Kyle Patrick lived up to his nickname as the Tilbury Tornado stormed his way to the lead and left the field in shambles over the final seven laps for an impressive homecoming win in the Southern Ontario Sprints on Saturday night.
It was Patrick’s second career win at South Buxton, the first since June 18, 2005.
Meanwhile, Rob Young of Kingsville finished second on the track but wound up with the victory in the Tirecraft Sport Stocks.
Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon took the checkered flag but for the second time this year, was disqualified in post-race tech inspection after a victory.
Leamington’s Joel Dick won his second straight and 10th feature of the season in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds.
Cottam’s Rob Quick won his second in a row and fourth of the year in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods.
Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis led all 20 laps to win his second Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Model feature.
Tate O’Leary, a 12-year-old from Port Lambton, won his second feature of the season in the Autotech Bombers.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne (Click on multimedia icon for James’ complete photo collection).
Patrick’s power move past leaders thrills hometown fans
The threat of severe weather was all around South Buxton Raceway earlier Saturday.
But no one saw a tornado coming - especially not Keith Dempster and Glenn Styres.
The Ohsweken Speedway teammates were locked in a great battle for the lead but suddenly found themselves getting swept up by the ‘Tilbury Tornado.’
Kyle Patrick lived up to his nickname by storming around the leaders through turns three and four on lap 17 and went on to pick up his second career Southern Ontario Sprints feature victory on his home track.
“It feels good, baby!” Patrick exclaimed after climbing out of his No. 33K machine.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been up here with the checkered flag in my hands for a feature … it feels really, really good to do it here,” said Patrick, whose only other SOS win at South Buxton came on June 18, 2005.
Patrick started in the sixth position and ran fifth for 10 laps before he found a groove on the high side to get past both Brantford’s Mitch Brown and Lefroy’s Warren Mahoney to move into third.
Meanwhile, Dempster and Styres battled door-to-door for the lead for several laps, allowing Patrick to close the gap to make it a three-car battle for the lead.
On lap 16, Patrick got a great run on the high side on the backstretch and carried his momentum into turn three and blew past both the second-place Styres and then the leader Dempster by the time they exited turn four.
The race’s only caution waved two laps later and after the restart, Patrick drove away from the pack and was still pulling away when the checkered flag waved seven laps later.
“We’ve been getting ready for this deal since last weekend,” said Patrick.
He said he and his father Bill had been talking all week about how he always runs well at South Buxton but not quite good enough to win.
“We’re good here, but we just run the bottom of the race track and that turns into a follow-the-leader-deal … you have to wait for luck.
“(But) a quick race like this on a tight track, you have to make your own luck.
“We knew if we were going to get this done, we’d have to do it on the high side,” Patrick said.
Dempster held on to finish second over Styres, who won the July 5 feature at South Buxton.
Brantford’s Mitch Brown, who entered the night with a three-point lead over Styres, finished fourth while Port Stanley’s Chris Durand rounded out the top five.
Patrick credited his crew for giving him a great race car and dedicated the win to a long-time race fan from Tilbury, Dave St. Louis, who died earlier this year. “I know he was watching down and probably had a hand moving us around out here,” Patrick said.
Patrick, the 2003 SOS rookie of the year, is only running a handful of races in the series this year. He finished fourth at Ohsweken and South Buxton on back-to-back nights July 4-5 in his only other SOS appearances this season.
He runs the weekly Corr-Pak series at Ohsweken, where he is fourth in points with three heat race wins and a ‘B’ main victory along with a pair of second-place ‘A’ main finishes.
“If we’re going to get a win this year, I couldn’t be happier that we’re doing it in front of this crowd at our home track,” Patrick said.
“We’ve got a lot of family and friends here … we’re probably gonna burn this place down tonight.”
Lewis motors his way to second Late Model feature win
Mike Lewis missed six weeks with motor issues.
He still doesn’t have his best motor in his ‘05′ machine, but you wouldn’t know it by his performance on Saturday night.
Lewis started in the second row but led the pack when they came around to complete the first lap, a lead he never lost for his second Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models feature win of the year.
“Ron Aarts and I worked a lot of nights getting this engine back together,” Lewis said.
“I still don’t have my big motor in the car, but this one’s working good tonight … so who knows,” he said.
Lewis’s only scare came on a lap 9 restart when Chatham’s Gregg Haskell and Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford tried to make it a three-wide battle for the leading coming out of turn two.
“Gregg got ahead of me, luckily the caution came right back out,” Lewis said.
But on the next restart, Lewis got the jump on Haskell, who continued to apply pressure over the remaining 11 laps but couldn’t catch the leader.
“I didn’t know where anybody else was,” Lewis said of the waning laps.
“Brother Dan put a good set up on the car, he told me to stay high, that it was going to be hard to pass on the bottom,” Lewis said.
It was Lewis’ fourth career and second feature win in 2014, as he was victorious on May 10.
Haskell held on for a second-place finish while Glassford and Chatham drivers Brad Authier and Erick Walker rounded out the top five.
Lewis and Haskell won the heats.
Young doesn’t like to win “that way, but I’ll take it!’
Rob Young appeared to be headed for his second Tirecraft Sport Stocks feature win of the season until a late caution gave Tyler Lozon one more chance.
Lozon took advantage on the restart and rode the bottom of the track through turns one and two to take the lead and go on to win his third feature of the season.
However, Young has a ‘2′ in his feature win column while Lozon is stuck at ‘1.’
For the second time this season, Lozon was disqualified in post-race tech inspection, surrendering his feature and heat checkered flags.
“I don’t like to win that way, I would have rather won it fair and square,” said Young.
“But if you don’t want to tear your motor down …” he said about Lozon’s post-race issues in tech lane.
“Anyway, I’d glad I won,” said Young, who also won a feature on June 7.
Lozon was also stripped of his May 31 feature win in tech lane, as Steve Shaw was the recipient of that free win.
Young dominated from the start of the caution-plagued race until losing the lead to Lozon after the lap 15 restart.
“I thought I had the bottom protected and if I could get off turn two on the backstretch, the Leitch motor would carry me the rest of the way, but he got me,” Young said.
The Checker Flag Hall of Fame inductee was still able to dedicate his win to his daughter Melody, who turned 17 on Sunday.
Lozon said in his post-race on track interview he was dedicating the race to his cousin J.D. Lozon, who was hurt in a car crash recently.
Points leader Eren Vanderiviere rebounded from an early lap penalty for contact with Lozon to finish second, with Wallaceburg’s Gary Vyse - back from over a month’s absence - Harrow’s Patrick Lajeunesse and Chatham’s Eric Vanderiviere rounding out the top five.
Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse was uninjured when a fire broke out in his engine compartment early in the feature.
“I was already undoing all of my straps before the car stopped,” he said. “I wasn’t sticking around!”
Tiffany Ellis, who finished second in her heat to Lozon, was elevated to her fourth checkered flag of the season.
Blenheim’s Brent Colby won the other heat.
Rob too Quick for Mini-Mods with a second straight Saturday sweep
Cottam’s Rob Quick has won a lot of features in a variety of ways, but he didn’t even have to cross the finish line to win Saturday.
The checkered flag was about to wave for Quick but the caution flag on lap 15 came out instead for an incident in turns three and four between Chatham’s John Pinsonneault and Blenheim’s Kyle Hope, running third and fourth.
The red flag followed, because the cars were locked together.
Track management called the race as the clock struck midnight.
The finish order went back to the last completed lap, as Pinsonneault was given his spot back while Hope was penalized to ninth place, the last car on the lead lap, for causing the caution.
“Maybe, but it was the longest race I’ve ever won,” Quick answered, when asked if it was his strangest win ever.
“Just when you think you’re getting the checkered, the caution comes out instead, and you have to do it all over again,” said Quick.
Quick passed Kingsville’s Larry Hart for the lead on lap three and they finished one-two when the race was halted.
Chatham’s Rick Balasin and Merlin’s Jody Mason finished behind Pinsonneault.
“It’s running good but we’re still having a few issues,” Quick said of his five-race winning streak.
“Hopefully my new motor comes in next (this) week,” he added.
Quick said his win is an anniversary present to his wife Jacqueline.
“Now we’ll have something to celebrate,” he said, with a smile, looking forward to Tuesday’s 19th anniversary.
Quick can also celebrate moving to the top of the division standings as he is unofficially 22 points ahead of Blenheim’s Trevor Jones, who finished 10th after a late crash where he rolled over on the track after colliding with Jason Turkington.
Hart, with his first checkered flag of the season, and Pinsonneault, with his division leading 16th, won the other heats.
Dick hits double figures in feature wins in wounded machine
Joel Dick said his car still isn’t right after it suffered serious damage in the July 19 feature race.
You wouldn’t know it by the results, as all the Leamington driver has done is win all five races over the last two week’s since the crash, including his second straight and 10th feature win of the season.
“Our car still hasn’t been the same since the wreck, we’re still trying to get the balance back in it,” said Dick after leading 22 of 25 laps in Saturday’s feature.
He lost the lead after a lap 11 restart to Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. but got it back three laps late after another restart.
“I screwed up and he capitalized on it,” Dick said about losing the lead momentarily to Dale Jr.
“I saw he went pretty high in there too, there was quite a bit of moisture in the centre, fortunately it worked out for us that time,” he said about regaining the lead.
As the laps wound down, Dale Jr. had his hands full in a four-car battle for second with Blenheim’s Andrew Reaume, Port Lambton’s Drew Smith and Belle River’s Mario Toniolo.
Dale Jr. and Reaume were involved in a turn four incident to set the stage for a green-white-checkered.
Smith took advantage and was running door-to-door with Dick on the backstretch on the final lap but another caution forced a second G-W-C.
“I seen him underneath me when we almost took the checkered,” Dick said of Smith.
“He’s pretty fast, a clean driver and he’s pretty good on a track like this.”
The second time, Dick got a better jump and held off the hard-charging Smith to win for the 10th time in 14 Modified features.
Smith finished a season-high second, followed by Toniolo, Clayton Smith of Taylor, Mich., and Chatham’s Louis Clements.
Chatham’s Brian Speelman and Dale Jr. won the other heats.
O’Leary’s second win as a pre-teen more impressive than his first
Tate O’Leary raised a lot of eyebrows when he won the June 21 Autotech Bombers feature in just his sixth night of racing - and a month after celebrating his 12th birthday.
If anyone thought his first win was a fluke, there was no doubt the Grade 7 Port Lambton Blessed Heart student is the real deal after Saturday’s second career win.
O’Leary had his hands full in the latter laps, holding off Blenheim’s Shawn Hope, a 19-year-old who had five straight wins - two features and three heats - heading into the race.
Hope nosed into the lead when the white flag came out but O’Leary held his ground on the bottom of the track on the final lap.
He also had help as points leader Jeff Schives, of Blenheim, pressured Hope on the homestretch, allowing O’Leary a clear path to take the checkered.
“No, everybody else has a lot more experience driving,” O’Leary answered, when asked in his post-race interview if in his wildest dreams, he thought he ever would win one, let alone two features as a 12-year-old.
“It feels pretty good … I just try to do my best,” he added.
“I just want to thank the track for letting me drive this year,” O’Leary said, as the track changed its 14-year-old restriction this year.
Schives inched past Hope at the line to steal second. Blenheim’s Austin Pickering and Windsor’s George Rock rounded out the top five.
Tate’s 13-year-old brother Caleb finished eighth.
Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck and Hope won the heats.
For the second time in three weeks, it rained throughout the Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex areas Saturday but the track only received a light 15-minute shower around 1 p.m. Track management is committed to do everything under its power to get in every race night.
- A total of 14 SOS race teams made the second trip to South Buxton, as the threat of rain kept other drivers at home. Chris Jones, of Carrying Place, was fifth in the standings but did not make the trip south after his car was damaged in a race at Brockville last week. Jones won last August’s race when the SOS returned to South Buxton after a three-year absence.
- The O’Leary brothers will be missing the next two weeks of racing as they have been selected to attend a Tim Hortons recreation camp in Kentucky.
- Andrew Reaume was in Darryl Hoekstra’s car this week and appeared to be headed for a top-three finish - and possibly challenge Dick for the win - until his late race troubles. Reaume finished third in Eugene Hoekstra’s car a week earlier.
- Jim Fletcher, the 1991 Street Stock champion and 2012 Modified winner in the Canadian Fall Shootout, returned in Steve Clements’ No. 3C Sport Stock. He started on the pole but suffered flat tire on the first lap of the feature, and finished eighth.
While Lozon lost all points and money with his DQ, his family didn’t go home empty handed as his father Scott won the St. Patrick’s Parish 50-50 draw worth $1,065. It was the third straight 50-50 draw won by a parent of a Sport Stocks driver as Shelley Moody won the July 19 draw and her husband Dave won on July 26 - their son Dillon is the rookie No. 23 in the Sport Stocks.
- This Saturday will be the second ‘Cheap Night,’ with half-price grandstand admission, free popcorn and $1 hot dogs - an appreciation to the fans from South Buxton management.
- Saturday will also be the second Autograph Night, postponed from this past Saturday because of the six divisions in action. Details for the Autograph Night format will be announced later this week.