rinaldi and #32 Doug O’Blenis in third.
The Vanderlaan Building Products Late Models would be up next for their first feature of 2021 and eighteen cars would take the opening green flag. #311 of Sam Pennacchio and #9 of Brian Sudsbury would start up front with Pennacchio taking the early lead while Sudsbury was left to battle with fourth starter #57 Charlie Sandercock.
While Sudsbury and Sandercock battled side by side for second place Pennacchio was able to open a significant lead. Sandercock was able to clear Sudsbury at the half way mark of the feature just before the caution was coming out for the #5 of Steve Baldwin who spun to avoid a slower moving car. On the restart Sandercock would use the high line to power past Pennachio for the lead and would not look back from there. Pennachio, who’s car seemed to lose the handling on it after the yellow, would struggle to maintain second allowing #92 Adam Turner by as well. When the checkers fell Sandercock, Turner and Pennachio would be the podium finishers for the night.
The final feature event of the night would be the Bill’s Johns Comp 4 / Mini Stock Division. This race was the most caution filled even to the evening with 26 starters and many of them rookies still trying to figure out their way around the 1/3rd mile clay oval. The Comp 4 division was battled out by #43 Devon Kippen and #44 Tommy Bailey. Kippen would hold on for his first win on 2021 meanwhile in the mini stock division of the class it was new comer #6 Jason Dixon picking up his first ever win at Brighton Speedway.
Next Saturday night (July 17) drivers in all five divisions will return to the track. With the province moving to step three on July 16th, Brighton Speedway will now be able to return with up to 75% capacity. A number of other restrictions still remain in place including the requirement for everyone in attendance to have a reservation. Brighton Speedway is using an online ticketing system to manage reservations and fans can go to www.brightonspeedway.com and follow the links to purchase tickets.
Feature Race Results
1st. No. 95 Chris Lammle, 2nd . No. 18 Carter Rhodes, 3rd. No. 67 Josh Whitney, 4th. No. 17 Gavin Rushlow, 5th. No. 61 Ryan Branscombe
Bill’s Johns Comp 4/Mini Stock
1st. No. 6r Jason Dixon, 2nd. No. 11 Mike Whyte, 3rd. No. 96 Cole Abrams, 4th. No. 12 Caleb Severin, 5th. No. 14m Matthew Moore
Brighton Automotive Thunder Stocks
1st. No. 03 Justin Ramsay, 2nd. No. 85 Austin Reid, 3rd. No. 53 Wade Purchase, 4th. No. 0 Tyler French, 5th. No. 92 Adam Turner
1st. No. 1 Shawn Gregory, 2nd. No. 3 Nate Rinaldi, 3rd. No. 32 Doug O’Blenis, 4th. No. 39 Jonah Mutton, 5th. No. 69 Julian Phillips
1st. No. 57 Charlie Sandercock, 2nd. No. 92 Adam Turner, 3rd. No. 311 Sam Pennachio, 4th. No. 87 Andrew Hennessy, 5th. No. 9 Bryan Sudsbury