Hamilton, ON (June 17, 2017)- One of the highlights on the calendar of fans and drivers alike at Bennett Chevrolet Flamboro Speedway is always Meet the Drivers Night.
It is exciting for the fans to get up close with the cars and the favorite drivers on track. And this year was once again an exciting night for all with almost 70 cars on track. The drivers always look forward to this night as well, it gives them a chance to sign autographs, take pictures with their fans and hand out candy and other great things for kids of all ages. A big thanks to all those drivers that participated and handed out prizes and goodies to all. A big thanks to Rich Schwartzenberg for the gift “baskets” and Matt Fraser and Matt Young for the great scooter that they put up for a lucky fan.
GALLERY: Images by Peter Anderson
And it was an even better night for a couple of graduates of the Mini Stock division as 13 year old Carson Nagy won his first ever feature in Super Stocks and Blair Wickett won his first career Late Model feature race win. Lots of racing as our five regular divisions as well as a visit by the Lucas Oil Can Am Midgets.
The Pure Stocks were first up and going into the night a tie at the top as Mark Thorne and Doug Moir entered the night with 563 points each. In this race Thorne was outside pole and Moir was behind him on the outside of row two. Thorne led lap one. Thorne, Moir and Ross Winters Jr. broke away from the rest of the pack and were out on her own. They battled nose to tail throughout and that’s the way they came across the line as the checkers flew.
The Klotz Auto Repair & Engine Machine Shop Mini Stocks were next with fifteen cars lined up for the green flag. Going into the night Russ Aicken was the points leader and had the biggest lead in any of Flamboro’s divisions. Aicken went into the night with 595 points with Allie Ditner next at 558. Jake Gilbert lined up beside Ditner as the field came to green. Gilbert led early and would lead flag to flag to pickup the feature win. With another win and leading every lap that will help Gilbert get a bit closer to Aicken. Jake went into the night fifth in points with 527. Aicken would finish second in this one with Ditner coming home third.
The Ray’s Auto Centre & Towing Super Stocks were next with seven cars signed in. Twenty four points separate the top five with the team of Kevin Gallant and Brandon McFerran first with 398. Gallant was behind the wheel on this night and would start pole. Carson Nagy was on his outside. On the original start, Nick Troback, Shawn Arnott and Chris Howse got a little racey off the start and spun through three and four and would bring about a full restart. The cars would hit the pits for a quick check of some bent sheet metal but return. Gallant led lap one. Gallant’s troubles on the night began with a flat right side tire and that ended his race. Chris Howse was the new leader. A few laps later as the cars went through one and two, and smooth move by the youngster Carson Nagy allowed him to get by Howse and take the lead. Shawn Arnott made his way to second and did his best but couldn’t get past Nagy and he cam across with his first feature victory. Congratulations to Carson, at 13 he is one of the youngest feature winners at Flamboro.
The Lucas Oil Can Am Midgets were in town for their second visit of 2017. Only a dozen cars signed in on this night. They ran two ten lap heats. Steve Murdock led lap one. Adam Racine took the lead through one and two on lap four and would continue his lead the rest of the way picking up the win. In the second heat, Barry Dunn and Adrian Stahle were out front for one of the most exciting races of the night. Dunn led lap one. Next lap, Mack Deman made a great inside out move out of four to take the lead. As they entered three-four the next time by Dunn was the leader once again and the 50 of Stahle followed him through putting Deman back to third. Deman once again took to the inside and on lap seven moved to second and was stuck to Dunn’s bumper the rest of the way with Dunn picking up the win.
The Grisdale Late Models were next and the car count was a bit lower than normal with the APC race taking place in Peterborough. Chad Corcoran and Gary Elliott were out front and Corcoran led lap one. Corcoran and Kevin Albers were battling for the lead and they broke from the pack. Mark Burbridge and Blair Wickett closed the gap but soon the front two broke away. On lap 19, Burbridge and Wickett got mixed up and Wickett got by Burbridge. At the end of the race, Wickett was penalized by the race director for his move on Burbridge.
The Pro Four Modifieds were the last race before intermission with Linc Erison and Brian Nanticoke on the pole. Nanticoke led lap one and would lead the rest of the way picking up the win.
Intermission and the cars lined up on the front stretch and a big crowd filed into the track for the Meet the Drivers night. This night along with the Kids Ride Night are the most popular among fans and drivers.
After intermission, the Pure Stocks were first up. They lined up on the front stretch and were ready to go once the track was clear. Ashton Reekie and Matt Fraser were pole and Reekie led one. Wayde Thorne was in the 43 car normally raced by team mate Kevin Heist. A couple cars were involved in a spin down the back stretch with the 50 of Ross Winters Jr. sliding through the grass. No caution but Winters lost some valuable positions. Wayde Thorne continued to lead and the 78 of Clinton Kerkhof was on his bumper. They would trade the lead several times. Eric Crow was in the 81 car on this night and had a great race. He moved to second behind Kerkhof and Thorne was back to third. Gary Slama was in the 90 for Andy Wheller on this night and made his move and was the new leader as he got by Kerkhof on the back stretch on lap sixteen. A great battle for second through fourth between Kerkhof, Crow and Doug Moir. As the checkers flew it was Slama coming across first.
Mini Stocks hit the track for their second feature. Matt Young and David Gallinger were on the pole. Gallinger led lap one. On lap three, the 76 of Shawn Taylor took the lead through one and two. Taylor led with Russ Aicken and Jake Gilbert close behind. The three broke away from the rest of the pack and started to get involved with lapped traffic and it started to affect the front runners. Aicken and Gilbert battled hard with lots of bumping and grinding and Gilbert managed to get past Aicken as the cars took the checkers with Taylor overcoming some bad luck so far this season to pick up an impressive win. Gilbert had a good night with a first and second with Aicken having a second and third.
Super Stocks were next with Nick Troback and Chris Howse up front. Not as many cars tonight but that didn’t stop the excitement. Some of the most exciting action with none of the top runners backing down. Troback led lap one. Shawn Arnott, Kevin Gallant and Chris Howse were involved and Gallant and Howse had some damage. Troback led for most of the race but he slowed as they raced continued. Arnott was the new leader and Gallant’s woes continued as he slowed and headed for the pits and did not finish. As the checkers flew it was Arnott followed by Howse and Troback.
The Can AM Midgets were up next for their 25 lap feature. Their normal salute to the fans as they go four a breast. Steve Murdock and Barry Dunn started on the pole for this one. Murdock led lap one with a seventeen second lap. He continued to lead and started to build a good lead turning laps of 15.7 seconds. By lap ten, Murdock was leading with Adam Racine closing the gap. Racine got by Murdock on lap 14 out of four and started to build a big lead himself. Mack Deman was second but was back to fourth quick but battled Dunn and as the cars took the checkers it was Racine followed by Dunn and Deman.
The Late Models were up for their second thirty lap feature. Jeff Ruddy and Hudson Nagy were pole. Ruddy led lap one. Bill Pearsall was around through one and two on lap four bringing out a caution. Another caution as Mark Burbridge was around out of four on the front stretch as he had a flat left rear tire and the caution flew again. On lap eight, Blair Wickett got past Ruddy on the back stretch to take the lead. A few cautions slowed the race but when things got going again Wickett and Chad Corcoran started to breakaway from the field. Another caution as Nagy got into Brent Wheller in three and four. Jeff Ruddy had problems, slowed and would not finish. On lap 23, Burbridge got past Corcoran for second. As the checkers flew it was Blair Wickett picking up his first Late Model feature win followed by Burbridge and Corcoran. Congratulations Blair!!
The final race of the night was the Pro Four Modifieds. Gillian Hils and Linc Erison were pole sitters. Erison said he would win on this night and was up front so had a good chance. He led lap one but Dan Nanticoke got by and built a huge lead. Erison was second but couldn’t overcome the big lead by Nanticoke and did come home second followed by a hard charging Mark Lucas.
That brought to a close a very exciting night of racing. Once again thanks to all the drivers and sponsors that made this a very fun and successful Meet the Drivers Night. Make plans to join us next Saturday, June 24th as the OSCAAR series is in town. The Super Late Models, Modifeds, Pro Midgets and Hot Rod series join us as well as the Lucas Oil Canadian Vintage Modifieds. They will run three features, their two regular races plus a rained out feature from May 20th. The Pure Stocks and Pro Four Modifieds are also on hand. Pits open at 3pm, front gates at 5pm and racing gets underway at 6pm. Check the website for all the details, point standings and much more, www.flamborospeedway.ca
Big thanks to Peter Anderson who regularly shoots at Oshweken Speedway for doing a great job tonight taking some great pictures. Also to the “Super Heroes” on hand to keep the kids entertained!