Peterborough, ON- As she gets ready to start her Grade 10 program at Bayside Secondary School, Willow Barberstock is already at the head of another class- on the racetrack.
The teenager from Stirling, Ontario – who will celebrate her 15th birthday Friday, October 17 – currently leads the Battlefield Equipment Rental 4Fun division point standings at Peterborough Speedway and strengthened that position with another main event win – Saturday, August 23 – at the track known as Canada’s Toughest 1/3-Mile Paved Oval.
“It’s been a great season and I’m fortunate to have the support of a large group of family and friends to encourage me along the way,” said Barberstock after her most recent feature victory. “It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but I’m having fun and that’s what matter the most.”
Heading into the night’s action, Barberstock held a slim 14 point advantage over her nearest competition, Ray Schroer. Matthew Vanderbelt sat third in the standings, 41 behind Barberstock. Although she says she isn’t superstitious, the young lady from the Little Village with the Big Heart knew the exact margin between herself, Schroer and Vanderbelt. Teams will often run a number of pre-race practice sessions, but the #62 team elected to stay in the pits for all but one of the test periods.
“Anything can happen when you’re on the track, whether you’re racing or practicing,” said Barberstock. “I ran an early session and my grandfather (Randy Hollingsworth) timed my laps. When the other cars were on the track, we sat in the pit grandstand and clocked their laps so we could compare them to what our car did.”
When racing at the tight, tricky bullring on Mount Pleasant Road, west of the Liftlock City got underway, Barberstock’s RB’s Auto Recyclers/Ontario Modifieds Racing Series/Vinyl Kreationz/Bella Ever After/Sydney Auto Wreckers/Clarke Motorsports Communications backed ride won her first qualifying heat race, but any point chase advantage she might have gained from that trip to victory lane was negated when Vanderbelt and Schroer also scored preliminary round victories.
By the luck of the draw, Barberstock lined-up on the outside of the front row to begin the 4Fun division’s main event.
At the drop of the green flag, she took an early lead while the rest of the pack battled for position in her rear view mirror. In spite of the age shown on her birth certificate, the driver of the #62 machine has learned a lot during the 2014 season and that experience – combined with her supportive friends, family and fans – has put her in the running for a championship run. Even with Matthew Vanderbelt’s #69 ride glued to her back bumper over the closing laps, it was another well-earned trip to the winner’s circle for the talented teen.
The regular season portion of Peterborough Speedway’s 2014 schedule concludes Saturday, August 30th with the Championship Clash. Point titles will be determined in the track’s five weekly divisions. Also on the show will be the crowd favourite OSCAAR Outlaw Super Late Models. Racing begins at 6:00. See www.peterboroughspeedway.com for details.
Prepared by: Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media