CHATHAM, ON – Cue the tape – it was another rerun at South Buxton Raceway on Saturday night as the same four drivers won their feature races for the third consecutive week. For Blenheim’s Shawn Jones, it was a four-peat. Jones won his fourth straight and sixth feature of the season in the Tirecraft Comp 4s.
Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. won his third straight Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds feature. It was his fifth win in the last six weeks and sixth overall for the season. It was also three-peat for the other two feature winners. Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere won his third straight and fifth of the season in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks. And Chatham’s Brad Authier also won the Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Models for the third week in a row and fourth time of the season.
Rick Brubacher, of St. Clements, led all 20 laps of the Modified Lite Stars International Championship Tour feature race. Dale Jr. will be sorry to see the calendar change after winning four of five features and nine total checkered flags in June. His only hiccup was on June 9 when he finished fifth in the heat and posted a DNF in the feature after breaking a wheel on a rough track while leading. Dale Jr. led all 20 laps of Saturday’s feature but had company the entire way.
Merlin’s Brad McLeod, Louisville’s Jim Fletcher and Leamington’s Joel Dick swapped second through fourth several times over the final 15 laps. However, while they were locked in their thrilling battle, they were unable to get a run on the leader. “I could hear someone on the inside and someone way out,” Dale Jr. said. “I didn’t know who … I knew Fletcher but wasn’t sure who else. They [his crew] told me after that Brad was really fast up top,” he said of McLeod.
Dale Jr. usually prefers the high line but generally stuck to the low side on Saturday. “I started on the bottom and just stayed there,” he said. “We ran a few laps and no one was getting by [on the outside], so I just stayed there.”
McLeod nipped Fletcher at the line to finish a season-high second while Dick was a close fourth. Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra rounded out the top five. Dick, who has the other three feature wins, won his heat for his seventh checkered flag of the year. Dale Jr., with 12 wins, and Dick with eight, have combined to win 20 of the 24 features since the start of the 2011 season.
Jones took advantage of his pole starting position to lead all 15 laps for his fourth straight and sixth feature win of the year. For the second week in a row, Jones’ biggest challenge came from veteran Rob Quick of Cottam. “He looked like a rocket ship in the heat race,” Jones said of Quick. “When I pulled him coming off the green, I knew my car was working pretty good,” Jones said.
Quick would later have a battle with the ‘other Jones’ as 14-year-old Trevor Jones challenged for second, taking the spot for a couple of laps before settling for his second third-place finish in his rookie year. Tilbury’s Ryan Beaulieu finished fourth while Ridgetown’s Jerry Ramaut rounded out the top five.
Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano, who has the other three features wins in the Comp 4s, wasn’t a factor as he pitted when the caution came out on the original green. He returned to stay on the lead lap but could only nurse his injured machine to a ninth-place finish. His previous low finish was a sixth.
For the second week in a row, Vanderiviere was involved in an incident in turn two while battling Merlin’s Steve Shaw for the lead. Last week, Shaw was penalized to the back for taking out the leader Vanderiviere. This time, Vanderiviere was not penalized for getting into the leader Shaw, who stayed on the apron to bring out the caution before going to the pits and didn’t return. Vanderiviere said although it was a co-incidence that the same two drivers tangled again, it was different circumstances this time.
“I think he drove it in a little too hard, knowing we were all right there,” he said of Shaw, as Grand Pointe’s Tyler Lozon and Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse were was also in the picture of a tight four-car battle for lead. He was a little out of shape and we touched a little bit out of the corner, but I was hard on the brakes trying not to get into him,” Vanderiviere said. “It’s just a racing incident.”
After the incident, Lozon led the next two laps before Vanderiviere made an inside pass coming out of turn two and led the final five circuits to take the checkered. Lozon and Vyse held on to finish second and third, with Chatham’s Jason Fox and Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse rounding out the top five. Authier is certainly enjoying his current three-week win streak, but the 50-year-old has a long way to go to match his personal best streak.
“Back in ’91, we won something like 11 or 12 in a row between here and the Ridge,” Authier looked back to the days when cars raced at South Buxton on Saturdays and the former Ridge Raceway on Sundays. He also dominated the Late Model class at South Buxton, reeling off four straight points championships from 1997-2000. And Authier dominated the field on Saturday en route to his third straight Late Model feature.
He took the lead on lap two, winning a drag race around the ‘D’ from Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford, and never trailed over the remaining 19 laps. “I really didn’t see anyone, except for Dale on the restarts,” Authier said. “The car worked good on the high side last week, this week it was back to the bottom,” he added. “And everyone raced clean again,” he noted.
In the Mod Lite Stars feature, Brubacher started on the pole and held off six different drivers who took turns running second, including Beamsville’s Paul Klager, who won the Mod Lite Stars’ first visit to South Buxton last August. But Klager’s hopes of a repeat ended when he spun on lap 16 and was involved in a multi-car incident a lap later. He finished ninth.
Ridgeway’s Josh Slater passed Shawn Sliter of Port Colbourne with three to go to finish second. Brantford’s Dan Kirving finished fourth and Port Colbourne’s Rob Goulding was fifth. Krager won his heat and dash while Bolton’s Jason Corless won the other heat as 14 cars from the Mod Lite Stars North Region made the trip to South Buxton. The series visited Ohsweken Speedway on Friday where Derek Wagner, of Middleport N.Y., was the winner, but did come to South Buxton for the non-points race.
By Mike Bennett / SBR