FRASERVILLE, ON – On what was easily summer’s hottest day, Kawartha Speedway kicked off the July portion of this year’s schedule with the running of the 9th annual Summer Sizzler. With 150 laps for the NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Models, as well as Thunder Car and Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stock action, the Fraserville, ON-oval’s marquee event drew a solid crowd on both the competitor and spectator sides of the fence.
The province’s top Late Model runners were split into a pair of 10-lap qualifying heats as the night’s action rolled from the staging area. Wins by Larry Jackson and defending track champion Dan McHattie earned the front row starting positions for the first round of Sizzler racing. Howie Crowe picked-up the Thunder Car opening battle, with Brad Martin and Daryl Fice sharing the Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stock preliminary events. Donny Beatty and Fice won the Thunder Car and Mini Stock semi features.
The first 50-lap segment of the Summer Sizzler came to the line with every driver in the field believing they held the key to claiming the track’s biggest payday of the year. 2011 and 2010 Sizzler winners Bryan Mercer and Chris Morrow came from 4th and 6th place on the grid, but like the rest of the pack, they’d chase the back bumper of Dan McHattie’s #71 Dodge for the show’s inaugural stage. A pair of caution flags slowed the pace, but the checkered flag belonged to Kawartha’s all-time Late Model wins leader, McHattie. Morrow, Jason Hathaway, Ryan Kimball and Jackson completed the top five.
While the Late Model teams tweaked their rides for the next round, it was time for the 25 lap Thunder Car feature to hit the track. Craig Scott, a part-time runner from Omemee, ON, and Dan Price paced the pack to Michael Edgerton’s green flag. Contact with the inside front stretch retaining wall by Matt Spence and Donny Beatty was on the only issue to produce a yellow, but each driver pulled away on their own. Scott led the early laps, but faded late. Price and veteran Steve Mayhew enjoyed strong runs until Howie Crowe showed some muscle and pushed his #28 Chevrolet to the front. Spence wheeled his battered machine to a runner-up finish, with Price, Mayhew and Beatty rounding-out the fast five.
The second Summer Sizzler session saw an inverted field roll from the staging area. With the exception of Wally Janzen, who elected to start scratch all night, the fastest cars would come from the back of the pack. While the first stanza would be considered to be a timid affair, the next 50 laps were anything but. All through the field, drivers battled to gain or defend a position and caution laps were commonplace. Dwight Brown and Tyler Betts were knocked from contention, while the machines of Ryan Kimball and Chris Morrow sustained significant sheet metal before the checkered flag flew. After finishing 3rd in the opening go-round, Jason Hathaway would pick-up second stage win. Mike Wallace, Dave Morgan, Kimball and McHattie followed him across the stripe.
As the Late Models used the backstretch gate to head pit-side and make their final adjustments, a dozen Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stocks entered the speedway for a 25-lap feature. As they have done so often during the last few seasons, the 4 cylinder crew ran their entire race distance without a yellow flag. Michael Batchelor and defending rookie of the year Ryan Oosterholt led the crowd to the starting line, but Daryl Fice unleashed the monster again and wheeled the ride he calls ‘Frankenstein’ to a second consecutive win with a late race pass on Oosterholt. Brad Martin, Alex Lees and Rob Flindall finished in positions 3rd through 5th.
Another inversion saw newcomer Bob Kish join Janzen at the tail of the field as the final 50 laps of Summer Sizzler exited the pits with 16 of the original starters still running. Owen Smith and Scott Harrison led the pack to the line for a rough n’ tumble affair. A hard hit with the front stretch concrete left Bryan Watts shaken, but otherwise unhurt. His #61 machine was towed from the track. Chris Morrow and Linc Brown each endured the woes of flapping body panels, while Mike Wallace and Jamie Horner came together against the inside retaining wall as the field came off the 4th turn. In the late stages of the final segment, defending race champion Bryan Mercer was bounced off the turn 3 wall in a mishap that had him checking for bruised ribs.
When the dust settled, Jason Hathaway had logged another segment win and with the reverse handicapped scoring system, secured a payday of $3,000 on the same speedway where he recorded his first career NASCAR Canadian Tire Series win.
Kawartha klips: Donovan Price, Ross Evans and Craig Scott made their first Thunder Car starts of the year. Oshawa’s Bob Kish, a regular at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, along with former track champion Chris Morrow and Jason Hathaway ran with the NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Models for the first time in 2012. After missing the June 22 event, Peterborough’s Wally Janzen was back in Late Model action. The track takes another week off Friday, July 13, before the annual Fan Appreciation Night Friday, June 20. A 50-lap Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stock invitational and on-track autograph session will be the featured attractions. See www.kawarthaspeedway.com for complete schedule details and the latest news.
NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model Summer Sizzler Finishing Order (July 6, 2012): 1). Jason Hathaway – Uxbridge, ON, 2). Dan McHattie – Cavan, ON. 3). Larry Jackson – Oakville, ON. 4). Ryan Kimball – Norwood, ON. 5). Dave Morgan – Buckhorn, ON. 6). Mike Wallace – Peterborough, ON. 7). Chris Morrow – Barrie, ON. 8). Linc Brown – Colborne, ON. 9). Jamie Horner – Bowmanville, ON. 10). Bryan Mercer – Port Hope, ON. 11). J.P. Josiasse – Peterborough, ON. 12). Scott Harrison – Scarborough, ON. 13). Bryan Watts – Uxbridge, ON. 14). Dwight Brown – Beeton, ON. 15). Owen Smith – Toronto, ON. 16). Bob Kish – Oshawa, ON. 17). Wally Janzen – Peterborough, ON. 18). Tyler Betts – Hampton, ON.
Segment winners: McHattie, Hathaway, Hathaway.
From Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications