The road to Victory Lane in Saturday’s Autotech Service Bombers season championship race goes through Blenheim.
Two Blenheim drivers have dominated the class this season at South Buxton Raceway - Jeff Schives in the first half and Shawn Hope in the second.
Schives won six of the first 11 features while building as big as a 117-point lead atop the standings.
His lead over Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck has been reduced to 54 points but he only needs to start the championship race to clinch the Bombers points title.
The second half of the season has belong to Hope, whose feature last Saturday was his fifth in the last seven weeks.
Hope has also won five heat races in the same time span as his 14 checkered flags in total are tied with Schives for the most in the division.
Schives will be going for his second straight championship race victory. He finished second to Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner in the point standings in the inaugural Bombers’ season.
Ghosts and Goblins … and Gearheads!
There will some scary sights in the pits this Saturday night - and we’re not talking shirtless drivers and crewmen working on their cars in the heat!
South Buxton Raceway’s Junior Fan Club will be going ‘trick-or-treating’ as this Saturday night will be ‘Halloween In September!’
The kids will get their Halloween costumes out of the closets a little earlier and will be making their way through the pits.
Drivers and race teams are asked to have candy and/or their Heroes Cards to hand out to the trick-or-treaters.
Fans too are welcome to ‘dress up’ for Halloween.
This Saturday’s racing action will be highlighted by the Autotech Services Bombers season championship race.
With nightfall coming earlier every Saturday night and without proper lighting on the infield track, the Bombers’ championship race was moved up one week for the drivers’ safety.
Please note, the Autograph Night that appears on schedules for this Saturday has been cancelled.
Drivers standings and checkered flag stats are updated under the Track Stats icon.
Everyone knew it was just a matter of time before Mario Toniolo would win a feature race.
That time came on Saturday night.
Toniolo posted his first victory in his 10 years driving in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds class at South Buxton Raceway.
It was his first feature win since 2004 in his final year in the Sport Stocks class.
“Wow, 10 years in the Mods … it’s been a long time coming,” the Belle River native said after climbing out of his winning car in Victory Lane.
“This car is awesome … it just keeps getting better and better and better.”
Toniolo took the lead from Essex’s Gerald Martin on the second lap and held off eight-time track champion Jim Dale Jr. of Shrewsbury over the final 19 laps.
The two battled door-to-door for several laps, with Dale Jr. twice taking the lead after restarts through turns one and two but Toniolo battled back both times to regain the lead on the bottom of three and four.
“When I fell back to third and got the lead right back, I knew it was mine, there was no doubt in my mind,” Toniolo said, as he was also passed at one point by Merlin’s Jeff Daniels on a lap 17 restart.
“The bottom line had some pretty good stick, it was the place to race tonight,” Toniolo said.
“Jimmy was good on the restarts but I learned his game and the last couple of restarts we were good.”
Photos by James MacDonald, ApexOne Photo (click on photos for larger views)
He waited seven years to win his father’s memorial race.
But the five minutes that followed the end of Saturday’s Rick Haskell memorial race probably seemed longer than seven years.
Gregg Haskell went from third place on the final lap to a dramatic victory when Brad Authier and Jim Jones collided coming out of turn four of the eighth annual Haskell memorial for the Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models.
Haskell, with his fist pumping out the driver’s window, pulled onto the infield in anticipation of an emotional celebration.
Instead, a track worker told Haskell that the race wasn’t over because the caution came out and a second green-white-checkered finish would be needed to determine the winner.
“I didn’t see a yellow flag, I saw the checkered,” said Haskell, who admitted he was livid inside the race car.
Race officials reviewed the finish and determined the yellow flag never came out and Haskell was declared the winner.