BOWMANVILLE, ON – People can spend their holiday long weekends in a number of different ways. At the beach, tinkering in the garden, taking the family on a road trip or anything else they choose. But when you’re locked in a battle for the track championship at a legendary racing facility, there’s no place like home and in this case, home is Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway. The half-mile oval kicked-off the month of September with a three division show, highlighted by a 50-lap late model feature tilt.
Lucas Oil Pure Stock
The 15-lap Lucas Oil Pure Stock feature tilt rolled from the staging area, with the Roy Nichols Chevrolet pace car followed to the flag by Henk Mulders and Kevin Vande Beek. The #54 machine broke from the pack early and never looked back. With the former enduro ride’s windshield wipers flapping to signify another feature win, the racer from Aurora, Ontario was chased across the line by Mulders, point leader Willy Howells, last week’s feature winner Jeff Vanderbelt and Stuart Hinds. Vande Beek celebrated the win by taking a gentle jab at his unofficial team mates in the Late Model division.
“I have to thank all my sponsors for helping me get this car to the winner’s circle tonight,” said Vande Beek. “We added ‘Steelcase Tire n’ Mag’ decals to the car before coming here tonight and they bet me $20 that I wouldn’t win, so I guess I’m in line for a little extra bonus.”
Bob’s Towing Thunder Car
The Bob’s Towing Thunder Cars opened the program with Oshawa’s John Baker Jr. strengthening his hold on the division championship by winning both rounds of qualifying.
The feature event action got underway, as Tom Cormier and Dale Wood paced the field to the green flag. Coming from 3rd place on the gird, John Baker Jr. wrote another verse to a familiar song with yet another victory. Wood, Steve Mayhew, Cormier and Ross Evans completed the top 5. Ever the showman, Baker thanked the crowd for supporting his 2012 campaign in the #63 John Baker’s Auto ride.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight and I’m sorry if you get tired of seeing me win all the time…but I love it,” said Baker in victory lane. “This car was amazing tonight and it’s so great to race here in front of such a great crowd every week.”
With the Late Model drivers introduced to the crowd before heading into battle for their 50-lap feature, it was time for the next round of the “Kyle and Darren Show.” Just three points apart in the standings coming into the night, Kyle Donaldson and Darren Kearnan would come from 4th and 5th place on the starting grid. Mark Gordon and Richard Boake paced the pack for the early stages, but everyone was watching the charge that was coming from the middle of the field.
With only two caution flags – both for solo spins in the second turn by Rob Brown – to slow the race speed, the field was able to spread out and once in front of the pack, Donaldson was never challenged. Kearnan settled for 5th place and may have watched his championship hopes drive away. Gordon, Dwight Brown and Boake filled-out the rest of the top-5 finishers. Always soft spoken outside the racecar, Donaldson gave a tip of the hat to the team that prepares his #53 Planet Recovery/Downtown Rug/Custom Steering Chevrolet.
“The car was perfect again tonight. It’s easy to drive when everything comes together the way you plan,” said Donaldson. “I spent about 90 per cent of the race looking out the windshield and that’s always a good thing. It was a tight battle coming into the night, but we were able to build a bit of an advantage and at this stage of the year, every little bit helps.”
Saturday at the Park
Harold Boake – whose son Richard drives the #90 Late Model – was the King of the Hill winner…His 3rd place finish in the Pure Stock feature unofficially clinched the 2012 track championship for rookie runner Willy Howells. Coming into the night with a lead of more than 70 points on Corey Hayward, Howells’ cause was helped when the #70 car cut a tire 4 laps into the race and lost several laps making the change under green flag conditions…5th place Pure Stock feature finisher Stuart Hinds surrendered that position in post-race inspection when his car was found to be below the minimum weight…Anthony DiBello worked some long hours with the help of Late Model driver Doug Wills to get his Thunder Car back in action after a hard crash Friday, August 24th at Kawartha Speedway…The 2012 season wraps-up Saturday, September 8th as Royal Distributing presents Fan Appreciation Night. On track action will include the Lucas Oil Pure Stocks, Bob’s Towing Thunder Cars, Late Models and the TECHTONIX Open Wheel Modifieds. For complete details, see www.canadiantiremotorsportpark.com.
From Ryan Chalmers, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park