FRASERVILLE, ON – It may have taken a few weeks longer than originally anticipated, but for Daryl Fice, Matt Spence and Dan McHattie, it was well worth the wait. The trio clinched their respective Kawartha Speedway track championships – just by taking the first green flag of the night – in the Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stock, Thunder Car and NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model divisions.
For Fice and Spence, it was their first title, while McHattie – who finished 9th in the annual American-Canadian Tour Invitational Saturday, September 22nd at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – will sit at the champion’s table for the 8th time in his career at the Fraserville, Ontario 3/8th miler.
With the 2012 titlists decided, it was time to focus on determining the balance of the finishing order in the 3 regular classes. The NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Models kicked things off with a pair of heats won by Ryan
Kimball and Bryan Mercer. Matt Spence and Kyle Donaldson shared the first round of Thunder Car action, with the Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stock qualifiers split between Brad Martin and Daryl Fice, who earned the front row starting spots for the night’s 50 lap main event. Taking a turn at the controls of Bryan Watts’ #61 machine, Derek Lynch picked-up the Late Model semi feature, with Ken Donaldson Jr. and Danny Benedict earning checkered flags in the Thunder Car and Mini Stock semis. Alex Lees took the Mini Stock consolation round.
A 20 lapper for the Thunder Cars started the year’s final round of feature race action. John Bryan and Ken Donaldson Jr. paced the field to the line and from the drop of the green flag; Donaldson was in control of the show. The 2011 track champion – who has made selected Kawartha starts this year – led every circuit in the caution free event. Spence was assured of his 2012 title by finishing 2nd, with his championship rival Howie Crowe 3rd. Kyle Donaldson and Donny Beatty completed the top 5.
The Hasiuk Trailer and Container Rental Mini Stock 50 lap invitational feature was next on the agenda. Championship contenders Brad Martin and Daryl Fice brought the 17 starters to the stripe, but right off the bat
the night took a dramatic turn for Fice. His #44 Cavalier was off the pace, while Martin moved out to a commanding lead. While the point leader lost positions, his adversary caught the tail end of the pack and began putting the back-markers a lap down. Just before the halfway mark, Martin saw Fice as his next victim and put the title hopeful down a lap.
While it looked like Daryl Fice’s mechanical issues would hand the crown to Martin, the #53 Neon started to make unhealthy noises as the driver backed out of the throttle at the end of the straightaways. Within a couple of laps, the race leader slowed to a stop on the infield escape road. With his championship dreams dashed, a dejected Martin sat in his car – still with his helmet on – while the rest of pack completed the main event.
Fice clinched the 2012 crown while Martin watched from the sidelines, but the story had yet another plot line developing on the racetrack. Danny Benedict was steering his #54 Honda toward the front of the field. The talented teen – who developed his racing skills in the Kawartha-Durham Kart Club – worked around defending rookie of the year Ryan Oosterholt and held off a late race attack from Alex Lees to pick-up his first career main event win in the caution-free feature. Rob Flindall and Tyler Junkin – making his first start of the season – finished 4th and 5th.
The last feature event for Kawartha Speedway’s regular divisions was a 25 lap shootout for the NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Models and after watching the Thunder Car and Mini Stock ‘A’ mains run without a single yellow flag, the Fraserville oval’s headline class had some pretty big shoes to fill.
Opening night winner Dave Morgan and Brad Stevenson – subbing for Jamie Horner in the #14 Chevy – brought the starting field to the flag. The dream of running all 3 features from green to checker nearly came true. Contact between Mike Wallace and Ryan Kimball with 23 laps complete sent both drivers to the back of the pack. On the ensuing restart, Stevenson spun in the second turn and with nowhere to go, Owen Smith made hard contact with the Horner Chassis ride. Both cars were towed from the scene, with the drivers checked by rescue personnel before being released.
After a race-long battle with Derek Lynch, Dan McHattie claimed another main event win and secured his 8th Kawartha Late Model championship. Bryan Mercer, Morgan and Tim Cole completed the top 5.
Kawartha klips: Former Kawartha Late Model star Brandon Watson won the 75 lap OSCAAR Super Late Model Don Biederman Memorial event. Gary McLean entered the history books as the track’s first OSCAAR Modified
feature winner…Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Pure Stock runners Corey Hayward, Jeff VanDebelt and Henk Mulders ran with the Mini Stock pack, as did Oshawa’s Ryan Babin, Ryan Rentnell from Dunsford and Stayner’s
Ryan Toon. Former Kawartha regular Dwight Lavoie was also back in action with the Mini Stock starters…The track’s annual awards banquet will be held Friday, October 12th. Drivers and race teams can find the details at www.kawarthaspeedway.com.
Prepared by Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications