Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere won his third straight feature and extended his race win streak to seven by sweeping the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks for a second week in a row Saturday night.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford, in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models, and Leamington’s Joel Dick, in the Schinkel’s Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds, won feature races for the second week in a row and third time this season.
Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano won his fourth feature and swept all three races in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods for the third time this season.
Blenheim’s Luke Small won both races in the Bomber class, including his first feature win.
The closest finish of the night came in the TUSA Canada West Region Mod-Lites as Tim Anderson, of Port Colborne, passed Ridgeway’s Josh Sliter coming out of turn four on the final lap to steal the checkered flag.
The Chatham-Kent Big Brothers/Big Sisters 50-50 draw went unclaimed. The winning ticket number is a 423863 on a green ticket, worth $709. If you have this ticket, please call Sherry Lemesurier (519-360-0371).
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne Photo; click on photos for larger images.
Vanderiviere caps a checkered June with another 3-for-3 night
If you stop in to visit Eren Vanderiviere, don’t be surprised if his calendar still says ‘June’ for the rest of the summer.
The Merlin driver finished the month with his third straight feature win and second consecutive three-for-three sweep in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks.
Vanderiviere won 10 out of 12 races in June. In the two races he didn’t win, he finished second to Merlin’s Steve Shaw in the June 8 feature and second to Wheatley’s Steve Clements in the June 15 crack-the-whip.
Last week’s three-for-three was a career first, as are his seven straight wins dating back to his June 15 feature win.
“I know the seven in a row is a first, but you’ll have to look up the features, I don’t know if I’ve ever won three in a row,” Vanderiviere said in his Winner’s Circle interview.
And upon further review, Vanderiviere did win three features in a row - coincidently in the final three weeks of June last year.
Vanderiviere started Saturday’s feature on the outside of the third row, moved into third on lap six and took second when Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon cut a tire - one of several drivers to suffer the same fate on the rough track.
Kingsville’s Rob Young led from the drop of the green and had a strong run going on the outside of the track, fending off Vanderiviere, who was running the bottom.
But Young slowed going through turns three and four on lap 14 and drove straight to the pits, ending his hopes of his first feature win in a points race.
“Broke a tie-rod,” Young said. “I was trying to stay out of that hole in one and two but got forced in there.
“Too bad, because we had a rocket ship,” said Young, who won a non-points feature last September.
Vanderiviere led the final seven laps, but had to hold off a hard-charging Clements.
“Once I got the lead, I slowed down quite a bit, but I had to get back into it a little harder when I saw he (Clements) was there,” Vanderiviere said.
“I could hear him, then I saw his nose a couple of times … it made it a little more interesting for the fans,” he said about holding off Clements’ late charge.
Vanderiviere said he was biding his time as he chased Young for a half-dozen laps.
“I think I could have got by him,” Vanderiviere said. “He (Young) was running good but he was up the rough stuff, and when the car’s bouncing like that, you’re not getting any traction.”
Vanderiviere, who used the high side to hold off Shaw last Saturday, was not coming off the bottom this week.
“I slowed down a little entering the corners because the track was pretty rough,” he said. “I wanted to keep it down on the bottom, that’s where I found it was the smoothest.”
Clements hung on for a season-high second-place finish. Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse was third, two spots ahead of his father Gary Vyse, while Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse finished in between in fourth.
Vanderiviere, who went into the night with a two-point lead atop the standings, increased the advantage to 30 after Shaw was the first of five drivers to suffer tire or front end damage. He left on lap two and didn’t return, finishing 12th.
Joel ‘two-for-blue’ in Modified features in new paint scheme
It was ‘deja blue’ for Joel Dick on Saturday night.
The Leamington driver is two-for-two in Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds features since unveiling his new blue and white paint scheme.
“The car looks good when it’s getting its picture taken,” Dick said, with a smile, as he posed again for photos in the Winner’s Circle.
“I like it … it’s a nice change,” he said of the switch from the black and green colors.
And, it was ‘deja blue’ for Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra, who battled Dick for most of the feature race for a second week in a row until he was involved in a couple of late accidents and finished 10th.
“It was kind of the same as last week, his car is strong down on the bottom and I found a couple of good lines up top,” Dick said of his battle with Hoekstra, a repeat of last Saturday’s feature when they finished one-two.
It was actually a three-car battle for the first 19 laps this time, as Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. led laps 4-8 before it became a two-car battle between Dick and Hoekstra, who swapped the lead several times before the caution waved on lap 19.
It took three restarts to get another green lap in the books, but two of those restarts saw both Dale Jr. and Hoekstra involved in incidents to fall out of contention.
Hoekstra recovered his incident on the second attempt to go green, as he restarted at the back of the remaining 12-lead lap cars and got back into the top five. However, an accident on the final lap while battling Belle River’s Mario Toniolo for fourth wound up with a 10th-place finish for Hoekstra, one spot behind Toniolo.
Dale Jr. wasn’t as fortunate as was running third when he got hit from behind on the first attempt. He pitted and didn’t return, posting his third DNF in the last four features and placed 13th.
The late-race cautions allowed Merlin’s Jeff Daniels to pull off a second-place finish, while Essex’s Gerald Martin finished third, his best in the two years since he moved up to the Modified class. Windsor’s Dan McIntyre and Merlin’s Brad McLeod moved up to fourth and fifth place finishes after the Hoekstra-Toniolo incident.
Dick, who ran the top of the track virtually every lap, interestingly chose the bottom for the five restarts over the final six laps.
“I just wanted to take away their line and once I got my momentum, I took it back to the top,” he explained his strategy.
Rough track conditions, especially between turns one and two, also played into every driver’s strategy.
“It was rough all through the turn,” Dick said of conditions in the corner.
“If I hit my lines just perfect on entry, it was fairly smooth at the very top. I definitely couldn’t handle the bottom, it was just too rough.”
Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith won his heat and the dash and started on the front row for the feature. Smith, however, was involved in two incidents and finished 12th.
Dick won the other heat, which gave him four straight wins at that point dating back to last Saturday’s sweep of all three races.
DeSerrano pulls off his third ‘hat trick’ of the season
One week after posting his first DNF of the season, Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano led 18 of 20 laps to win his fourth Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature of the season, his first since May 18 when he started the year winning three in a row.
“We’ve been doing a lot of winning, but it’s the first feature win in awhile,” DeSerrano said, as Saturday’s three-for-three sweep gives him a track-leading 14 checkereds for the season.
It was DeSerrano’s third sweep of the season as he has won at least one race in seven of eight race nights.
“There’s a lot of good cars out here, we just keep doing our best every week, and tonight everything worked great on the car,” said DeSerrano.
He started the feature in the third row but moved up to second before the cars came around to complete a lap.
“A lot of it’s just luck, just being in the right place at the right time,” DeSerrano described his quick advance to the front.
He inherited the lead when Chatham’s Randy McKinlay had issues under caution on the third lap and was forced to pit.
“I think if McKinlay didn’t have problems, he would have been good competition,” DeSerrano said.
Once in front, DeSerrano was committed to running the bottom, as no one could mount a challenge the rest of the way.
“In the crack-the-whip, I was saving the car for the feature and was just going to ride around the bottom, but no one passed me,” he said of lessons learned from his second win of the night.
“The track was pretty decent in the feature at the start, but it started coming apart in one and two again, so I just stayed on the bottom.”
Chatham’s Rick Balasin finished second followed by Blenheim drivers Trevor Jones and brothers Kyle and Brett Hope.
Several drivers who challenged early suffered mechanical or tire issues while running up front.
Tilbury’s Ryan Beaulieu, driving Merlin’s Jody Mason’s car, was running a strong second early in the feature before developing mechanical issues and finished 15th.
P.J. Wolters, driving for Dresden’s Matt Sorrell, also left the race while running in the top five.
By the time the checkered flew, sixth-place Elliot Wilton of Blenheim was the last car on the lead lap.
DeSerrano also didn’t have to worry about Cottam’s Rob Quick, who won two straight features and swept all three races last week. Quick scratched for the night after developing motor issues following his heat-race win.
Glassford expects tough task to extend Late Model streak
Dale Glassford was happy to win his second straight and third feature of the season on Saturday night.
But he hopes it will be tougher to extend his win streak coming Saturday.
The Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models will be running in the first Gord DeWael Memorial Race on Saturday.
With an expanded purse, including lap money, track officials and the drivers themselves are hoping for a big field of Late Models.
“Next week is a big night, I know Gary and Sherry (Lemesurier) have put in a lot of work,” Glassford said.
“We’re going to have the best car count of the season, and it will be our best show, so I hope the fans come out and watch.
“And I sure hope we’re back here (the Winner’s Circle) next week, but it’s going to be tough,” he noted.
Six Late Models were on hand Saturday, as the top three put on an exciting 15-lap feature for the fans.
Chatham’s Jim Jones, who earlier in the night won the heat race for his first checkered flag of the season, led the first four laps until Glassford got by in turns three and four.
“Jimmy had a really good night but he hit a couple of bumps … we were bouncing one way and he was bouncing the other and we just happened to get by him at the right time,” Glassford described his pass for the lead.
Chatham’s Brad Authier took advantage of a caution to put pressure on Glassford in the waning laps, getting his nose inside the leader between turns one and two on a couple of occasions, but could not make a clean pass.
“I tried the high side when I was chasing Jimmy and I was bouncing around, not making up any time, so once I got to the bottom, I was staying there,” he said.
“If those guys want to go through the bumps to get around me on the outside, all power to them, but I was not getting off the bottom.”
Authier, meanwhile, had his hands full the last couple of laps as Jones made a late bid to steal second but came up just a couple inches short at the line.
“Every week it seems like it’s someone different that’s got a chance to win,” Glassford said of the small, yet competitive class.
“A couple of weeks ago we were chasing Gregg (Haskell) all night, last week Mike (Lewis) was fast, then tonight Jimmy was fast and Brad (Authier) came on at the end.
“We need different people up there to make it interesting,” Glassford said.
Points leader Gregg Haskell was fourth, rookie Erick Walker, also from Chatham was fifth, and Sarnia’s Don Douglas sixth in his season debut.
Anderson steals Mod-Lite feature from his car owner
Tim Anderson had a funny way of showing his appreciation to his car owner.
The Port Colborne driver stole the checkered flag out of Josh Sliter’s hands with a dramatic pass coming out of turn four on the last lap to win the Team United Sanctioning Associated (TUSA) West Canada Region Mod-Lites feature.
Sliger led the first 13 laps until Anderson took the lead at the line on lap 14, thanks to a run on the outside.
However when they came around to complete lap 15, Sliger regained the lead riding the bottom the line out of four.
Anderson waited until the turn four on the final lap to use that outside move again and won the sprint to the line to take the checkered.
“I knew Josh was going to be smooth, he wasn’t going to give it to me,” Anderson said about his winning pass.
“There were some big ruts in one and two, going into three was hard, I knew that was my only shot,” he said about waiting until turn four to make his move.
“Josh is good to give me a car to drive, we raced hard, even though it’s his money,” he said about taking the win away from Sliger, who won the series first two events at Humberstone and Merrittville in May.
“We only race seven times a year, so this is pretty impressive for us,” Anderson said, as his win came in his first visit to South Buxton.
Sliger now has three second-place finishes and a third in his four trips to South Buxton in the Mod-Lites.
Previous South Buxton winners Derek Wagner, of Medina, N.Y., and Paul Klager, of Beamsville, finished third and fourth while Jeff May, of Mount Hope, was fifth.
Sliger won the heat, with May second and Anderson third.
Only eight Mod-Lites made the trip to South Buxton after Friday’s first of a double-race weekend at Ohsweken Speedway was rained out.
“The rain scared away a lot of guys from up east,” said Klager, as several cars from the Canada East Region (Brockville, Cornwall, Mohawk N.Y. and Drummondville, Que.) were scheduled to make the trip to race both nights.
- The intermission was extended as track workers made repairs between turn one and two, which started ripping up early in the heat races. Work took place in that spot earlier in the week and will continue in earnest this week to prevent a repeat this coming Saturday.
Blenheim’s Luke Small won the heat and feature in the Bombers class, his first flags of the season.
- The five division points leaders, including Blenheim’s Jeff Schives in the Bombers, carried Canadian flags as they circled the track during the opening ceremonies on the Canada Day weekend.
- Brian Speelman’s 14th-place Modified feature finish was his first outside of the top-five, the last driver in the four major classes who finished in the top-five in all of his class’s features. His lead over Hoekstra was reduced to 11 points.
- It was appropriate that Jim Jones won the checkered flag in the Late Model heat, the first race since Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change came on board as the division sponsor. Jones is a mechanic at Lube Tech, on Richmond St. in Chatham.
- This Saturday will be the rescheduled Memorial Night, featuring the Gord DeWael Late Model, Brian Outhouse Modified, Cory Schives Mini-Mod and Len Bryden Sport Stocks.