Four drivers rode hot streaks to the Winner’s Circle on Mid-Season Championship night Saturday at South Buxton Raceway.
Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere won his fourth straight feature and fifth of the season in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks’ mid-season championship race.
Two drivers won their third straight and fourth features of the season - Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models and Leamington’s Joel Dick in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds.
Cottam’s Rob Quick won the Tirecraft Mini-Mods mid-season title, his third feature win in the last four race nights.
Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner won the Bomber mid-season championship, the first trophy race for the class.
James MacDonald ApexOne Photos (click on photos for larger views).
Vanderiviere brings home another trophy for his son
Eren Vanderiviere thought he was going to disappoint his young son Cole when he crashed early in his Windride Transportation Sport Stocks heat race.
“He kept saying all day, ‘Dad, bring me home a trophy,’ ” Vanderiviere said.
It wasn’t easy, but there is another piece of hardware going in his son’s trophy room.
Vanderiviere’s crew, with the help of others like P.J. Wolters, welded the bumper repaired the front-end damage from the heat-race crash and wound up in the Winner’s Circle in the mid-season championship race.
“The crew did a great job putting the front end all back together and looking good,” Vanderiviere said.
“We had a rough heat race and I spun out and got piled into by the 5, but it wasn’t his fault,” he said of rookie Ryan Bonner in just his third night in the Sport Stocks.
His heat-race crash was a prelude to the mid-season championship, which was shortened from 25 laps to 15 after seven caution flags in the first 11 laps.
“I think I got into the 38 (Doris Lajeunesse) a little in the early laps, but the car’s pretty clean,” said Vanderiviere, who escaped the wrecks.
“I guess the shortened laps came into my favour too this week,” he smiled, as he won the June 15 feature, which was also reduced 10 laps because of a series of wrecks.
Vanderiviere started in the fifth row and moved into second place behind Merlin’s Steve Shaw on lap six.
“I don’t think I really had too much for him, he was getting a good jump on the restarts,” Vanderiviere said of Shaw.
But as the leaders were coming through turns three and four on lap eight, Shaw’s car suddenly slowed and Vanderiviere shot by underneath to take the lead for good.
“I don’t know what happened to him, I just saw him wash up between three and four … but I was pretty happy,” Vanderiviere admitted.
Shaw, who said he broke a rear gear, posted his second straight DNF and finished 14th.
Harrow’s Patrick Lajeunesse closed the gap but his momentum was stalled by another caution with two laps remaining.
“I let off too early in (turn) one and pushed and heard him, but I didn’t see him after that,” said Vanderiviere, who regained a comfortable lead for the green-white-checkered finish.
“It’s too bad we had so many cautions from the get-go because it’s hard to get any momentum going with caution after caution, but once we got going for a few laps, the car was all right,” Vanderiviere said.
Lajeunesse hung on for a season-best second-place finish.
Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse, who led three early laps, finished third, followed by Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse and Windsor’s West Bertozzi.
Kingsville’s Jim Ellis and Patrick Lajeunesse won the heat sand Shaw the crack-the-whip.
Vanderiviere has opened a 58-point lead over Shaw in his bid for a third straight points title.
J.D. saved best for final laps to win Mod mid-season
Joe Brosseau had the fastest car for the first 24 laps.
But Joel Dick had the best car when the checkered flag waved.
The Leamington native Dick took the lead after a restart with five laps to go and went on to win the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified mid-season championship.
It was Dick’s third feature win in a row and fourth of the season.
The two drivers have combined to win the last six features.
Dick won his first feature on May 25, followed by two straight for Merlin’s Brosseau on June 8 and 15, and Dick’s current streak of three in a row on June 22, 29 and this past Saturday.
The June 1 and July 6 races were rained out.
“It’s awesome,” Dick said after his first career mid-season victory.
“A win is a win, they’re all pretty important, but this one happens to be one of the bigger races of the year, so it’s a great feeling when you cross the checkered flag in a race like this,” Dick said after his first career mid-season win.
Dick was locked in a three-way battle with Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra and Taylor, Mich.’s Clayton Smith for 20 laps behind Brosseau, who led from the drop of the green.
The restart following a caution with five laps to go changed everything as Brosseau went up the track coming out of turn two and dropped back to fourth place.
Two laps later, Brosseau and Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith were involved in an accident as the Merlin driver wound up with a DNF and a 17th-place finish after dominating the first 24 laps.
“I don’t know if he (Brosseau) washed up or what really happened to him,” Dick said.
“I got a great run off the restart and cleared him.”
Dick admitted he didn’t know if he could have caught Brosseau without the late caution.
“He had a really fast car and was getting a good drive off the corner,” Dick said. “I was trying to go where he was running but I couldn’t get the same drive.”
Dick said because it was a 30-lap race, he was saving his tires.
“We had a few long green-flag runs and the tires were just starting to come in.
“I was going to let it all out the last eight laps but the caution came out and that’s the way the race played out,” Dick said.
Dick credited his crew for the changes they made before the race and his sponsors (Thermal Energy, Stinger Express, Pioneer Seed, Marlin Dock & Door, Tom Dick Farms, Delta Power Equipment) for their support.
Hoekstra held off Smith in a photo finish for second while Belle River’s Mario Toniolo was fourth and Chatham’s Eric Vanderiviere was fifth.
Hoekstra, however, moved atop the points standings by eight points over Chatham’s Brian Speelman, who has led the division since May 25.
Speelman finished eight in the feature.
Hoekstra won his heat and the dash while Drew Smith and Tilbury rookie driver J.J. Beaulieu, with his first career Modified checkered, won the other heats.
Red-hot Glassford at a loss for words - temporarily - after another win
Dale Glassford is never at a loss for words when he wins a race.
Saturday night was no different as he couldn’t wait to get out of his car and address the fans after winning the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Model mid-season championship.
Unfortunately, a malfunction with the track’s wireless microphone prevented Glassford from saying thank you to the fans.
But that was about the only thing that hasn’t gone right for the Ridgetown native of late, as the mid-season title was his third straight feature win and fourth of the season.
“I just wanted to tell the fans how much we appreciate everyone who is supporting our class,” Glassford said from his hauler at the end of the race night.
Only eight Late Models were on hand for mid-season championship night, with two scratching from the feature.
Small car counts the last couple of years have plagued what has been South Buxton’s showcase class since the track opened in 1971.
“We have a bunch of people who are stepping up for the class and I really wanted to thank them, namely Sherry and Gary (Lemesurier) for what they’re doing for the Gord DeWael (memorial) race,” Glassford said.
The Lemesuriers have secured close to 50 sponsorships to enhance the purse for the DeWael memorial, which has already been rained out twice and has been rescheduled for July 27.
This Saturday, the Late Models will compete in the Don Hendricks memorial feature, another special race in honour of a former track champion.
“It makes us feel good that people are helping us out and we all appreciate that,” said Glassford, on behalf of his fellow Late Model drivers.
In Saturday’s mid-season championship, Glassford took the lead on the second lap and led the final 18 circuits for his second mid-season victory in three years.
“Things are going our way right now,” said Glassford, explaining his hot streak.
“Some of it’s luck, some of it is being in the right spot at the right time and taking advantage of other people’s problems.
“We went through our bad luck the first of the season and now we’ve got some good luck going, that’s 90 percent of it,” Glassford said.
Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis, who won the heat and dash preliminary races earlier in the night, got loose between turns three and four on the second lap, surrendering the lead to Glassford.
“I made a bad call on the set-up, we tried something we shouldn’t have,” Lewis explained what caused his spin.
“This new car seems to be a whole new operation, it’s fast but we have a lot to learn.”
Glassford felt bad for Lewis, because the same thing happened in the late laps of his June 22 feature win.
“It’s too bad that happened so early because that would have been a really good race,” Glassford said.
“He’s got a good fast car, I chased him in the heat and dash and I couldn’t quite get there, but we were close,” he said of Lewis.
Once in front, Glassford held a steady lead over Lewis, who had his hands full holding off Chatham’s Jim Jones in the waning laps to finish second.
“The better car won,” Lewis said of Glassford.
“Our car is good, we just have to get the driver a little better,” he said with a grin.
Glassford moved into second place in the division standings despite missing two race nights early in the season but is a distant 118 points behind Chatham’s Gregg Haskell.
“We’ve got some really important races coming up I’d like to win,” said Glassford, looking ahead to the Hendricks and DeWael memorial races.
“I just hope I’m not using up all of my luck up because I’d really like to do well in those memorial races.
“It’s pretty hard to keep up doing well all the time because something’s going to come up and bite you,” Glassford declared.
Glassford won both the Hendricks and Rick Haskell memorial races last year. This year’s Haskell memorial will be Aug. 31.
Quick golden again with silverwear on the line
Rob Quick may be out of the points race, but the veteran Cottam driver is making a point that he’s out to win every race.
An early season night off plus a pair of DNFs and DNS’s has left Quick struggling to make it into the top-10 in the Tirecraft Mini-Mod standings.
But when his car is working, he is a threat to win every race.
Quick took the lead from Dresden’s Matt Sorrell on lap seven and led the final 18 laps, including the final 15 caution-free, in a dominating performance to win the mid-season championship.
“That’s what I like to see, no cautions,” Quick said.
“That way, I don’t lose any of the ground that I gained, I can just keep my rhythm going.”
Quick weaved his way through the lapped traffic, building almost a half-track lead over Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. and Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano, who badly needed a caution to have any shot at a win.
However, the caution never waved as Shaw Jr. settled for second-place finish and DeSerrano third.
Blenheim’s Kyle Hope finished fourth and Merlin’s Jody Mason was fifth.
It was Quick’s third feature win in the last four race nights. He won the June 15 and 22 features before scratching from the June 29 feature after they found a motor issue following his heat race win.
“We didn’t want to take a chance on blowing it up,” Quick said of his June 29 DNS.
“As long as it holds together, we’re going to the Winner’s Circle.”
Quick credited the work of his crew chief and engine man P.J. Wolters.
“The only thing that’s stopped us was the failure points in the engine, or this car would be a front runner and points leader without all the issues,” Wolters declared.
With a second career points title out of the question, Quick is taking aim at winning all of the hardware on the track.
“We want to win all the trophy races … we won the championship race last September, we’ve got this (mid-season) and we’re going for the championship race again,” he declared.
“And we’re going for the most checkered flags,” added Quick, who also won the crack-the-whip earlier in the night for 12 flags on the season, just three shy of DeSerrano.
Quick dedicated the win to his father Bob, who turned 77 on Sunday but couldn’t attend Saturday’s races.
DeSerrano, Shaw Jr. and Mason won the other heats.
- Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner won the first trophy race for the Bombers, which became an official class this season. Blenheim’s Jeff Schives was second, Shrewsbury’s Bobby Leveille third, Blenheim’s Shawn Hope fourth and Merlin’s Bob Hill fifth.
- Dylan started the season in the 16 Bomber but took over the 5B when his brother Ryan, who won four features, moved up to the Sport Stocks.
- And it has been Leveille in the 48 all season, not Luke Small or Eric Frantz as had previously been reported.
- Hoekstra was the only defending mid-season champion who had a shot at a second straight title but finished second. Chatham’s Brad Authier scratched from the Late Model mid-season title after suffering engine damage in his heat, spoiling his shot a second straight title.
- Quick would like to apologize to the fans for a profanity he slipped in during his post-race interview - yeah, the cordless mike HAD to be working at that moment! But the mike was cutting out when Quick was inviting fans to “take a shot at him” at a paintball centre on Sunday. Many fans thought Quick was calling out the fans, who didn’t hear the paintball part.
- Steve Shaw’s crack-the-whip win is his 10th checkered of the season, joining DeSerrano (15), Vanderiviere (13) and Quick (12) in double figures in the checkered flag department.
- Glassford leads the Late Models with eight checkereds while Dick has seven and Smith six in the Modifieds.
- Boston Pizza, the night’s sponsor, gave away free pizza to fans.
- Jim St. John of Tilbury won the 50-50 draw, a $755 prize from Wolfe Creek BMX.