Standings, Checkered Flags Updated (Click on Track Stats icon)
Two drivers ended long feature win famines while two others continued their hot streaks on Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway.
Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse and Ridgetown’s Jason Haskell both won their first feature races since the 2010 season - Lajeunesse in the Tirecraft Sport Stocks and Haskell in the Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models.
Leamington’s Joel Dick won his eighth Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds feature in the 10-week season while Blenheim’s Brett Hope won his third Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature in the last five weeks.
Windsor’s George Rock earned his first career checkered flag, winning the Autotech Bombers feature.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne Photo; Click on Multimedia icon for James’ photo web page.
Emotional return to Victory Lane for Lajeunesse
Doris Lajeunesse drove with a heavy foot - and a heavy heart.
The Essex driver won his first feature race at South Buxton Raceway since 2010, taking the checkered flag in the Tirecraft Sport Stocks on Saturday night.
After a celebratory dance on the roof of his No. 38 car, his emotions got the best of him as he began his on-track post-race interview.
“This is for my buddy Rick Fryer,” Lajeunesse said, as the one-year anniversary of his long-time friend and crew member’s death was last Wednesday.
“He’s why we’re out here…,” he said, with a pause to collect himself.
“And my father-in-law (Larry Voakes) had a heart attack Thursday.
“He’s doing fine … I called him today and he said to go for it tonight.
“And we did it … this is for them!” Lajeunesse said, pumping his fist in the air to the delight of the large Essex-area fan base.
Lajeunesse, who earlier in the night won his heat race, started in the third row of the 14-car field and needed just two laps to pull into second behind Chatham’s Eric Vanderiviere.
Lajeunesse got a run on the outside on lap six but his bid for the lead was negated by the first of three cautions over the next four laps.
But on the restart, Lajeunesse went right back to the top of the track to take the lead and never looked back, leading the final 14 circuits to snap his long feature famine.
He thought he won in back-to-back weeks last month, including the June 14 feature when he crossed the line first after the three leaders were involved in a crash but race officials called the race at that point and reverted to the last completed lap to make Cottam’s Tiffany Ellis the winner.
“I asked James (MacDonald), is that mine tonight, is it seriously mine?’ ” he laughed as he was handed the checkered flag from the track photographer.
“We had a great car tonight, we had amazing engine,” said Lajeunesse, who has six straight top-four finishes including a pair of seconds.
Vanderiviere held on for a second-place finish while Merlin drivers Steve Shaw and Eren Vanderiviere and Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon rounded out the top five.
Chatham’s Jake Hooker, a 13-year-old rookie, picked up his first career stock car checkered flag as he won the first heat race in just his third night behind the wheel on the No. 38H.
Haskell celebrates unexpected return to SBR with dominating win
He was driving a borrowed car, wearing a borrowed fire suit, shoes, gloves and race-ceiver.
But the checkered flag was all his.
Ridgetown’s Jason Haskell led all 20 laps to win the Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models feature race on Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway.
It was just the second career feature win and first since June, 2010 for the Chatham native, who moved to Ridgetown five years ago.
And what made the win even more remarkable - besides borrowing everything but a helmet - it was Haskell’s first time in a race car all season.
“It’s definitely surprising, I never expected this at all,” said Haskell.
He was only in the No. 78 Late Model because its driver Paul Trepanier left his racing gear at home in Windsor.
“He said either you race it or I load the car and go home,” said Haskell, who was scheduled to test the car for Trepanier in hot laps.
“I figured I might as well see what it’s got,” said Haskell.
Haskell passed Chatham’s Norm Bechard on the final lap to win his heat race and proceeded to lead from the drop of the green to the wave of the checkered in the feature.
He had a scare after a restart on lap seven when Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford got a run on the inside of turns three and four but got into the back of Haskell and spun the leader.
Haskell got his spot back while Glassford had to restart at the end of the nine-car field.
“He was driving a little harder into the corner than I was,” Haskell said of the incident.
“But I figured it was my cue to pick up the pace a little bit or I was going to go backwards.”
From that point, Haskell was virtually unchallenged.
“I didn’t know what was going on behind me, I only knew no one was catching me and I didn’t see anybody’s door panel,” he said.
His last hurdle was a caution with four to go, allowing the field to restart on his back bumper, but he quickly pulled away at the drop of the green, leaving the battle for the runner-up spot.
Glassford got past Chatham’s Jim Jones on the white flag lap to finish second, while Haskell’s brothers also swapped positions on the final lap, with Patrick finishing fourth and Gregg fifth.
“I was kind of bummed when I found out my mom (Deb) had to leave early to go to work and missed the finish,” Haskell said.
“But I know my dad (Rick) was looking down, pretty proud that his boys were all pretty competitive and finished strong,” he said of his father whose memory is honoured with an annual memorial race.
Kyle sets up Brett’s win as Hope boys finish one-two
Brett Hope gets the headlines for scoring the wins, but it’s Kyle doing the grunt work setting up big brother.
The Hope boys finished one-two in Saturday’s Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature race on Saturday night, which ended with the brothers in a big bear hug in Victory Lane.
Brett drove to his third feature win in the last five weeks - and he finished second in the other two features.
But he was quick to point out without his brother’s assist, he wouldn’t be filling up the win column.
“Kyle set the car up great … he does most of the work on it,” Brett said.
“To be honest, I don’t even know what’s on it right now, you’ll have to ask him,” Brett laughed.
“I just get in it, enjoy racing and winning, while he’s bowing down to everyone else,” he said of the work Kyle puts into all three brothers’ cars.
The third Hope brother had his best night of the year as Shawn finished second in the Autotech Bombers.
Brett, who won his heat race earlier in the night for his 10th checkered flag of the season, started on the pole and led all 20 laps of the feature.
“It’s kind of exciting leading the whole thing, I’ve never done that before,” he said, as his first two wins were both in come-from-behind fashion, including a last lap pass of Cottam’s Rob Quick two weeks ago.
“I just worked the bottom right from the start, I had no idea of how much of a gap I had,” he said of Saturday’s run.
That was, until a caution with three to go and brother Kyle, who moved into second on lap 13, pulled along side.
“I gave him the signal, ‘you’re gone,’ I stretched my arms as far as I could to show him how big of a lead he had,” Kyle said.
The younger Hope admitted he had nothing for big brother on the final three laps.
“He’s got a good car and a good motor and he’s a pretty good driver … it’s a good combination,” Kyle said.
He admits his No. 93 isn’t on the same level as his brother’s No. 49 - even though he works on both.
“Maybe one night I’ll get in there and we’ll see,” he pointed to Brett’s car, as the others around the trailers laughed.
“I’ve been close,” Kyle said, as it was his third second-place feature finish and he led the division standings after Week 4 in late May.
“I may not have the best car in the class or the best motor, I just try to drive the wheels off her and try to run up there every single night the best I can,” said Kyle, who should move up a couple of spots from his eighth-place standing going into the night.
Brett’s heat and feature wins helped pad his division lead to 42 points over Blenheim’s Trevor Jones, who finished fourth in the feature and third in his heat.
Last year was Hope’s first running the full season, as he returned on weekends from Buffalo State College - where we will be entering his third year with the hockey Bengals - to race as he finished ninth in points.
“I’ve never really been up there in points and only challenged for a few feature wins, not every week like I am now,” he said of his amazing turnaround.
“It feels good to run like this, it kind of puts a target on your back with everyone chasing you, but at the same time you have to be on top of your game to stay ahead of them.”
Dresden’s Matt Sorrell finished third and Chatham’s Tim Mackenzie - driving for John Pinsonneault - was fifth.
Quick and Mackenzie won the other heats. Quick, who entered the night 37 points behind Hope in third, will take a big hit in the standings as his car broke down early in the feature and was credited with a 16th-place finish.
Dick takes advantage of green-white-caution-checkered for eighth win
Leamington’s Joel Dick continued his amazing season with his eighth Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified feature win in the 10-week season.
Saturday’s win came under unusual circumstances as he passed Belle River’s Mario Toniolo on the final flag lap of a green-white-checkered finish.
The caution, however, came out for the ninth time, but race officials ruled the race complete at that point because of the time limit and declared Dick the winner after 13 of the scheduled 25-lap distance.
Toniolo, in search of his first career feature win, led the first 12 laps before getting passed on the 13th.
“He deserves to win one these, he’s had some pretty good runs and he’s been there all year,” Dick said of Toniolo, who has eight top-five finishes in the 10 features.
It took Dick 10 laps to move into second and was gaining ground on the top of the track, only to have cautions negate his progress.
“Mario was the guy to beat out there, he was running the bottom so the only place you could pass him was the high side,” Dick said.
He dialled up the intensity when he heard the call for a green-white-checkered.
“I had to get a good restart, get on the gas and I knew if I could build my momentum through the ‘D,’ I could probably take him through (turns) one and two,” he described his late strategy that won the race.
“Once I got around him, I was going to the bottom to see if he had anything for me up top,” Dick added.
Clayton Smith, formerly of Woodslee and now a resident of Taylor, Mich., finished third while Chatham’s Louis Clements and Port Lambton’s Drew Smith rounded out the top five.
Merlin’s Jeff Daniels won the first heat but broke the drive shaft while running at the front early in the feature.
Toniolo won the second heat, his third checkered flag in two weeks after going flagless the first eight weeks.
Rock solid going wire-to-wire for first Bomber feature win
Windsor’s George Rock won the battle on the first lap with Merlin’s Cale Johns and went on to lead all 15 laps of the Autotech Bombers feature race.
It was the second straight green-to-checkered run for the Bomber feature winner in two weeks on the new infield track surface, as Blenheim’s Jeff Schives pulled off the feat last Saturday.
A huge pile-up on lap three knocked out some strong contenders, including points leader Chris Ellerbeck, from Chatham.
Schives worked his way from his ninth starting position to a battle for second but his bid for a sixth feature win - and chance to cut into Ellerbeck’s points lead - ended with a flat tire on lap seven.
Meanwhile, Shawn Hope managed to steer clear of the mayhem and worked his way up to second on lap six and put the pressure on Rock in the waning laps.
But Rock held his line on the bottom, forcing Hope to the top of the track where he found no grip through the final corner and had to settle for a season-best second.
It was Rock’s first career checkered flag in his rookie season in the class.
Johns held on for a third-place finish, followed by Chatham drivers Brandon Ardis and Ryan O’Hearn.
Shrewsbury’s Eric Heintz and Schives won the heats.
South Buxton Raceway promoter Sherry Lemesurier presented a $1,000 cheque to the Chatham-Kent United Way campaign, a portion of gate proceeds on Saturday night.
- Congratulations to Trisha and Brian Speelman, proud parents of daughter Camryn Alivia, a sister for twins Alana and Brielle. Clayton Smith put Speelman’s 22S on his door to run points and came home third in the feature.
- Jason Haskell’s win was the fifth this season for a substitute driver. Andrew Reaume has two wins driving for Erick Walker in the Late Models, Justin Coulter had Brad Simpson’s No. 53 on his own 555 Mod last week, while Tim Mackenzie a win in the Mini-Mods where he shares the ‘0′ ride of John Pinsonneault on a more regular basis.
- Brad Authier had problems in the pits and had to scratch for the night, as he will take a hit in the Late Model points standings.
- Late Model points leader Dale Glassford will miss this Saturday’s Mid-Season championship night because of the marriage of his daughter. He is not expected to have anyone run points or put anyone in his car.
- Haskell raced four times in Trepanier’s No. 78 last August, including the annual Rick Haskell memorial, where he finished seventh. Haskell hopes to have his own Barry Wright car on the track later this month.
- Haskell said he wore Joel Desjardins’ second fire suit, Paul Trepanier’s racing shoes and Jeff Schives’ racing gloves and race-ceiver. The only thing he brought to the track was his helmet.
- Three-time champion Shawn Jones returned to the Mini-Mods in Jason Turkington’s No. 25T, finishing sixth in his heat but did not start the feature. He moved up to the Modifieds last year but parked it this year because of the expense in running the class.
- Tim Mills, one of the Sprint push-truck drivers from Ohsweken, won $1,676.50 in the Chatham Sunrise Rotary Club’s 50-50 draw.
- And one of the door prize winners also came from a long distance - Dave Gagnier of Winnipeg won a fire extinguisher from SBR.
- Mid-Season Championship night is this Saturday. Dale Glassford (Late Models), Joel Dick (Modifieds) Eren Vanderiviere (Sport Stocks), Rob Quick (Mini-Mods) and Dylan Bonner (Bombers) are the defending Mid-Season champions. Bonner has moved up to the Mini-Mods.