Third place was the safe place to be for the three eventual championship race winners at South Buxton Raceway.
It took different circumstances but Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon, Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. and Blenheim’s Jeff Schives all rallied to win their division’s season championship races on Saturday night.
Lozon won his second straight Windride Transportation Sport Stocks championship race, going from third to the lead on lap 17 when the leader Eren Vanderiviere and second-place Steve Shaw tangled.
Shaw Jr. finished third on the track but wound up with the championship trophy in a wild Tirecraft Mini-Mod championship race. The winner Elliot Wilton of Blenheim was disqualified for an illegal manifold intake in post-race tech inspection while Denis DeSerrano was docked one position for a late race incident with Shaw Jr., who was declared the winner.
Schives was also running third midway through the Bomber championship when the Bonner brothers - Dylan and Evan - both were forced to the pits allowing Schives to take the lead and the first official Bomber championship.
Leamington’s Justin Coulter won his second Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified feature in just his third night at the track while Chatham’s Kirk Hooker won a feature in his first time behind the wheel in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models.
Meanwhile, Chatham’s Gregg Haskell clinched his second straight UMP Late Model points championship while DeSerrano locked up his third career Mini-Mod crown.
The Modifieds and Late Models will hold their championship night on Sept. 21, after a weekend off this coming Saturday at South Buxton.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne Photo (click on pictures for larger views)
Déjà vu for Lozon in his Windride Sport Stocks championship victory
For Tyler Lozon - as well as Eren Vanderiviere and Steve Shaw - it was a case of déjà vu in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks championship race.
Lozon took advantage of the latest skirmish between the two veterans to win his second straight championship race.
Vanderiviere, who led the first 16 laps, and Shaw made contact in turn three. Vanderiviere, who was hit on the left rear panel, spun while Shaw kept going as the caution came out. Both Vanderiviere and Shaw were both sent to the rear for the restart.
Lozon moved up two spots into the lead, which he held over the final eight laps to retain his championship.
“I was just hoping they were going to mess up eventually,” said Lozon, admitting he didn’t see what caused the leaders to get together.
“I wasn’t paying too much attention to them, I was just holding my own ground,” said Lozon.
The Grande Pointe native was also running third in last year’s championship race and took the lead with two laps to go when Shaw and Vanderiviere tangled.
And ironically, his only feature win this season came two weeks ago when Vanderiviere and Shaw tangled about 100 feet from the finish line, allowing Lozon go from third place to the Winner’s Circle.
“It feels great … I want to do it again next year!” Lozon said after accepting the trophy.
Vanderiviere, who recovered to finish second, was livid, claiming Shaw blatantly took him out.
“I thought about taking him out when we restarted at the back, but I was brought up better than that, I guess,” said Vanderiviere, who clinched a third straight points championship a week earlier.
“We don’t try to race like that, we try to race everyone the way we want to be raced … this was out of my hands,” he said.
After a restart on lap 11, Shaw and Lozon had their best runs on Vanderiviere leading up to the incident.
“He (Vanderiviere) was fast on the bottom I was fast on the top,” Shaw said.
“He washed up in front of me and I was already back on the throttle. He was going around whether I bumped him or not.
“The last thing I wanted to do was restart at the back,” said Shaw, who finished eighth.
Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse finished third, with LaSalle’s Bob Visnjic and Chatham’s Jason Fox rounding out the top five.
Lozon’s two feature wins in the last three weeks capped a roller-coaster season for the fourth-year driver.
He was plagued by DNFs in features through the first half of the season before turning things around the second half.
Lozon closed the gap on Shaw in the battle for second in the standings over the last month, finishing just five points back in third.
“The car was good all night, I couldn’t have asked for a better car, it’s the best it’s run all year,” Lozon said.
He survived a scare on a restart with five laps to go when the steering wheel came off just as the green was about to come out.
“I thought we were still under caution, and it went green … but I got it back on just in time,” he said.
“I’m happy, we’ll go home and wash the car and put it away until next summer,” the champ said.
The three-time points champion Vanderiviere, however, said he has likely raced for the last time in the Sport Stocks.
“The car’s up for sale, I think I’m ready to get out of this class and maybe move up to the Modifieds,” said Vanderiviere.
Post-race breaks go Shaw Jr.’s way to capture Tirecraft Mini-Mod crown
Steve Shaw Jr. figured his chances at winning his first championship race ended when he was bumped off the lead inside of four laps remaining in the Tirecraft Mini-Mod championship.
He crossed the line in third place, behind Blenheim’s Elliot Wilton and Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano.
But when he returned to the Winner’s Circle for the trophy presentation, Shaw Jr. was awarded the first-place hardware.
Wilton was stripped of the victory when post-race tech inspection found an illegal intake on the manifold.
DeSerrano, meanwhile, was penalized one spot for the incident with Shaw Jr. on lap 21.
“And the trophy’s sitting on top of my car,” Shaw Jr. said after being declared the winner.
“That was pretty crazy, I don’t think I’ve seen that out here before … but I’m really happy with it,” he said.
DeSerrano, who clinched his third career points title, was credited with a second-place finish while Merlin’s Jody Mason moved up to third. Tilbury’s Ryan Beaulieu and Gerry Rivait Jr. finished fourth and fifth respectively, the best finish of the season for both drivers.
Cottam’s Rob Quick had the dominating car from the drop of the green, taking the lead on the first lap from his second-row starting spot and was running away from the pack.
Suddenly on lap 12, Quick slowed coming around the ‘D’ and went to the pits.
“I don’t know if it’s the transmission or the read end,” said a disappointed Quick.
“I thought it was ours, but that’s the way the season’s gone,” said Quick, who won five features including two in a row going into championship night, but also had several DNFs and DNS’s that knocked him out of the points race.
Shaw Jr. and DeSerrano, meanwhile, had their hands full as they were in the thick of a battle with Dresden’s Matt Sorrell and Wilton.
Two laps after Shaw Jr. took the lead, a multi-car pileup from Sorrell on back involved several contending cars, including Wilton.
DeSerrano also ran over some debris and had to go to the pits to change a flat.
“The jack broke and we had to get five guys to lift the car to change the tire,” DeSerrano said, as he got a break when another caution came out before a lap was complete, allowing him to get back on the track on the lead lap.
With the high attrition rate, DeSerrano needed only two laps to move back into third behind Shaw Jr. and Wilton.
DeSerrano passed Wilton for second on lap 19 and three laps later was working on the inside of Shaw Jr. through turns three and four when contact was made.
“It wasn’t intentional, I don’t know if he tried to pinch but I had a run and he slowed,” DeSerrano said of the incident with Shaw Jr.
The Merlin driver acknowledged it was simply a racing incident.
“Denis came over and apologized right away, he said he got in a little hot, but my car was slowing down,” Shaw Jr. admitted.
“But I’m very lucky, I got spun out, got a spot given back to me and lucked out in tech lane when the 1 car (Wilton) was DQ’d,” Shaw Jr. said.
Wilton, a rookie driver with one checkered flag on the season, experienced the ultimate high of racing when he took the checkered flag, only to have his heart ripped out in tech-lane.
“It wasn’t that heartbreaking,” Wilton admitted.
“I thought we had found a little gray area in the rule but apparently we hadn’t,” he said.
Wilton said he was so elated when he thought he won the race, he could hardly talk.
“I had no voice when I got back to the pits, I was screaming so much on the cool down lap,” he said.
“But, lesson learned, we’ll put the other manifold on, we’ll be two or three less horsepower but it won’t that big of a difference,” said Wilton, who plans on racing on Sept. 21 on a non-points night.
Shaw Jr., who finished 61 points behind DeSerrano in the final standings, calls his 2013 season “great.
“We finished in the top five almost every night … we only had four bad nights all year.
“I had a good shot at making up a lot of points a couple of weeks ago but I messed up and Denis was able to win it,” he said of the points title.
“I’ll take this championship race win over the points anytime,” he declared.
DeSerrano, who won points titles in 2000 and 2004, finished with a division leading six feature wins and 24 checkereds, including his 12th heat race win of the season earlier in the night.
Quick was second with five feature wins and 23 checkereds, including a heat win Saturday, and finished 137 points behind Shaw in third.
Blenheim’s Brett Hope won the first heat when Shaw and Chatham’s Darryl Lucio crashed near the finish line.
“That was luck, it was only cosmetic damage,” Shaw said.
“He (Lucio) came over an apologized … he was going for his first checkered and got a little excited, I don’t blame him.”
Schives gets ‘helping hand’ in his Bomber championship race win
There are no passenger seats in race cars, but Jeff Schives felt like he had company in his Bomber championship race victory.
It was four years ago Jeff lost his brother Cory to cancer, just days past his 18th birthday.
Jeff, who is now 18, said Cory is smiling from ear-to-ear up in heaven.
“I think about him every time I get into the car,” he said of Cory.
“He’d be pretty happy.”
Schives started second but slipped to as low as fourth before all of the breaks started going his way.
Dylan Bonner, of Blenheim, led the first five laps before cutting a tire, ending his hopes of adding the championship race trophy to his points title and mid-season race win.
“I hated to see that happen to him, we’re good friends and we help work on each other’s car,” Schives said of Bonner.
“I would have rather raced him for the win.”
Two laps later, Blenheim’s Shawn Hope was black-flagged for contact with Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck while the two battled for the lead.
Blenheim’s Evan Bonner led the next two laps but he couldn’t re-fire his car after a caution came out, sending a second Bonner to the pits.
This moved Schives to the lead, as he led the final six laps to become the first Bomber championship race winner.
He held off Cory Russelo, another Blenheim driver, and Shrewsbury’s Bobby Leveille over the final laps.
“I didn’t know how close he was, I couldn’t hear him, but people told me that he was pretty close,” Schives said of Russelo, who joined the Bomber class in mid-August.
“I was helping Evan (Bonner) and thought I’d try it,” Russelo said about his late-season introduction to racing.
“I had a blast … I can’t wait until next year.”
Schives admitted he never expected to win.
“I was going to be happy with a second or a third,” he said.
“The car’s pretty worn out, it’s been losing power the last few weeks … I thought it was going to blow up,” he admitted.
Schives, who tried his hand at the Mini-Mods twice this season, expects to move up to the class next season.
“The Bombers has been fun, but I want something a little faster,” he said.
Hooker returns a winner, Haskell returns as champion
Chatham’s Kirk Hooker won the battle but Gregg Haskell won the war.
Hooker, in his first appearance of the season at South Buxton, passed Haskell for the lead on lap eight and went on to win the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Model feature.
But his second-place finish, coupled with Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford scratching from the feature, locked up a second straight division points title for Haskell.
He will take a 121-point lead into the Sept. 21 championship night, where the most points a driver can accumulate is 97 by winning both the feature and heat.
“That was awesome racing Gregg, it’s always fun racing with him,” Hooker said.
It was the second time Hooker’s car has been at South Buxton this season, as Andrew Reaume drove the No. 38 to the Gord DeWael memorial feature win and a three-for-three night on Aug. 10.
Hooker won the heat and finished third in the dash, as the No. 38 car is 5-for-6 in two race nights.
“What an awesome race car to drive,” said Hooker, adding he will have the car back at South Buxton for the Sept. 21 championship night.
“It’s up to Andrew, I just filled in for him tonight,” Hooker answered, when asked who’ll be behind the wheel.
Reaume first drove Hooker’s car to his third Canadian Fall Shootout win last September.
Hooker, who won one feature in two trips to South Buxton last year, has not raced this summer, as he decided to park his Delaware asphalt car, content to help his son Jake’s go-cart racing and watch daughter Taylor Mae play.
He said Jake, who will be 14 next summer, will likely join the Bomber class with the goal of putting him in the No. 38 Late Model when he’s 16.
Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis, who picked up his ninth checkered flag with his dash win earlier in the night, finished third for his 10th top-five finish in 11 feature starts.
Chatham’s Jim Jones and Merlin’s Clinton Emery rounded out the top five.
Brad Authier, who won the Rick Haskell memorial feature last week, was not able to get his new motor back in the car and drove Matt Wauthier’s car to a sixth-place finish.
Red-hot Coulter may skip Modified championship night
Six years ago, Justin Coulter won the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified season championship in just his third race night of the season.
After winning his second feature in just three nights behind the wheel of a modified on Saturday, the South Buxton regulars have to be worried about a repeat from 2007 from the 555 machine on Sept. 21.
But they might not have to worry.
“We’re not sure if we’re going to be here on championship night,” said Coulter, after leading all 25 laps of the feature to complete a three-for-three dominating night.
“We want to go to Eldora to get some track time before we go to the Nationals,” said Coulter, as the Modifieds race at the Rossburg, Ohio track on Sept. 20, which he wants to use as a tune up for the UMP Nationals on Oct. 3-5.
“It will depend on how late we get out of there and how much we have to do on the car,” Coulter said.
He added the decision to race at South Buxton depends on car owner Mark Goggins.
“I have to thank Mark for the opportunity of driving this car … he makes the decisions so I’ll have to wait and see what he says,” Coulter said.
If Coulter does race on championship night, he will have to start at the back as the line-up will be set according to points.
But starting at the back won’t faze Coulter - he started shotgun in his feature win on Aug. 10 in his first night in a modified car in two years.
His heat and dash wins - plus a zero invert - put Coulter on the pole for Saturday’s feature beside points leader Darryl Hoekstra.
“I’d like to thank the junior fan who picked the zero for the invert,” Coulter said, as members of the Junior Fan Club pick frisbees for the inverts following the dash each race night.
“That really helped starting on the pole,” said Coulter, who was barely challenged on any of the four restarts.
“This Shaw car seems to be working pretty well, you really don’t have to touch them that much at the track,” Coulter said.
Chatham’s Brian Speelman, Leamington’s Joel Dick, Merlin’s Brad McLeod and Belle River’s Mario Toniolo rounded out the top five.
Hoekstra ran second from the drop of the green before losing two spots on lap eight and fell further back through the field and was involved in a late multi-car crash.
He finished 12th but still holds an 80-point lead over Dick heading into championship night, where he basically has to start the championship race to clinch the points title.
- Coulter has three wins in five features at South Buxton this season. He won the Late Model feature on opening night and finished fourth in his other appearance. He got out of the Late Model in July.
- Junior’s championship win, along with his father Steve’s six, makes the Shaw family the second father-son combination with season championship wins. The other combo is John Pinsonneault (1991 Stinger) and John Pinsonneault Jr. (1999 and 2002 Comp 4s).
- The Hoekstras are on the verge of joining the Reaumes as the only father-son duo to win season points championships. Darryl Hoekstra carries a commanding 80-point lead into the Sept. 21 season finale in his bid to win his first points crown. His father Eugene has eight points titles and is also a seven-time championship race winner, as Darryl will be going for the double on the 21st. Brett Reaume won points titles in the old Sportsmen and Great Lakes Lake Model divisions while son Andrew won a pair of Late Model crowns.
- The Junior Fan Club held its second Box Car Races. Pictures can be found under the ‘Multimedia’ icon and click on photos to go to James MacDonald’s Apex One Photo site.
- With the threat of rain, race officials altered the program to run all of the championship races before intermission. The introductions were changed to in-car to save time and the post-race trophy presentations were delayed until the end of the race night. The rain dissipated as it headed down from Michigan. Rain interrupted the first championship night last year, as it started falling at the end of the Sport Stocks feature. The second date was rained out later in the month, forcing a Championship-Shootout two-day show on the final weekend of September.
- There is no racing this coming Saturday as several track staff members will be working at the Canadian Sprint Nationals at Ohsweken Speedway.
- The 50-50 draw, worth $790 from the Wolfe Creek BMX, was won by Chatham’s John Fraser.