@FlamSpeedway • HAMILTON, ON – One of the most exciting race seasons in recent memory came to an end Saturday at Bennett Chevrolet Flamboro Speedway and it was a nail biter to the very end. Going in to action it looked like two of five divisions would be close with the other three taking a disaster to change the face. Well that disaster almost happened or did happen in the Mini Stock feature depending which driver you were.
The night got underway as usual with qualifying heat races. Going into Pure Stock action, Gillian Hils trailed Shawn Taylor by 21 points. All she could do is go out and win and hope trouble would fall in the lap of Taylor. This was pretty much the story in all divisions on this night. Well Hils did what she needed to do, she won both heats but Taylor made it difficult finishing second in both heats. In Mini Stocks, Russ Aicken trailed points leader Mike Holmes by 18 points.
This weekend at Flamboro Speedway… Oktoberfest!
Aicken won both of his heats. Holmes finished third in both heats head to head with Aicken. That got Aicken to within 14 points. In the other two heats, Ken Stenhouse and Chad Ditner picked up victories. In Thunder Car action, Brad Collison went into the night with a slim nine point lead on Kevin Albers. Mark Burbridge and Collison won the heats. Albers finished second while Collison was third in the first heat and Albers was second to the winner Collison in heat two.
This kept things pretty much the same heading to the feature. Bill Pearsall and Robert Mercer took heat wins in the Pro 4 Modified heats. This pretty much solidified Pearsall as the Pro 4 Modified 2014 Points Champion. The final heats were for the Grisdale Late Models. The first half winner Shawn Chenoweth has moved onto the OSCAAR Super Late Models after the first half. The second half was a two car “race” with David Elliott up on Dale Shaw by a mere seven points. Rick Burbridge and Dale Shaw picked up heat wins. Shaw picked up three points so the lead was narrowed to four going into the feature.
The intermission actually took place during the third Mini Stock heat. An injury in the pits delayed the race by about a half hour as an ambulance and fire truck were summoned to attend to the injured person.
Sam Heibien and Gillian Hils led a dozen Pure Stocks into their final feature event of the “regular season.” Hils was second and Shawn Taylor was fifth. The only way it appeared that Hils could be champion was if Taylor didn’t take the green. He did and Hils led for four laps but the 29 of Derek Jackson took the lead on lap six and wouldn’t surrender it. It was quite a move by Jackson as Hils and Taylor were one two. Jackson busted his way between the two coming out of turn four on lap six and took off. Jackson led the rest of the way, with Taylor getting by and followed by Hils. In post race inspection, Jackson was disqualified and the win went to Taylor, sealing Hils fate giving Taylor (from Burlington) his first championship by 20 points.
Sixteen Mini Stocks took to the track for the final feature of the season. With a fourteen point lead it appeared the only way Aicken could win was if Holmes couldn’t take the green or didn’t finish. Holmes started 11th and Aicken 14th. Blair Wickett started ninth in the field and quickly made his way for the front followed by Holmes and Aicken. As the original green fell, Wickett was called for jumping and would be penalized one spot at finish. That’s when the unthinkable happened. Heading out of turn four on lap seven, the 13 car of Holmes slowed as the field passed him by. The front right hub broke. Holmes, who had been on fire all season with nine feature wins, seemed to be a shoe in for the title.
He didn’t have a DNF all season and it just goes to show that nothing is ever sure or official until the final “buzzer.” Aicken was on the move but he couldn’t overtake Wickett who had an amazing race. But as the checkered flag flew, Wickett was penalized the one spot from the original start and the win was awarded to Aicken. A quick calculation put Aicken (from New Hamburg) up on Holmes (from London) by the slimmest of margins, one point. When it all became official however, the two were tied at 2,266 points. It also goes to show you just never know. Every point counts, no matter how trivial it seems at the time. I believe this is the second or third time there has ever been a tie in any division’s final points standings in its history at Flamboro.
In the Thunder Car feature, Bobby Mercer and Kevin Albers led the field to green. Albers trailed Collison by about nine points heading into the finale. Albers new what he had to do, win. He shot out to the lead of the start and started to build a nice lead. The real battle was behind as Shawn Arnott, Dave Bailey, Mark Burbridge and Brad Collison were battling in that order behind Albers for most of the way. As the checkered flag flew, Albers was first followed by Mark Burbridge, the Birthday boy Shawn Arnott was third and Brad Collison was fourth. Although Albers won and picked up three bonus points for the win and most laps led, Collison (from Cambridge) was still crowned champion, by just four points.
In the Pro 4 feature, Keith Dempster and Dan Petit. Dempster in just his second Pro 4 Modified appearance got out to a lead and seemed like he would pick up the win until a caution with two laps remaining brought the pack back to even. Petit had his second straight mishap in turn four in as many weeks. On the restart, Aaron Turkey got a better start and held off Dempster for the feature win. Bill Pearsall (from Toronto) was crowned Points champion although he had an oil leak of some kind on the last lap and he slowed finished sixth.
The final feature of the night was for the Late Models. With four points separating Elliott and Shaw, it was going to be exciting. Nick Roth and Rick Burbridge led the field to green. Roth’s car seemed to be on rails and led from the start. Elliott and Shaw were battling close behind. As the laps counted down, Roth was still leading followed by Elliott and Shaw. As the checkered flag flew, that’s the way it ended. Nick Roth (from Baden) led flag to flag to pick up his first career Late Model feature victory. Congratulations Nick!! Elliott picked up one point on Shaw and finished with a five point cushion and was crowned second half Late Model champion. Combined, Dale Shaw (from Guelph) was the overall Late Model champ and was awarded the new Crate engine courtesy of track sponsor, Bennett Chevrolet of Cambridge.
That brought to a close yet another exciting night of racing, a bizarre one at that. With five divisions running, seven champions were crowned. A tie in Mini Stocks and a second half and overall champ in Late Models. Still lots of racing to go, most definitely proves to be lots of excitement still to come with Oktoberfest Classic Weekend, Frostfest and the $5000 to win Enduro event to close the season.
Big thanks to Clinton Geoffrey serving as our guest announcer for a second straight weekend. He was also joined by former Canadian Vintage Modified (Hobby Car) racer Gary Colling who was in the pits and victory lane.
Please make plans to join us this weekend for the annual Oktoberfest Classic Weekend. Racing both Friday and Saturday, with rain date on Sunday. Please check the website for all the details, times and schedule for both days.
Please check the website, www.flamborospeedway.ca for more details including the gate times, schedule, Admission Prices for the grandstands and pits and updated point standings for all divisions.
Photos by Super Nova Photos
By Randy Spencer / Flamboro Speedway