CHATHAM, ON – Eren Vanderiviere earned his third feature win of the season on Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway – by beating his own race car. The Merlin driver won the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature in a thrilling 20-lap battle with Darren Marchand, who was in car that Vanderiviere drove to his 2011 series points championship.
Marchand was pinch-driving for Chatham’s Jason Fox, the regular driver of Vanderiviere’s old car. Fox was attending an out-of-town wedding. “I’m happy with the car and the way the year’s going,” Vanderiviere said of the new No. 29 he’s piloting in 2012.
Vanderiviere’s three feature wins and seven checkered flags have already eclipsed last year’s total of two features and four checkereds en route to his championship. Vanderiviere started inside of the third row but quickly moved into second coming out of turn two on the first lap. He took the lead from Marchand on the third lap and led the final 17 circuits.
“He left the bottom open for me and I took the opportunity to jump on it, and it worked out,” he said of the pass for the lead. Vanderiviere found a line at the bottom to his liking as the race ran caution free until lap 16 for a single car incident involving Wheatley’s Steve Clements in turn three while he was running in the top five.
The caution was a big break for Vanderiviere, who had just gotten loose in turn 2 and was passed by Marchand. “Good thing a caution came out,” Vanderiviere admitted, as scoring reverted back to the last completed lap, negating Marchand’s pass for the lead. “I almost looped it coming out of two and he [Marchand] got by … but it worked out in my favour,” Vanderiviere said. “Yes, very disappointing,” Marchand said of his misfortune. Although he was driving for Vanderiviere’s teammate, Marchand was hungry to drive the Fox car to a win.
“These guys have good equipment, the set up was good,” said Marchand, who got out of racing after his back-to-back Sport Stocks point championships in 1999-2000. Marchand also drove twice last year for Vanderiviere on nights he had to miss for weddings. Vanderiviere also took satisfaction in ending the two week feature win streak of fellow Merlin driver Steve Shaw.
“My goal is to beat Steve Shaw … I’m glad we knocked off his high horse,” Vanderiviere said with a laugh. Shaw, who won his heat, finished third in the feature as he couldn’t mount any attack against the two leaders. Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon, who won the other heat, and Leamington’s Paul Gossmann rounded out the top five.
Blenheim’s Shawn Jones and Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. both won their fourth features of the season and Chatham’s Brad Authier his second in the other divisions. Jones won another classic battle with Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano, as the two have combined to win all 22 Tirecraft Comp 4 features in the class since the start of the 2011 season. “That was intense,” Jones said after his 14th feature win over the last two seasons.
The 20-year-old took the lead from DeSerrano on lap four and were never more than a few feet apart the rest of the They finished one-two for the fourth time this season, with Jones winning three of the battles. Jones said he learned a lesson from two weeks ago when he finished second to DeSerrano. “There was more traction on the outside,” said Jones, who chose the top of the track for the five restarts afer he took the lead.
“A couple of weeks ago, I passed him on the outside, then jumped to the bottom and didn’t work out,” he recalled, as DeSerrano then used the top to regain the lead. “Tonight, I stayed on the outside and it worked out,” Jones said. Jones’ 14-year-old brother Trevor finished third for a second straight week, with Cottam’s Rob Quick fourth and Chatham’s Randy McKinlay fifth.
Dale Jr. had pretty well relegated himself to a second-place finish until a caution with three to go shook up the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified field. Merlin’s Joe Brosseau, who led the first 17 laps, was penalized two spots for jumping the previous restart 10 laps earlier, turning the lead over to Dale Jr. Brosseau made contact with second-place Joel Dick of Leamington as the green flew, ending both drivers’ chances of winning. “It was way easier doing it this way, but he [Brosseau] likely would have won the race,” Dale Jr. admitted. “I was catching him on the long green flag runs, but I don’t know if I would have passed him.” Chatham’s Jeff Daniels finished second, followed by Clayton Smith, of Taylor, MI., Windsor’s Dan McIntyre and Chatham’s Jason Haskell.
For the third week in a row, Brosseau won the heat and dash but came up short in the feature despite leading the most laps. He was credited with an 11th-place finish as he was able to return after the late race incident. Dick, however, carded a DNF and a 15th-place finish in the 22-car field. Dale Jr. and Dick have combined to win all seven features this season and 18 of the 21 since the start of the 2011 season. Dale Jr. has 10 wins and Dick eight during the last two seasons, while Brosseau is one of the other three drivers who have been able to get to the Winner’s Circle.
“I can’t explain it because everyone in this class is fast,” Dale Jr. said of the pair’s domination. “But tonight it shouldn’t have been either one of us … it should have been the 47 [Brosseau],” Dale Jr. declared.
Authier won the drag race on the first lap with Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford and led all 20 laps of the Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Model feature. It was the third straight uneventful feature race following two rough weeks which led to the suspensions of Authier, Glassford and Goderich’s Mark Glassford. “It’s been good the last couple of weeks … there was no tagging, no hitting no banging,” Authier said. “There’s no complaints by me, I don’t think anyone else can complain.”
Authier, in his 30th year of racing, honoured the memory of his father Jim, grandfather Meddy and long-time sponsor and father-figure Jim Robinson, in his Father’s Day tribute in the Winner’s Circle. “I wouldn’t be here without those guys,” said Authier, a seven-time track champion and four-time championship race winner in his illustrious career.
“Jimmy was always good to me, he helped me out from when we started and his name (Robinson Cycle) is still on the car, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Chatham’s Gregg Haskell, who passed Authier late to win last week’s feature, finished second this time. Chatham’s Kirk Hooker and Jim Jones, along with Mark Glassford, rounded out the top five.
The Northern Summer Nationals Sprints visit South Buxton Raceway this Saturday. The four-race series, which starts on Friday at Ohsweken Speedway, features sprint cars from four governing bodies.
From Mike Bennett / South Buxton Raceway