@BrightonSpdwy • BRIGHTON (May 3, 2015) – An impressive 56 racecars came through the pit gate at Brighton Speedway for the 48th season opener presented by Monster Energy and Kellogg’s Belleville on Saturday night. A near capacity crowd filled the stands and two trailers with non-perishable food donations for the Brighton Fare Share Food Bank.
It was a historic night for Brighton Speedway’s Pro Late Model division, which raced under Rush Late Model Series sanctioning for the first time.
The 30-lap main event was a tightly contested three-car showdown but Picton, Ont. driver Corey Earl (No.11 Hotch’s Auto Parts) parked in victory lane when the dust settled.
Polesitter Phil Potts (No.29 Vanderlaan Building Products) led until Steve Baldwin (No.5 Smokin’ Speedway) used a great run off the bottom of turn four on lap 22 to briefly take over the lead. The two drivers continued to race side-by-side for three more laps until Baldwin cleared the No.29 with five to go. Earl, who had been running in the top three from the drop of the green flag, followed Baldwin’s lead and also snuck by Potts on the bottom. With two laps to go, Earl drove hard in to turn three and used the bottom lane to force Baldwin up the racetrack.
The veteran driver led in to turn one before washing up to the middle lane to break Baldwin’s momentum. Baldwin fought back on the outside, but ran out of time and space with a lapped car in the mix as well as Earl took the checkers.
“Down on the bottom, I could not believe the bite that was left down there at the end of the night,” said Earl following the race. ” I could drive it in harder and harden almost every lap.”
Potts held on to the third spot while Adam Turner (No.92 Village Variety) and Kyle Sopaz (No.12 KD Transmission) were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Following the race, Earl said he plans to race full-time at Brighton in 2015. He will also make select appearances at Can-Am Speedway in Lafargeville, NY to earn points towards the Rush Weekly Series points.
The race was slowed for five caution periods, all as a result of single-car incidents.
Andrew Hennessy (No.87 Custom Automotive) started on the pole for the OilGARD Canadian Modified A-main and never relinquished the top spot over the course of 25 laps. Hennessy survived charges from Dan Ferguson (No.11 Kilmarnock Enterprise) and Doug O’Blenis (No.32 John’s Car Care) to earn the first victory of the season.
Ferguson made sure Hennessy had his hands full off the start, quickly moving up to second from his third-place starting spot. A handful of restarts in the first 15 laps gave Ferguson his chances to take the lead, but Hennessy stuck like glue to the bottom, which forced his challengers to the outside lane.
A flat tire for Ferguson brought out the yellow at lap 20, leaving Hennessy to battle it out with O’Blenis and Adam Whaley (No.12 John’s Equipment). O’Blenis looked as though he had sewn up a second-place finish and a shot at the lead until the car died on the final lap. The No.32 machine came back to life, but not before Whaley could steal the runner-up spot. Kraig Handley (No.91 Tri-Canadian Energy) finished fourth in his full-time return to the track. Ferguson rallied to finish fifth.
A total of six caution periods slowed the race. The majority of the damage appeared cosmetic, although Curtis King (No.07 Flowmetrix) got the worst of contact with Warren Mowat (No.46 Cormier’s Auto Recycling) on lap 21 when the right door of the car was torn off.
A tough Brighton Automotive Pro Stock race renewed a rivalry between defending division champion Doug Anderson (No.72 Hunt’s Bobcat Service) and last year’s runner-up Justin Ramsay (No.03 Empey Tire).
Both drivers won their heat races and the right to start on the front row for the 20-lap main event. Handicapping procedures are not used at the beginning of the season.
Anderson led in the early laps and held off Ramsay on a pair of early restarts. Anderson expanded the lead to as many as five car lengths before Ramsay began to reel him in.
Ramsay got underneath Anderson on lap 10 to start a two-lap side-by-side battle. By lap 12, Ramsay had the lead, but a final caution on lap 14 gave Anderson another chance. Ramsay got the better restart and never looked back as the top two cars broke away from the rest of the field.
Leslie Mowat (No.2 Cormier’s Auto Recycling) and Jamie Marshall (No.55 C&L Upholstery) waged a great battle for most of the race and finished third and fourth, respectively. Samantha Thompson (No.33 Mayhew Graphics) completed the top-five.
The only major incident of the race came on the opening lap. Brandon Murrell (No.19 Hannah Motors) spun in turn two and Jonah Mutton (No.39 NOCO Fuels) had nowhere to go but in to Murrell’s right door. Mutton got the worst of the wreck and neither car returned to the race.
The front row dominated the Bill’s Johns Comp 4 15-lap feature with polesitter Tyler French (No.0 ABC Taxi) walking away the victor. It didn’t come easily though, as second-place starter Austin Reid (No.85 Young Drivers) led the middle portion of the race.
French led off the original start, but Reid erased the lead to take the top spot on lap four. French challenged the young Brighton, Ont. driver, but couldn’t regain the top spot. Tyler Parker (No.8 D&T Lawn Maintenance) drew the only caution when he went off the track and nearly in to the turn two creek. French got the better of Reid on the ensuing restart and took the advantage straight to victory lane.
Shelby Mills (No 78 ABC Taxi) pressured the top two, but settled for third ahead of top-five finishers Riley Greer (No.47 Greer Excavating) and Emily Weedman (No.87 Dent Masters).
Vanderlaan Building Products RUSH Pro Late Models A-Main (17 Entries – 30 Laps): 1. 11 Corey Earl, 2. 5 Steve Baldwin, 3. 29 Phil Potts, 4. 92 Adam Turner, 5. 12 Kyle Sopaz, 6. 25 Greg Belyea, 7. 84 Tyler Rand, 8. 46 Brandon Mowat, 9. 57 Charlie Sandercock, 10. 77 Caley Weese, 11. 42 Adam Nayler, 12. 97 David McDonald, 13. 20 Terry Hunt, 14. 1 Andy Mayhew, 15. 89 Austin King, 16. 60 Norm Mayhew, 17. 01 Eli Mayhew. Total time: 23:09.254.
OilGARD Anti-Rust Canadian Modifieds A-Main (17 Entires – 25 Laps): 1. 87 Andrew Hennessy, 2. 12 Adam Whaley, 3. 32 Doug O’Blenis, 4. 91 Kraig Handley, 5. 11 Dan Ferguson, 6. 36 Mitch Rosborough, 7. 88 Josh Hennessy, 8. 1 Robbie Wilson, 9. 28 Dan Insley, 10. 74 Mike Lucas, 11. 07 Curtis King, 12. 66 Mark Packer, 13. 00 Darrell Toms, 14. 46 Warren Mowat, 15. 83 Dave Docan, 16. Adam Switzer, 17. 03 Derek Bowers. Total time: 22:23.871.
Brighton Automotive Pro Stocks A-Main (12 Entries – 20 Laps): 1. 03 Justin Ramsay, 2. 72 Doug Anderson, 3. 2 Leslie Mowat, 4. 55 Jamie Marshall, 5. 33 Samantha Thompson, 6. 29 Rich Sanders, 7. 13 Ryan Connor, 8. 51 Mike Freeman, 9. 08 Brian Cross, 10. 53 Wade Purchase, 11. 19 Brandon Murrell, 12. 39 Jonah Mutton.
Bill’s Johns Comp 4s A-Main (10 Entries – 15 Laps): 1. 0 Tyler French, 2. 85 Austin Reid, 3. 78 Shelby Mills, 4. 47 Riley Greer, 5. 87 Emily Weedman, 6. 97 Courtney Mastin, 7. 94 Brady Greer, 8. 8 Tyler Parker, 9. 6d Kurtis Daye, 10. 07 Adam Chapman (DQ).
By Clayton Johns