History will show it was a stretch with a little bit of everything. Students finishing assignments and writing exams before heading into their summer vacation during a week that featured record-setting temperatures and high humidity. Then on Friday, June 22, a racecar driver nicknamed ‘Old School’ earned his first feature win of 2012 at Kawartha Speedway. Even though the books were being put away, clearly, class was in session.
2002 Thunder Car champion Ryan Kimball and last season’s Summer Sizzler winner Bryan Mercer took the checkered flag for a tour of the 3/8-mile oval following their NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model qualifying heat wins. Willie Reyns claimed the opening round of Thunder Car action, with youngster Michael Batchelor earning the same honours in the Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stocks. Semi feature victories belonged to Dwight Brown, Matt Spence and Daryl Fice in the Late Models, Thunder Cars and Mini Stocks respectively. Mike Wallace won the Late Model consolation round.
The night’s first main event was a 20-lap affair for the Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stocks, as Daryl Fice and Danny Benedict brought the field to the green flag. Although Kawartha’s entry level division’s features are usually run caution free, a rare yellow flag was displayed early when Alex Lees coasted to a stop in the second turn. Once the #07 machine was cleared from the track, it was smooth sailing for the remaining distance as Fice wheeled an unpainted ride he jokingly referred to as ‘Frankenstein’ to his first win of the year. The young racer, who began his time at the track as an inexperienced 15 year-old, was followed across the line by last week’s winner Brad Martin, 2011 rookie of the year Ryan Oosterholt, Peterborough high school teacher Rob Flindall and Danny Benedict.
Thunder Car action was next to the line, with Chad Gruntz at the controls of Donny Beatty’s #40 machine and Dan Price occupying the front row. Price broke from the blocks early and gave his retro #09 beast the ride of its life, leading more than the first half of the event. While Price, who has yet to enjoy a main event win, was savouring his time at the front, all eyes were on Willie Reyns. The 2008 and 2010 track champion started on the outside of the 3rd row and had his #87 Monte Carlo pasted to Price’s rear bumper through the late stages of the 20 lapper. When the leader drifted high coming off the 4th turn, Reyns drove through an open door to take the win. Matt Spence, Jamie Wagar and 2007 track champion Steve Mayhew completed the top 5.
Close to 20 NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Models rolled-off the staging area for a 25-lap main event that brought the night to a close. An early yellow for a second turn incident involving Bryan Watts, Tyler Betts and Scott Harrison was the only time the track’s headline class saw the caution flag during the fast-paced feature. Multi-time champion Dan McHattie – the track’s all-time win leader – put another notch in his belt with his first 2012 trip to the winner’s circle. The veteran racer, who still crafts his own cars on the family farm at Cavan, ON, saw Bryan Mercer, Larry Jackson, Ryan Kimball and Dwight Brown in his rear-view mirror as he crossed the line.
Kawartha klips: Matt Haufe grabbed the Ontario Legends Series win. It was the 4th Kawartha victory in five starts for the 20-year-old, who thanked his ‘old man’ during the post race interview. Scarborough’s Scott Harrison, who won the first late model feature of the year during the 2011 season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, made his Kawartha late model debut. Danny Benedict, who at 15 years of age already has three seasons behind the wheel of a racecar, earned a runner-up finish in a Pure Stock invitational Saturday, June 23, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It was the first time he’d raced on the half-mile oval that sits 15 minutes from his front door. Kawartha Speedway takes a week off before returning to battle Friday, July 6th with the running of the 9th annual NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model Summer Sizzler. The 150 lap marathon – run in 3 segments – is the most prestigious late model event in the province and pays $3000.00 to win…For details on the 2012 schedule and the latest news, see www.kawarthaspeedway.com.
From Jim Clarke, Kawartha Speedway PR/Clarke Motorsports Communications