MILLGROVE, ON – The third time turned out to be the charm as Opening Night of the 2018 racing season at Bennett Chevrolet Flamboro Speedway got underway May 12 with the Grisdale Late Models, McClurkin Properties Pure Stocks, the Lucas Oil Can Am Midgets and the Ontario Pro Challenge.
Racing got underway at 630 with the Pure Stocks up first. Chris Pendelbury and Steve Deleeuw led the field to the first green of the season. Pendelbury led early and he along with Courtney Scott started to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Dale Lucas in the 30 car started near the back of the pack but had a fast car and by lap 11 made his way to second.
A few laps later on lap 17, the two cars were exiting four and were in lapped traffic. Lucas and Pendelbury decided to split the traffic and as Pendelbury went to the outside he made contact with the 2 car of Travis Hofstetter and that slowed him up as Lucas took to the inside and took the lead. Lucas took the white and cruised on home for his first victory of the year.
The Ontario Pro Challenge were next and this year will run double features like most of the other visiting divisions. Bryan Stevanus started outside pole and took off and was the class of the field in this one picking up the checkered flag.
The Can-Am Midgets were next with nine cars taking the first green. Darren Dryden led early and by half way had a fifteen car lead. By lap 19 he started to lap the field and made it look easy picking up the win.
The Late Models were next with thirteen cars taking the green. The numbers are way up for this division but with the cooler than normal weather and the APC race next week may have kept the numbers down slightly but watch for big numbers soon. This year J.R. Fitzpatrick is back as well as Mike Bentley and David Elliott all looking to challenge defending champion Shawn Chenoweth. Chenoweth had hoped to make it out but the car wasn’t quite ready.
We also have some new blood and teams this season. To name a few Super Stock champion Nick Troback is sharing a ride with Jeff Ruddy. Allie Ditner is in Al Bowman’s 74 car and will share that ride with Justin Collison. After a year off David Elliott is back behind the wheel and will share the ride running for points with dad Gary. The Iron Man, Gary Elliott is entering his 50th year of continuous racing in 2018. Chris Howse has also moved up from the Super Stock ranks to race in this division. It should be a very interesting year of racing.
Fitzpatrick lined up along side Howse for the first 30 lapper. Fitzpatrick led lap one but several early cautions slowed the pace. As the race wore on David Elliott made his way to Fitzpatrick’s bumper and the two battled for several laps. Several cautions likely due to the cool weather and on lap 23 Fitzpatrick and Elliott took off. Going through 1-2 Fitzpatrick started to slow and pulled off giving the lead to Elliott. Elliott would hold off Kevin Albers to pick up the win. Fitzpatrick went off on the flat bed and it was reported it was a rear end and drive shaft that ended his night. It was his second drive shaft as he lost one on the first night of practice a few weeks back.
After a brief intermission, the Pure Stocks hit the track for their second 20 lap feature. Courtney Scott and Mark Dennis were out front and Dennis led early and the two broke away. But as in the first race the 30 car of Dale Lucas was on the move. He started 14th in the field but by lap three he was up to third. Heading down the back stretch on lap 11, Lucas made his way past Dennis to take the lead. Some exciting three wide action made this one exciting and Lucas broke away. Scott, Chris Pendelbury and Andy Wheller were battling hard as the white flag flew. Lucas made it two for two as the checkers flew with Wheller second followed by Scott, Pendelbury and Jared Bodnar.
Ontario Pro Challenge were next and Rick Seeley and Mike Johnston were pole. Johnston led early but Tim Norris was the new leader by lap four. You could put a blanket over the top five as a tight one was shaping up. Race one winner Bryan Stevanus was on Norris’ bumper but wasn’t able to get by him and Norris made his way to victory lane, a place he has made so many trips to over his long career.
The Can Am Midgets were next with ten cars. They did their four wide salute as they always do and we were ready to go. Ryan Fraser and Brandon Zavarella were out front with Zavarella leading lap one. Adrian Stahle was knocking on his back door for a couple laps but was the new leader on lap three. The two started to break away but before long race one winner Darren Dryden was gaining and by lap eight moved up to second.
Adam Racine was up to fourth and looking to make his way around Zavarella. Racine got up on Zavarella’s tire but both were ok and continued their battle. Back up front Stahle continued his battle with Dryden as they started to get into lapped traffic. The 91 of Zavarella and 20 of Racine continued their battle as white flew but it was 91 edging the 20 for third and fourth. Stahle held off Dryden as the checkers flew.
The last race of the night was for the Late Models. A name from the past was back as Chris Bochsler was in the 38 and lined up with Nick Troback to take the green. They had a rough start and the caution flew with a complete restart. Troback led lap one. David Elliott had some problems on lap one and it turned out to be a rear axle that came off. He would continue at a slower pace for the duration but was off late.
A few cautions brought the pack to even with Troback continuing his lead. Hudson Nagy made his way up to second where he would remain for several laps. He would let Troback know he was there knocking on his back door for several laps. Half way through in four Nagy got Troback off slightly and was able to make his way past and was the new leader as the field entered turn one.
As the cars made their way around to turn three Troback was around and collected Boschler and he was into the back of Albers. On the restart, Nagy and Matt Lockwood were up front but entering three Troback got loose and was up in the marbles and was around. Another restart with Nagy and Lockwood side by side. Lockwood had a slight advantage as they entered one but got a little loose and high and had to let off and was back to fifth as the field would exit two.
Mike Bentley was up to second but Nagy continued to hold him off. The white flew and Bentley was ready to make his move. As the cars were making their way through 3-4 Bentley went low and did his best to get by Nagy but he had just enough to hold him off as Nagy edged Bentley by about half a car length to pick up the win.
That brought to a close a very exciting opening night of racing…the first of many this season! Please plan to join us next Saturday night, May 19th as the Ray’s Towing and Recovery Super Stocks are joined by the Klotz Auto Repair & Engine Machine Shop Mini Stocks, the Pro Four Modifieds, the McClurkin Properties Pure Stocks and the Canadian Vintage Modifieds.
Also the first King of the Hill of the season where you the fans can get your chance to race what your drove to the track. All you need is a helmet and your seat belt must be working. Sign up in the pits prior to racing and you hit the track at intermission. The winner gets a trophy and a cool $100. Pits open at 4pm, front grandstands at 5pm with racing at 630pm. Check the website for all the details, www.flamborospeedway.ca
Thanks to Derek Smith http://www.racepulse.com/ and Mike Kiers for the photos and to Ingrid Hartman for the amazing videos. You can follow her on you tube at petalpower51.
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