CHATHAM, ON – JUNE 2, 2012 – With lightning over the lake serving as an eerie backdrop, the excitement was electrifying as Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. and Leamington’s Joel Dick battled door-to-door for the final 14 laps of the in the Brian Outhouse memorial race in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified on Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway.
“That was an amazing race,” Dale Jr. said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race that exciting. I hope the fans enjoyed it, because it was a lot fun from inside the car,” said Dale Jr., in his 31st season of racing.
Dick agreed. “It was fun … he’d be ahead one lap, I’d be ahead the next. It was going to be a helluva finish,” he said.
But on the last lap, they made contact as they exited turn two on the straightaway. Dale Jr. never lifted as he drove around to claim his second straight and third feature win of the season. Dick, meanwhile, hit the wall after the contact with Dale Jr. and suffered front end damage. He coasted home for an eighth-place finish.
“I stayed in my line, and I think he drove it in hard for one last shot and his momentum pushed him into up me,” Dale Jr. said of the contact that spoiled what was sure to be a photo finish. It was just a racing incident,” Dick agreed.
“I knew he was up there, we touched a little bit and I came out on the short end of it. It was too bad,” he continued, “I knew I could drive coming off (turn) four and I might have had him.”
Dale Jr., who found a groove on the high side of the track, was planning his own strategy for the final corner. “There was still a little bit of cushion at the top and I was carrying a lot of momentum through three and four,” he said. “I was going to ride the wall if I had to because I knew there was still some good bite up there. I thought it was going to be a side-by-side finish and someone winning by a couple of inches,” he said.
Dick started on the pole, thanks to his dash win, and Dale Jr. in the second row of the 25-lap memorial race, as both drivers were looking for their third feature wins of the season.
Dale Jr. passed Leamington’s Paul DeGoey for second on lap five to set the stage for a thrilling 20-lap showdown. After the race was red-flagged for a three-car crash on lap 11, the lead changed hands several times before Dale Jr. went to the point for good on lap 22.
Chatham’s Jeff Daniels and Louis Clements finished second and third, with Belle River’s Mario Toniolo and Merlin’s Joe Brosseau rounding out the top five as 22 cars took the initial green.
Two other features were won by drivers making their first appearances of the season. Chatham’s Kirk Hooker, the defending Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Model points champion, took the lead on lap two and led the final 18 circuits in a caution-free Glencoe Auto Recyclers feature.
Hooker is running a limited schedule at South Buxton because his son Jake, 12, races go-carts Saturday afternoons nearby in Tilbury, and he has resurrected his asphalt program at Delaware Speedway.
Chatham’s Gregg Haskell, Louisville’s Jim Fletcher, Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis and Chatham’s Don Gordon rounded out the top five as 10 Late Models were on hand.
Three of the classes top drivers – Chatham’s Brad Authier, Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford and his brother Mark Glassford of Goderich – all sat out with one week-suspensions for rough driving over the previous two weeks.
Merlin’s Steve Shaw, who won the 2011 championship race in his last appearance at South Buxton, made his belated season debut a success as he took advantage of a lapped car to pass Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon for the lead with four laps to go in the Windride Transportation UMP Late Models feature.
Chatham’s Jason Fox was third, Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere fourth and Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse fifth in a race slowed by just one caution.
Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano won his third straight Tirecraft Comp 4 feature with four other drivers posting their best seasons of the season – Chatham’s Randy McKinlay second, Tilbury drivers Ryan Beaulieu and Gerry Rivait third and fourth and Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. fifth.
Blenheim’s Shawn Jones, who won the first two features, started in the ninth row and didn’t return after being involved in a first-lap crash.
By Mike Bennett / South Buxton Raceway