Action got underway just before 2:00 on a bright, sunny afternoon as the Thunder Car teams hit the track for their qualifying events. Round #1 feature winner John Baker Jr. took the checkered flag in each 10 lap heat, while Tyler Junkin performed the same feat when the Mini Stock drivers took to the speedway. The trend of sweeping a round continued through most of the preliminary action, with Tiffany Vandebelt, Kevin Foisy/Matt Haufe and Norm Mayhew taking each of their heats in the 4Fun, Ontario Legends and Animal run divisions. Ryan Kimball and Dave Morgan shared the Late Model prelims.
The Thunder Car crew rolled from the staging area for the afternoon's first feature event and it was a spirited 25 lapper. Howie Crowe jumped out to an early lead, but soon had his rear-view mirror filled with as many as four challengers, all of whom cherished his position at the front of the field. As the leaders worked through a group of slower cars with 14 laps complete, Crowe found himself battling with former track champion Willie Reyns on the high side and last week's winner John Baker Jr. tight on his back bumper. With just 4 circuits remaining, Reyns grabbed the top spot away and brought Baker along for the ride. The lead pair would finish in that order, with Crowe, Brad Lavalle and invader Dan Archibald completing the Top 5.
20 laps of Mini Stock racing turned into another Tyler Junkin benefit. The Ennismore, Ontario racer started deep in the field, but was leading the way with just four laps complete.
Steering a #41 ride he says is powered by hard work, Junkin watched others fight for spots while sprinting away to about a half a track's advantage over the second place runner. Brooklin's Donovan Price would turn in another strong effort to finish behind Junkin, with Craig Martin, Danny Benedict and 2 time Mosport/Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway champion Willy Howells next across the stripe.
It was the day of the borrowed ride when the 4Fun teams headed to the green flag for their 20 lap feature event.
Steering Andrew Massey's machine that won the opening round of Grassroots action from the tail of the field, 2013 Peterborough Speedway Mini Stock and 4Fun track champion Ryan Oosterholt grabbed the checkered flag over Farm Bro Racing teammates Chris Mulders and Ryan Babin. Marilyn Junkin and Brandon Feeney were fourth and fifth at the conclusion of race distance.
15 Ontario Legends teams came to the stripe for their feature dance, with Nicholas Ledson and Brian Saunders on the front row. The field ran the first dozen laps before a caution flag for a report of debris slowed the pace. Back at race speed, there wasn't much doubt as to the outcome as Capital City Speedway regulars Kevin Foisy and Matt Haufe - who had won heat races earlier in the day - took control. The pair waged their own battle for the lead, with Ledson, Dave Riopelle and Saunders filling out the top five at the checkered flag.
Kawartha Speedway's history was built on providing fans with some of the best Late Model racing in the province and the second event on the 2014 Grassroots Racing Series proved to be no exception. The field ran nothing but green flag laps until a late race debris caution produced a five lap shootout to the finish. Buckhorn, Ontario's Dave Morgan was first across the line, but his #10 machine failed post-race inspection, giving the win to Dan McHattie. Derek Lynch, Ryan Kimball, Bryan Mercer and Bob Kish were scored as the top five.
Feature race action concluded with the first ever Grassroots Racing 'Animal Run'.
With rulebook set aside in favour of creativity and imagination, it was an 'anything goes' six lap shootout. Norm Mayhew, a former Kawartha Speedway Late Model and Thunder Car standout dominated the day with the Pro Late Model he currently wheels at Brighton Speedway. The line-up also included Dan Price, in the Thunder Car he campaigns at Peterborough Speedway, Tyler Junkin in a modified Mini Stock and former Ontario Legends champion Adam Cuthbertson, in a crate engine powered DIRTcar Sportsman Modified.
Grassroots Racing Series seedlings: It was a rough afternoon for Dave Morgan. As he was climbing into the car to get ready for practice, he hit his head on the buckle that is used to fasten the window net. A trip to the hospital resulted in six staples being used to close the wound, but he missed all practice sessions and his qualifying heat. After taking the checkered flag in the Late Model feature, his car came-up light in post race inspection...Former Kawartha Speedway Mini Stock track champion Daryl Fice brought his freshly painted Thunder Car to the track, but didn't turn a lap in practice or during the race...Willie Reyns was a little out of practice when it came to following race winning protocol. He collected the checkered flag on the backstretch, took a victory lap and then drove into the pits...before coming to victory lane to collect his trophy and be interviewed.
Grassroots Racing Series action returns to Kawartha Speedway Sunday, June 22. A 30 lap Mini Stock invitational will highlight the afternoon that will also include Late Model, Thunder Car, 4Fun and Ontario Legends racing. Pit gates will open at 10:00, with rotating practice sessions at 11:00 and the day's first green flag at 1:30. For complete schedule details, check www.kawarthaspeedway.com and click on the 'Grassroots Racing' tab.
Prepared by: Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media