Updated Modified information
Two race teams ran with heavy hearts on Saturday night.
And both teams were able to pay tribute to a departed friend the best way they could - with feature wins at South Buxton Raceway.
Chatham’s Jeff Daniels captured the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified mid-season championship and Blenheim’s Shawn Hope won the Autotech Bombers feature.
Kyle Hope also won a checkered flag, taking the first heat race in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods.
The three Hope brothers - Brett, Kyle and Shawn - along with Daniels, displayed ‘Teddy’ decals on their cars in memory of Devin Tedford, a 21-year-old Blenheim native who died last Monday.
Click on Photos for larger view. Go to Multimedia icon and click on ‘Photos’ for the complete James MacDonald/Apex One collection from Saturday night and the past eight years.
Tedford was a lifelong friend of the Hopes, playing minor hockey with Kyle and Shawn, as well as helping out on the race team. Tedford was at the race track last Saturday night, just two days before his death.
Daniels got to know Tedford by helping the Hopes over the past off-season.
“It’s quite a sad deal, he was a good guy … just 21, it’s hard to lose someone that young,” Daniels said.
His voice cracked during his post-race track interview, telling the audience he was “dedicating his win to Teddy.”
“It was great that Jeff had the decal and then he went out and won,” Shawn Hope said.
“We were just hoping one of us could follow up and win one too.”
It didn’t take long, as Shawn won the first Bombers heat immediately after Daniels’ win.
Kyle’s heat victory came two races later.
Shawn proceeded to lead all 10 laps to win his first Bombers’ feature, giving the race teams four wins in less than an hour.
Later in the night, Brett finished fourth and Kyle fifth in the Mini-Mod feature.
Daniels mid-season champ; Dale Jr. dodges demolition derby
Jeff Daniels didn’t think he had a winning car - until the green flag flew in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified mid-season championship.
“Our scales starting messing up, we were trying to get the percentages we wanted but it wasn’t working out, so we just went with our gut feeling and the car came around really quick,” Daniels said.
He started seventh, moved to third on lap five and passed Jim Dale Jr. for second on a restart a lap later to begin the chase of the leader Joel Dick.
And it was déjà vu for both drivers.
On June 6, Dick was leading at the halfway mark in search of his sixth straight feature win when an electrical problem shut down his car coming around the ‘D’, allowing Daniels to take the lead and he went on to victory.
On Saturday, Dick was coming around the ‘D’ on lap seven when his car slowed and came to a stop between turns one and two, as a broken ball joint ended his night and put Daniels in the lead.
Daniels had his hands full holding off his brother-in-law Brian Speelman and Dale Jr. over the final 15 laps for his first career mid-season championship.
“I don’t like winning like that, but I’ll take it,” Daniels said of his fifth career win in the Modifieds.
“I would have liked to give him a run, just to see how good of a car we had,” he added.
Because of the rash of cautions, Daniels knew who was chomping at his heels, but he wasn’t worried as long as he held his line.
“The cautions were getting to be a pain, but once I got in the lead, I protected the bottom. If anyone wanted to pass me, they’d have to go through all the ruts,” Daniels said, as the misty weather conditions earlier in the day led to a rough track.
Dale Jr. finished second with Speelman third. Clayton Smith, of Taylor, Mich., started at the back but worked his way up to a fourth-place finish, followed by Rodney’s Brad Simpson.
The night’s main feature was marred by a wreck that collected the virtually the entire 19-car field.
Chatham’s Eugene Hoekstra made contact with Dick just as the field took the green for a lap-six restart.
Dick slammed into the wall while Hoekstra was hit several times and wound up on the infield.
“It was like a Talladega crash,” said Daniels, who was running mid-pack when the incident happened.
“I saw cars going everywhere, it all just clogged up, then as fast as it clogged up, a hole opened and I just went through it,” said Daniels, who escaped with minor front-end damage.
Dale Jr. also got bounced around and was actually surprised when he went to the pits.
“Just a left flat tire,” he said of the damage to the ‘00.’
“I thought it would be a lot worse. I got hit about eight times, but driving through the pits, the steering wheel was still straight, so I thought I’d go to the back and give her a try.”
Restarting at the back, Dale Jr. gained about four positions on lap seven to move up to third place and two laps later was in the lead.
“I went to the high line, I went over the cushion at the top and hung on, it was like I gained 20 miles an hour,” he said.
Daniels can attest.
“I couldn’t believe how fast he went around, all I saw was a yellow banana going round me and Clayton,” Daniels said.
Dale Jr. won a green-white-checkered finish, which was called after the fifth caution flag on lap 13 invoked the time limit.
Smith finished second and Daniels third, while Chatham’s Louis Clements and Darryl Hoekstra rounded out the top five, both in beaten up cars from the lap six pileup.
With his first and second-place feature finishes along with a second in his heat, Dale Jr. made a huge jump in the standings in search of a ninth points championship.
Dale Jr. moved into second place, 93 points behind Dick and three ahead of Belle River’s Marion Toniolo.
Dick went into the night with a 114-point lead over Toniolo and 170 over Dale Jr.
Dick was last on the charts in both races, credited with 19th place finish in the regular feature after a 17th in the mid-season championship.
Toniolo finished eighth in the regular feature and ninth in the mid-season race as late spins in both cost him top-five finishes.
Port Lambton’s Drew Smith had a consistent night, finishing sixth in both features.
Joe Brosseau, whose night ended in the big wreck, and Speelman, whose machine was heavily damaged, won the heats when their cars were still in one piece.
Mid-Season champ Authier feels robbed of feature sweep
Brad Authier won with a bad race car.
He finished second in a better one.
The veteran Chatham driver added another trophy to his vast collection from his illustrious career, winning the Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models mid-season championship.
Authier took the lead from Chatham’s Jim Jones on lap three and led the final 17 circuits for his second mid-season win in three years.
Once in front, he built a good-size lead, which was eliminated by a caution on lap eight.
Authier’s car didn’t seem to respond when the green flew, as he had his hands full trying to hold off Ridgetown’s Justin Haskell and Jones.
While the challengers traded positions for the next three laps, Authier’s car came to life as he began to pull away again.
A late caution with three laps to go set up a single file-restart but Authier had no problems holding on for the win.
Haskell and Jones collected the runner-up trophies while Chatham’s Erick Walker and Blenheim’s Brent Colby rounded out the top five.
“There was something was wrong in the left front of the car, I could feel it in the steering,” Authier said of his mid-race woes.
“I knew if I could keep the car down to the bottom, keep the left front off the ground, I’d have a fighting chance.”
“We’ve got a good car, hopefully we didn’t damage stuff too far … I guess I can always finish the night the way it is,” he said, wrapping up his post-race interview.
His car seemed even faster in the night’s regular feature, as he took the lead from Colby on lap three but this time he wasn’t able to pull away as Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford shadowed Authier for eight of the next 10 laps.
Glassford took the lead on lap 14 just before the caution came out.
Authier was hoping the caution was to give him his spot back for the aggressive move by Glassford in turn four that punted him out of the lead.
Fortunately for Glassford - and unfortunately for Authier - the caution was for another car that had spun.
Glassford pulled away on the restart for his fourth feature win of the season while as happy as he was earlier in the night, Authier was just as mad about his second-place finish.
“I was robbed,” Authier said, feeling Glassford should have been penalized for the contact.
“And the caution came out right away, I should have gotten my spot back,” Authier said.
Glassford called the incident “a racing thing.
“I tried to get a run on the inside, we made contact and he slid up a little bit,” Glassford said.
“It’s too bad the cars did get together, it’s not like we were trying to take each other out.”
Glassford said the wet, tacky track led to faster racing but induced more contact.
“We haven’t had a track like this in a long time, it was a little bit rough but these cars were fast and they’re fun to drive when the track’s like this,” Glassford said.
“But when the track’s fast, cars make contact.”
Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis, Walker and Chatham’s Patrick Haskell rounded out the top five.
Glassford did not compete in the mid-season championship because he was not in the original starting field in last week’s postponement.
Glassford set the stage for the feature with his win in the heat race, getting undderneath Authier in turn three and drove door-to-door all the way around the ‘D’ before taking the lead coming out of turn two.
Lewis won the other heat.
Two-time reigning points champion Gregg Haskell will take a big hit in the standings as he had to scratch from the regular feature after his car broke down in the mid-season race. He entered the night 39 points behind the leader Jones.
Eric ‘V’ marks return to Sport Stocks with return to ‘V’ lane
A Vanderiviere winning a Tirecraft Sport Stocks feature is hardly considered breaking news.
But it was on Saturday night, when the winning Vanderiviere spelled his first name E-R-I-C.
The elder Vanderiviere brother won his first feature since returning to the Sport Stocks in Late May after spending the last three years in the Modifieds.
And to make it even sweeter, it was a one-two Vanderiviere feature as younger brother Eren finished second.
“I didn’t know he was second until he bumped me on the backstretch,” Eric said.
“Me and Eren finishing one-two, that’s sweet.”
Eric said he had a good feeling before heading out to the track it was going to be his night.
“I told my daughters before I left, ‘Daddy’s going to win tonight.’
“Eren told me I was going to win the feature this week.
“I just had that feeling,” Eric said.
He started in the second row, moved to second behind Windsor’s West Bertozzi on lap two and used a strong inside run through the ‘D’ to take the lead on lap 5.
His work partner at Midas Auto Service Experts Steve Shaw pulled into second on lap 14, setting up an interesting scenario. But the clutch on Shaw’s car went out and he slipped back to sixth, where he nursed the car home.
“Doug (Tope) gave Steve a new Midas sticker today and told me not to rub it off,” Eric said of the franchise owner.
“I told them both, I was going to be starting near the front, and if he starts going by me, there wasn’t going to be any Midas sticker left!” he said laughing.
Bertozzi was poised for a career-best second-place finish until his car died in turn four on the final lap, allowing Eren Vanderiviere, Kingsville’s Rob Young and Wheatley’s Steve Clements to all move up a spot in the final finishing order. Bertozzi finished fifth.
Eric moved up to the Modified class following his 2010 championship season in the Sport Stocks, where his last feature win was the 2010 championship race.
He finished fifth in his rookie season in the Modifieds and seventh in 2012, when he won his only feature.
“Brad (Authier) helped me out big time, but we just couldn’t afford to run up there,” Eric said about the decision to return to the Sport Stocks.
Instead, he bought his old car back - the same one he drove to the 2010 championship - and made his debut on May 31.
He credited Mike Legue for his help installing new cylinder heads last week.
“I needed more power, and it was just what I needed, another 30 horse,” Eric said.
“I told Eren, now we’re on the same playing field, I’ve got some motor now!” he said, laughing.
Clements, with his first checkered of the season, and Young won the heats.
Pinsonneault improves on last week’s win with … another win!
John Pinsonneault said he had a terrible car and he did a terrible job of driving in last week’s Tirecraft Mini-Mod mid-season championship.
All he did was win the race.
And all this week, his race team had one goal in mind - to improve from last week’s winning performance.
Pinsonneault started seventh, took the lead on lap five and led the final 15 circuits for his fourth feature win of the season.
It was actually the fifth for the ‘0′ car as Tim Mackenzie was the first to drive it to Victory Lane on May 24.
“Last week the car was terrible, I was terrible. This week we made sure we had the car ready and I had my brain in the right spot,” Pinsonneault said.
“Tim did a good job setting it up this week, and once I got the lead, I was hitting my marks,” Pinsonneault said of the differences in a week.
And what Pinsonneault enjoyed even more than his improvement was the lack of controversy in this week’s win.
Last Saturday, he was involved in two incidents that saw top runners Rob Quick and Brett Hope go to the back while he kept his position and went on to victory - adding more fuel to the growing rivalry with the Hope brothers.
“I had Brett right behind me (tonight) and I had Kyle ahead of me, and they showed me respect … and I appreciate that,” Pinsonneault said.
“I’m going to give the same to them,” he added, hoping to defuse the tension between the teams.
Pinsonneault said his biggest battle on Saturday wasn’t with any drivers, but the track.
“The track was fast, but it was a small racing surface … maybe a lane and a half,” he said.
“I was throwing it right to the bottom, everything from the middle-up was a ploughed field.”
Trevor Jones finished second while Quick and the Hope boys - Kyle and Brett - rounded out the top five.
Dresden’s Marshall Hereygers, filling in for Matt Sorrell, ran in the top three all night and led one early lap.
However on the final lap, he got into Quick in turns three and four and was penalized. Hereygers was scored in 10th place, the last car on the lead lap while Quick was put back in third.
Hereygers won the second heat race, in his first time in the car. Kyle Hope won the first heat.
Feature win makes amends for Hope’s early season struggles
Shawn Hope knew he had a good chance of winning Saturday’s feature race because of his front-row starting position.
After all, the previous three Autotech Bomber feature winners on the new infield track all started in the front row - Blenheim’s Jeff Schives twice and Windsor’s George Rock.
Hope knows - he followed Rock for the second half of the July 5 feature and had no luck trying to pass.
“I had a good starting spot, it’s a lot easier instead of having to work your way up there, and by the time you do, the race is over,” Hope said of his second career feature win.
“It feels good to finally pull one off,” Hope added.
His season has been marred by flat tires, broken parts and was forced to get rid of his original car. He missed three weeks building his new machine.
“I’m out of the points, so I’m just out to win races,” he said.
Hope started on the outside of Maidstone’s Murray Morrison and got the jump on the green flag.
“I wanted to go into (turn) one, stay out of trouble, drag race down the back stretch and get out in front,” he said of the strategy.
Two early cautions, however, kept the field on his back bumper before he was finally able to put some space between the challengers.
A fifth late caution forced a green-white-checkered as Hope capped off his dominating performance while Rock finished second, reversing their order from the July 5 feature.
Schives, last week’s mid-season champion, finished third while the O’Leary brothers from Port Lambton - 12-year-old Tate and 13-year-old Caleb - rounded out the top five.
Hope also won his heat race, giving him six on the season, second only to Schives’ 12, as he won the other heat.
- Remember last Saturday night when the only rain in Chatham-Kent around 10 p.m. fell on South Buxton, forcing the Modifieds and Late Models mid-season championships to be postponed? This week was the opposite as South Buxton only received a misty rain during the day while it seemed everywhere around was reporting steady rain and downpours throughout the day. The track crew did a great job to get the racing surface and the entire facility ready for action.
- The crowd was larger than expected, considering the various amounts of rain in the region. Fans filled several boxes of clothing, toys and food items, to be donated to local charities.
- As a part of Christmas in July, four children received nice prizes from Santa Buxton - Trinity Caderette of Blenheim and Spencer Smolders of Merlin won bikes while Lilly McFadden and Cameron Vollick, both of Chatham, won scooters.
- Shelly Moody, of Essex, mother of No. 23 Sport Stock driver Dillon Moody, won $898.00 from the Tri-County Optimists in the 50-50 draw.
- South Buxton will host four memorial races this Saturday - the Gord DeWael Late Models, Brian Outhouse Modifieds, Cory Schives Mini-Mods and Len Bryden Sport Stocks. Racing begins at 7 p.m.