Brad Authier led all 20 laps to win his second Rick Haskell memorial race for the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models on Saturday night.
It was Authier’s first feature win of the season.
Gregg Haskell, whose father Rick is the memorial race’s namesake, finished second while brother Jason Haskell was seventh.
Chatham’s Eren Vanderiviere clinched his third straight Windride Transportation Sport Stocks season points championship by winning his ninth feature of the season.
Merlin’s Joey Brosseau swept his three races in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds as a substitute driver for Wheatley’s Justin Mills.
Brosseau took the lead from Merlin’s Brad McLeod after a lap-10 restart and led the final 15 laps for his third feature win the season.
Cottam’s Rob Quick won his second straight and fifth Tirecraft Mini-Mod feature of the year.
Chatham’s Ryan O’Hearn won the Bomber feature in his season debut.
Photos by James MacDonald, ApexOne Photo (click on photo for larger views)
Authier salutes Haskells, his own team after ending his feature drought
Brad Authier appropriately struck a King Kong pose as he climbed atop his car in the Winner’s Circle on Saturday night.
“We just got a huge monkey off our backs!” Authier yelled, as he got back on the ground.
The veteran Chatham driver put a year’s worth of frustration out of mind by winning the Rick Haskell memorial race for the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models.
“It was good for the crew, we needed it for their morale,” Authier said of his first feature win of the season.
“And to win it for Rick, that makes it even more special,” he added.
“We really wanted to win the Gordie, but we didn’t,” he said of his third-place finish in the first Gord DeWael memorial race on Aug. 10.
“We set our sights on winning this one (Haskell), we worked hard all week on the car and it paid off.”
The eight-time champion was quick to thank the Haskell family for their efforts in putting on the race and securing extra lap money for the competitors.
“It means a lot to win this again, Rick was a great guy and we miss him,” he said of Haskell, who died at the age of 51 in 2007.
“And these guys here are the future of this class,” he pointed to Rick’s sons Gregg and Jason, who finished second and seventh respectively in the memorial race, and a third son Patrick who hasn’t raced in two years.
“Gregg and I help each other out, so it was good to see him run good tonight too,” Authier said.
“You can see these guys getting better and better every year … we need them to step up for when us old guys are gone.”
Gregg hopes next year, he’ll get the monkey off his back in his father’s memorial race.
“That’s twice we’ve finished second … and to Brad both times,” said Haskell, as Authier won the 2010 memorial.
“We ran good, be we had nothing for him, he was too strong tonight,” Haskell said of Authier.
Haskell, who started seventh, moved to the top three on lap seven and inherited second-place when Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis spun while under caution on lap 12.
Lewis recovered to finish third, followed by Chatham drivers Jim Jones and Erick Walker.
But there was a silver lining to Haskell’s second-place finish as he extended his lead to 60 points over Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford with two race nights remaining.
Glassford, who won two straight and seven of the last eight features going into the night, finished ninth as he left the race on lap eight and didn’t return.
Authier, meanwhile, took the lead on the first lap and led all 20 circuits.
“The car was fabulous, Charlie (Field) did some fine tweaking and Dave (McCorkle) did the motor,” said Authier, who is using Eric Vanderiviere’s modified motor in his late model car.
“This is a new car, but we’ve broke motors four times this year,” Authier said.
“And it’s nothing to do with the engine builder, it’s just little things that keep happening you have no control over.
“I’ve never had a year like this.”
Authier posted a second and two-third place finishes in the last three weeks since losing a motor on Aug. 3 in a heat race.
“This is first stretch like this all year where we could finally dial the car in, because every time we broke a motor, it was in a heat race, and you can’t figure out what adjustments to make on the car if you can’t by the heat race,” he said.
“It seems like all year, we run a week and then break a motor.
“Well, I hope that black cloud is gone now,” he declared.
Authier hopes to have his good motor back in the car this Saturday and will be a contender for the championship race on Sept. 21.
“That would be great for the guys,” he said about winning a fourth career championship race.
“We’ve worked so hard all season just to keep coming back, these guys deserve it (a championship).”
Three-time champ Vanderiviere hopes to rewrite history
Eren Vanderiviere hopes to make history by avoiding history this Saturday night.
Vanderiviere, who recently moved from Merlin to Chatham, wrapped up his third consecutive Windride Transportation Sport Stocks points championship on Saturday - the second year in a row he’s wrapped up the title a week before the class’s championship night.
He wrapped up the 2013 points crown with his ninth feature win of the season, one more than last year’s career high.
“This was the big goal coming into the year, to win three in a row,” said Vanderiviere, who takes a 120-point over Merlin’s Steve Shaw into Saturday’s final points night.
“I have to thank my crew and all the guys who help out at the shop because I wouldn’t have another championship if it wasn’t for them and my sponsors.”
The win also upped his checkered flag collection total to 21 for the season, five more than last year.
The one milestone that has eluded Vanderiviere, however, is a season championship race victory.
He finished second to Merlin’s Steve Shaw in 2011 and was fifth last year in a race won by Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon, two championship races which Vanderiviere was leading until late crashes foiled both bids.
“Winning a championship race is a big thing on my check list,” Vanderiviere said, “but if me and Shaw battle like we did two weeks ago, I can’t see a pretty ending.”
The two drivers wound up on the infield less than 100 feet from the finish line in the Aug. 24 feature, allowing Lozon to go from third place to the Winner’s Circle.
Vanderiviere blames contact with Shaw for costing his chances of winning the last two championship races.
The two rivals will start on the front row, as Shaw holds a 35-point lead over Lozon heading into the Saturday.
Lozon can still overtake Shaw for second in the points standings, but cannot accumulate enough points in the heat race to earn a front-row starting spot.
Lozon appeared to be headed for a second straight feature win as led the first 12 laps before getting caught behind the lapped car of Blenheim’s Ryan Bonner.
“I thought the 5 (Bonner) was going to push up and we’d go by him on the bottom, but he didn’t, he stayed low and Tyler had no where to go,” said Vanderiviere, who was second at the time of the incident.
“That was a shame for Tyler because it looked like his race.”
Shaw took advantage of the incident to pass both drivers for the lead before the caution waved.
On ensuing restart, Vanderiviere took the high line to get around Shaw and led the final eight laps to take the checkered.
Lozon held on to third, followed by Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse and Essex’s Gerald Martin.
Martin, driving his stepson Doris Lajeunesse’s No. 38, won the heat and crack-the-whip earlier in the night in his first appearance in the Sport Stocks since the 2011 championship race.
Shaw won his heat, his 18th checkered of the season.
Brosseau enjoys a perfect joy ride in borrowed car
Joey Brosseau is certainly no stranger to the Winner’s Circle.
But it was foreign territory for the No. 6M car.
With his own car still in the shop, Brosseau drove for rookie driver Justin Mills of Wheatley and put together a three-for-three sweep in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds.
“No, I didn’t think it was going to that way at all,” Brosseau said after a perfect night in a borrowed car.
“I was nervous, I didn’t want to wreck it on him,” he laughed, “that would be the worse thing that could have happened tonight.
“I just wanted to keep him up in the points,” said Brosseau, as Mills entered the night 11th in the standings, with the rookie still looking for his first career checkered flag.
Brosseau said he texted Mills, who was away camping, but didn’t get a reply.
“He’s somewhere on a lake about seven hours from here and doesn’t have any reception.
“I think he’ll be happy with what we did!” Brosseau smiled.
The Merlin driver, who has two feature wins and seven checkered flags in a season cut short by mechanical and motor issues, has missed the last two weeks with transmission trouble.
He had been helping Mills with his car recently and made a deal to get behind the wheel Saturday.
“I went through the car and found some loose stuff and I went up to my air pressure and set up,” he said of changes he made.
“It has a little different feel, a different seat, the throttle pedal is a little higher than mine … my foot slipped off once,” he said.
“The big difference, it’s way under horsepower compared to my car,” Brosseau said.
“It wasn’t a matter of playing the egg-shell game on the throttle, it was just hammer down.”
Brosseau set the tone by starting in the second row of his heat race and led all eight laps for his first checkered of the night. He won the dash, leading all six laps from his outside front row starting spot.
He started second row outside in the 19-car feature field, moved into third on lap five and into second a lap later.
Merlin’s Brad McLeod, who led from the drop of the green, surrendered the lead to Brosseau after a restart on lap 10.
Two late cautions forced single-file restarts but Brosseau was able to hold off McLeod to complete his sweep.
Leamington’s Joel Dick and Chatham’s Louis Clements both got by Brad Simpson on the final lap, spoiling the Rodney driver’s bid for a season-best top-three finish.
Points leader Darryl Hoekstra, who won the first heat, suffered a flat tire while running in the top-five midway through the feature. He finished 16th.
Hoekstra, however, still holds a comfortable 94-point lead over Dick with two points nights remaining, including the championship night on Sept. 21.
Brosseau, meanwhile, expects to be back in his own car for the final two weeks.
Quick rides hot streak into his championship race defence
Rob Quick sent a message to the Tirecraft Mini-Mod class that he’ll be the driver to beat in this Saturday’s season championship race.
But, just don’t expect Quick to deliver the message himself.
“It would be nice to do it, but I’m not going to say anything about the championship because I don’t want to jinx myself,” the Cottam driver said in his Winner’s Circle interview on Saturday.
Quick, who won the 2012 championship race, picked up his second straight and fifth feature checkered flag.
He started in the fifth row of the 20-car feature field and needed less than two laps to pull into third.
He passed points leader Denis DeSerrano, also from Cottam, for second after a restart on lap five and took the lead from Dresden’s Matt Sorrell two laps later and pulled out to a good-sized lead.
After a caution on lap 14, Quick restarted on the inside and quickly pulled away, leaving Sorrell more concerned with holding off DeSerrano than mounting a challenge for the lead.
Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. and Blenheim’s Elliot Wilton rounded out the top five.
“The car’s working good, it’s handled really, really well the last couple of weeks,” said Quick, who has won five of the six races over the last two weekends.
“We’ve gotten all the bugs out of it from when it was breaking earlier, and now we’re winning.”
Quick, who also won the crack-the-whip, has 22 checkered flags on the season.
He finished second in his heat to DeSerrano, who has 23 checkereds.
Quick, who was 11th in the standings going into the July 13 mid-season championships, passed Chatham’s Rick Balasin for third after Saturday’s action.
He can climb no further, as he is 112 points behind second-place Shaw Jr. going into the championship night, where 97 points is the most a driver can accumulate in a single race night.
DeSerrano is 63 points ahead of Shaw Jr. in his quest for a third career points crown.
Quick’s second-half surge ensures him of no worse than starting fifth for Saturday’s season championship race. He is 14 points ahead of fourth-place Sorrell and 23 up on Balasin, who slipped back to fifth.
But Quick knows it doesn’t matter where you start in this class.
“There’s a lot of good competition out there, about five or six fast guys who can run,” he said.
Blenheim’s Shawn Jones won the first heat while Chatham’s John Pinsonneault Jr., driving for Darryl Lucio, won the third heat. It was Jones’ second checkered flag of the season and the first for the Lucio-Pinsonneault team.
- Saturday was a big night for four substitute drivers who collected checkered flags. Joey Brosseau swept all three races in the 6M Modified for Justin Mills; Gerald Martin won the heat and crack-the-whip in Doris Lajeunesse’s No. 38 Sport Stock; Mark Glassford won a heat race in the 19D Late Model for Don Douglas; and John Pinsonneault Jr. won a heat race in Darryl Lucio’s No. 23X Mini-Mod.
- The track’s emergency crew had a busy night, treating a wrist injury incurred by Joel Desjardins early in the Mini-Mod feature and a shoulder injury suffered by Tiffany Ellis on the last lap of the Sport Stocks feature. They also tended to Dylan Bonner, who flipped his Bomber car in the feature but walked away unhurt.
Chatham’s Ryan O’Hearn made his season debut a success by winning the Bomber feature. O’Hearn raced last season when the Bombers were an unofficial class. Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck was second, followed by Shrewsbury’s Bobby Leveille, Blenheim’s Shawn Hope and Chatham’s Brandon Ardis.
- Blenheim’s Brett Hope returned to race on Saturday night from Buffalo State University, where classes started last week. Hope, a sophomore with the Bengals’ hockey team, will also be back for this Saturday’s Mini-Mod championship. His younger brother Kyle Hope, however, won’t be back at South Buxton as he’ll be at the Vancouver Canucks’ prospect camp on the weekend.
- Darryl Hoekstra and Brosseau became the first Modified drivers to reach double figures in checkered flags, each with 10 after Saturday’s action.
- Authier’s feature win was his second checkered flag of the season. He won the dash on Aug. 17. Last year, he won seven features and had 19 checkereds.
- Authier joins Glassford as two-time winners of the Haskell memorial. Joe Field won the first Haskell memorial in 2007, followed by Andrew Reaume, Glassford, Authier, Kirk Hooker and Glassford.
- Lozon actually started ninth in the Sport Stocks feature but moved up to the front row when the entire inside row ahead of him was involved in a turn-one spin, bringing out the caution. This allowed Lozon to go from the fifth row to the front for the complete restart.
- Drivers will line-up for their season championship races according to points at the end of the heat races in each class. The Sport Stocks and Mini-Mods won’t run crack-the-whips this week, while the Late Models and Modifieds won’t run dashes on their championship night Sept. 21.
- The Junior Fan Club will hold its second Box Car races during intermission this Saturday.