CHATHAM, ON – Saturday night’s feature winners took four different routes to the Winner’s Circle at South Buxton Raceway. Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere led all 25 laps to win the Len Bryden memorial race for his seventh Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature of the season
Chatham’s Louis Clements took the lead on a restart after the race leader was penalized for aggressive driving and led the final 12 laps for his second Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified victory.
Blenheim’s Shawn Jones passed his brother Trevor with three laps to go to for their second straight one-two finish in the Tirecraft Comp 4s. But the most dramatic finish of the night came in the Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Models, where Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford inherited the lead when Mike Lewis of Wallaceburg spun out in the final turn on the last scheduled lap. “I’ve been in that boat before, so I know how it feels for Mikey,” Glassford said of Lewis’s misfortune. “I’ll chalk this as using up some of my good luck,” Glassford said.
Lewis, looking for his first feature win since July 3, 2010, took the lead from Glassford on a restart on lap 10. Glassford pulled beside Lewis on the final lap as the leaders headed into turns three and four for the final time. “I tried to block him (Glassford),” Lewis said of his spin. “I tried to get down there to hold him off, but I should have just kept my go,” he admitted.
Glassford felt he had a chance on the last lap if he could get beside Lewis but he never expected the leader to spin out.
“It was just luck,” Glassford said of how everything played out in his favour. But, the race wasn’t over. The caution waved before the checkered, setting the stage for one final lap.
Glassford, however, was already in the Winner’s Circle, thinking the race was over.
“I had undone my belts and shut off the brakes .. then they told me the race wasn’t over,” Glassford said. He held off Brad Authier’s challenge out of the last corner to win his fourth feature of the season. Lewis passed two cars on the extra lap to finish third. “Me and Dale laughed about it, he told me it was my race to win, but I didn’t win it,” said Lewis.
Points leader Gregg Haskell and Jim Jones, both of Chatham, were the final cars on the lead lap. Vanderiviere took advantage of his front-row start to avoid the mayhem behind him as the other 11 starters all had battle scars from several incidents. “It’s nice to keep it in one piece and drive it on the trailer at the end of the night,” said Vanderiviere, whose car didn’t suffer a scratch during the 25-lap feature but still didn’t come way completely unscathed. “We were lucky because we had a really bad miss in the heat race and it was still there in the feature,” he said. “But the car was still working good enough (to win).”
Merlin’s Steve Shaw, who won the previous three features, and Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse were the only other drivers to finish on the lead lap, both with significant damage.
Vanderiviere, the defending series champion, will pad the 110-point lead he took into the night as second-place Tyler Lozon of Grande Pointe left the race midway through with mechanical issues and was scored in eighth place.
Clements took the Modified lead on a restart on lap eight and never looked back, leaving Jim Fletcher, of Louisville, to settle for a second straight and fifth runner-up finish of the season. “Jim and I are really good friends … it’s cool we finished one-two,” Clement said of Fletcher. “I feel bad for him because he’s had a lot second places … he deserves one (a win).
The two drivers moved to the front row on the lap-eight restart when Merlin’s Joe Brosseau, who led from the drop of the green, was penalized for aggressive driving and was sent to the back. Brosseau finished sixth. Points leader Jim Dale Jr., of Shrewsbury, surrendered second when he pitted for a flat under the same caution. He finished eighth. Wallaceburg rookie Drew Smith, who was running in 10th on the same restart that Clements took the lead, worked his way through the field and passed Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra with two laps to go to finish a season-high third. Leamington’s Joel Dick, who entered the night two points ahead of Fletcher in the standings, overcame a seventh-row starting position to finish fifth.
The Comp 4 feature was déjà vu from a week earlier as Shawn Jones earned his ninth feature win of the season and second in a row at the expense of his 14-year-old brother.
Jones, 20, admitted he never would have caught his brother had it not been for a caution two laps earlier. “I was trying every way I could but I couldn’t get by him,” Shawn said.
But the younger Jones developed a push in his car as he drifted from his line coming out of turn two, allowing Shawn to make the pass. “Even with the caution, if he didn’t get too low n the corner he would have held me off,” Shawn said. Last week, Shawn took the lead from his brother with seven laps to go. “There’s always next week,” said Trevor, shrugging off any disappointment. Chatham’s Randy McKinlay, Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano and Chatham’s Rick Balasin rounded out the top five.
The Late Models will run the Rick Haskell memorial feature this Saturday. Canadian Tire NASCAR series driver Jason Hathaway, of Appin, will be in attendance, signing autographs before the races and will jump into Lozon’s second car to run with the Sport Stocks class for the night.
By Mike Bennett