Jeff Daniels picked up his first feature checkered flag since winning the 2009 Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified championship race on Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway.
The Merlin driver recovered from a spin while leading on lap five and restarting at the back of the field to pass his brother-in-law Brian Speelman of Chatham on lap 15 and led the final 10 circuits of the caution-plagued race.
Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano took the lead on lap five and ran away to win his third straight Tirecraft Mini-Mod feature.
Chatham’s Randy McKinlay and Blenheim’s Brett Hope ran second and third for the second week in a row.
DeSerrano, who was six-for-six in the first two weeks, saw his win streak end when he finished second to Cottam’s Rob Quick in the heat and crack-the-whip preliminary races.
Merlin’s Steve Shaw led all but two laps to win his second straight Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford smoked the field - literally - to win his first UMP Late Model feature of the season.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne Photo (click on photos for larger views).
Daniels never gave up hope he’d win another feature
Jeff Daniels admitted there have been some frustrating times over the last few years, but he never lost the belief that one day, he would be back in the Winner’s Circle at South Buxton Raceway.
That ‘one day’ came on Saturday night.
The Merlin driver overcame an early spin while battling for the lead to win the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified feature.
“Finally!” Daniels hollered as he exited his 20D car to wave the feature checkered flag for the first time since his 2009 season championship race win in his rookie season.
“We were getting quite frustrated, but we knew it was just a matter of time,” said Daniels, who has led several features over the last three seasons but couldn’t pull off a victory.
“Our team works pretty hard, we were bound and determined we were going to get back here (the Winner’s Circle) sooner or later,” Daniels said.
He was locked in an early battle with Chatham drivers Louis Clements and Eugene Hoekstra for the lead when he spun in turn three, bringing out a caution on lap five.
“I really don’t know what happened, I think I came up a little bit on (Eugene) Hoekstra and we touched a little and around she went,” Daniels described the incident.
“I was hard on myself, but I was determined to get back up front somehow.”
It only took one lap for Daniels to get back into the top five, aided by the attrition of a half-dozen cars from a rash of early cautions.
“We took the green and I just put it on the bottom and passed about three or four cars on that first lap,” said Daniels.
He moved into second on lap 11 behind his brother-in-law Brian Speelman, of Chatham.
“That was a lot of fun,” Daniels said about racing his sister Tricia’s husband.
“He wore me out … he wasn’t giving up, I wasn’t giving up … it think it was the pride of the family,” Daniels laughed.
Daniels ran the bottom as they battled door-to-door for five laps before taking the lead for good on lap 15.
“We didn’t want to touch each other or Mom might have gotten mad,” Daniels said of his mother Donna.
“We just ran our lines. The bottom line had a lot more tack so I was able to take off,” said Daniels, who pulled away in the waning laps to earn the win.
“It’s great, I’m still on cloud nine,” Daniels said of his win.
“But it’s more for the team … my team works so hard and it’s really good to get the motivation back.”
Daniels credited Justin Coulter, the Leamington Late Model driver, for setting up his car.
“The car handled perfect, it would go where ever I wanted,” Daniels said. “It was a lot of fun starting at the back and coming up through the field.”
He also thanked family - wife Sarah, sons Brayden and Reid and his parents Donna and Wayne - for their support.
Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra passed Speelman for second with five to go, while Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. - driving Shawn Jones’ No. 27 car after his own 00 broke down in the heat - was fourth and rookie James Beaulieu of Tilbury was fifth.
Rookie Justin Mills of Merlin was sixth, the last car on the lead lap.
Clements, who won the heat and dash earlier in the night, started in row four but stormed into the lead before the first lap was completed. However, he was penalized two spots on the first caution for jumping the original green.
Things got worse for Clements as he had to pit for a flat tire and went down a lap. He finished seventh.
Darryl Hoekstra won the other heat.
DeSerrano credits ‘luck’ for his three-for-three feature run
Ask Denis DeSerrano to explain the reason for his torrid start to the 2013 season at South Buxton Raceway, you’ll get a simple answer.
“Just luck,” he said, after winning his third straight feature race in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods on Saturday night.
DeSerrano took the lead from fellow Cottam driver Rob Quick on lap five and led the final 15 circuits for his third feature wins in as many weeks.
“I didn’t think I had a chance at him at first, he was definitely faster than I was,” DeSerrano said about chasing Quick in the early laps.
“I start catching him in (turn) three … then something broke and I got by him.”
Once in front, DeSerrano easily worked his way through the lapped traffic and was unchallenged over the waning laps.
Chatham’s Randy McKinlay and Blenheim’s Brett Hope finished second and third, respectively, for the second week in a row.
Merlin drivers Steve Shaw Jr. and Jody Mason rounded out the top five.
Quick’s troubles continued as he fell back through the field and eventually pitted on lap 12. He was credited with a 16th-place finish and a second straight DNF.
DeSerrano was a perfect six-for-six in the first two weeks but saw his win streak end with second-place finishes to Quick in both the heat and crack-the-whip preliminary races. The flags were the first of the season for Quick, the 2012 championship race winner.
DeSerrano, a two-time series points champion and three-time championship race winner, knows his hot streak is not going to last forever.
“We try the best we can every week,” he said.
“Right now, everything is working well … nothing’s breaking.
“But we’re bound to have some bad luck sooner or later,” DeSerrano said.
He said it’s a matter of time before McKinlay and Quick win features.
McKinlay won the second heat but missed the crack-the-whip, which put him at the back of the field for the start of the 21-car feature.
But the veteran driver tore through the field, passing 11 cars to move into 10th on the first lap, moved up to third on lap six and into second a lap later. His progress, however, was slowed by lapped traffic as he couldn’t reel in DeSerrano.
Shaw conquers the track for second Sport Stocks feature win
Merlin’s Steve Shaw has been racing long enough to know that sometimes his toughest opponent is the track itself.
Such was the case on Saturday, when he led all but two laps to win his second straight Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature.
“It was nothing like opening night when we were hooked up … I just couldn’t get the power to the track tonight,” Shaw said of the conditions.
“It dried up pretty good, I’d get in the corner and the car would start sliding up and the back end wanted to come around.”
He led from the drop of the green until Merlin’s Erin Vanderiviere got by on lap 12 when Shaw slid up the track in turn three.
But two laps later, Vanderiviere returned the favour when he spun in turn four to bring out a caution, giving the lead back to Shaw.
“I could stay with him, but I didn’t know if I could back around him,” said Shaw, as he thought his chance to win was over once Vanderiviere took the lead.
“I had to back up from him a bit because I didn’t to go in too hard and slide up into him. I just lifted and tried to get back on the throttle before he did and try to drag race him off the corner.”
Once he regained the lead, Shaw didn’t look back.
Patrick Lajeunesse, of Harrow, finished second while Vanderiviere recovered for a third-place finish. Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse and Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse rounded out the top five.
“So far so good,” Shaw said about winning the class’s first two features of the season (the Sport Stocks feature was cancelled by rain last Saturday).
“But something in the car’s not quite right, so we’ll put it on the scales to see what’s out of whack and see if we can get it hooked back up.”
Shaw finished fifth in the crack-the-whip but the invert of six put him on the outside pole for the feature, beside Wheatley’s Steve Clements.
Kingsville’s Rob Young won the first heat, his third checkered flag after collecting four in all of 2012. Vyse won the second heat and Vanderiviere the crack-the-whip.
Glassford ’smoking hot’ in his Late Model victory
It almost looked like a scene out of the old Whacky Racers cartoon, with Dastardly and his dog Muttley using a smoke machine so the Slag Brothers, the Gruesome Twosome and Penelope Pitstop couldn’t see where they were going.
Smoke began pouring out of the back end of Dale Glassford’s No. 60 machine midway through Saturday’s UMP Late Model feature.
Fortunately for Glassford, the race was reduced from 20 to 15 laps because of the small car count.
But unfortunately for the chasers Jim Jones and Don Gordon, they could sense that Glassford wasn’t slowing down - even though they likely never saw the back end of the 60 machine through the smoke.
“We broke a fitting on an oil line and it was spraying oil right on top of the mufflers,” Glassford said. “It probably looked worse than what it was.
“It wasn’t a particular good thing to have happen but it wasn’t anything terminal or the whole engine was falling apart.
“It didn’t affect the car but it made a mess for the crowd and everybody out there (on the track) with all the smoke.”
Glassford said he pretty well knew what the problem was as soon as he could smell the burning oil.
“This was our back up motor and we knew it had some issues, so I knew it wasn’t too, too bad.”
Only seven Late Models were on hand Saturday, three more than last week when rain cancelled what would have been a four-car feature.
When the smoke cleared this Saturday, only three of the five starters were still on the track, as Jones finished second and Gordon third.
Leamington’s Justin Coulter, the feature winner two weeks ago on opening night, led the first four laps and chased Glassford for the next three before he brought out the only caution with mechanical issues.
Defending points champion Gregg Haskell, whose car broke down in the heat, borrowed Clinton Emery’s car to collect fifth-place points.
Brad Authier’s car broke down after finishing second to Coulter in the heat and didn’t return.
Glassford knows all too well about breaking, after a $20 fitting on the rear end broke and caused massive damage to his car on the first lap of the opening night heat race.
“The worst night of my career, we didn’t even make a half a lap and wrecked everything,” Glassford looked back.
He missed last week’s racing because of farming and the amount of repairs he had to make to the race car.
“This is the worst time of the year for farmers (who race), and the farm has to come first,” said Glassford.
“The weather was good and I didn’t have time to even look at the car.
“I knew the car count was down, and I want to help support things as best I can so we scrambled to get the car ready for tonight.”
Glassford said his crew made a couple of adjustments that led to his dash win and made more changes for the feature.
“And it worked pretty well, I was pretty satisfied with the way the night went.
“But I would have been more satisfied if we had more cars,” Glassford declared.
- If Jim Dale Jr. and Gregg Haskell are successful in defending their points championships, they will have Shawn Jones and Clinton Emery, respectively, to thank. Jones and Emery gave up their cars to allow the reigning Modified and Late Model champions to collect points after their cars broke in the heat races. And for the rookie Jones, it gave his race team the opportunity to have a veteran like Dale Jr. get behind the wheel and offer his suggestions on how to get the car to run better.
- Tilbury rookie James Beaulieu is also getting a quick education on the ‘power surge’ in moving up from the Mini-Mods to Modifieds. He finished fifth in Saturday’s feature after a 10th-place finish on opening night. He went into Saturday sixth in points and will likely move up to fifth when the standings are updated later this week.
- The awards for the Best Appearing Cars were presented before the races. Jim Jones and Don Douglas tied for the Late Model Award, Justin Mills won in the Modifieds, Jason Fox in the Sport Stocks, Joel Desjardins in the Mini-Mods and Jeff Schives in the Bombers. Fan voting was conducted at the track and at the Tirecraft dealership in Chatham during the afternoon - which is significant because Douglas’ car was on display at Tirecraft but has not been at the track.
- Schives was the only Bomber on hand Saturday, so the class did not run.
- Jim Dale Sr. won the 50-50 draw, worth $652.50 from the Archers Against Cancer, a group of archers who will host a tournament in Dresden June 8-9 with proceeds going to the fight against cancer.
- South Buxton will host four Memorial Races on June 1 - Brian Outhouse Modifieds, Gord DeWael Late Models, Len Bryden Sport Stocks and Cory Schives Mini-Mods. The Schives family will once again donate a bike for a lucky member of the Junior Fan Club to win.