It was a memorial night to remember!
Blenheim’s Andrew Reaume was scheduled to race in the North-South 100 at Florence Speedway in Kentucky, but instead traveled southwest to South Buxton Raceway where he put together a perfect three-for-three night, capped off by winning the first Gord DeWael memorial race in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Tire UMP Late Models.
Reaume took the lead from Charing Cross’ Chris Ross and led the final six laps to pocket the $1,000 winner’s share.
Chatham’s Jim Jones and Brad Authier finished second and third, the only other lead-lap cars as only four of the 16 starters were still on the track when the checkered flag waved at the end of the 25-lap feature, which was slowed by 10 cautions.
Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere led the final 15 laps to win his second straight and seventh feature win of the season in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks class, as his Len Bryden memorial victory was his second in a row. Vanderiviere also won his heat and crack-the-whip for his third sweep of the season.
Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano went one better, completing his fourth three-for-three night including the Cory Schives memorial race in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods. It was DeSerrano’s sixth feature win of the season as he leads all drivers with 20 checkereds on the season.
The biggest surprise winner was Leamington’s Justin Coulter, who won the Brian Outhouse memorial race in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds in his first night in a modified in two years.
Coulter chased leader Jeff Daniels of Merlin for several laps before taking the lead on lap 20.
Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck won his first Bomber feature.
The night began with a moment of silence for long-time track worker Bernie Rombouts of Chatham, who passed away Friday night. Daniels represented all drivers with a tribute lap during the opening ceremonies.
James MacDonald ApexOne Photos (click on photos for larger views)
Reaume glad he stayed home to honor Gord
Andrew Reaume was disappointed when the third attempt at the Gord DeWael memorial race was postponed on July 27, knowing he intended to race in Kentucky on Saturday’s make-up date.
The two-time track champion was scheduled to drive Kirk Hooker’s No. 38 that night, the same car he drove to his third career Canadian Fall Shootout victory last September.
Over the last week, however, he had a change of mind.
“Gord!” Reaume answered without hesitation in the Winner’s Circle, on the reason he decided to forgo the North-South 100 at Florence (Ky.) Speedway to race in the first DeWael memorial at his home track.
“Kirk and I talked about it and I really want to run this deal,” Reaume said.
“I’m glad we stayed here, it was awesome to win this for his (DeWael’s) family.”
Reaume is too young to remember the three-time champion DeWael when he was racing.
“I knew Gord more from my father (Brett), but I got to know him over the years in the pits and he was my kind of guy … he didn’t take any crap from anybody,” Reaume said of DeWael.
DeWael would have been proud of the way Reaume and Chris Ross - two South Buxton homegrowns who have gone on to race on the Ohio circuit - recovered from a lap two spin to avoid a wreck and charge their way back through the field.
It took just four laps for the pair to move behind Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis, who had led from the drop of the green
Ross took the lead on lap 10 when Lewis got loose momentarily in turn four and Reaume moved into second two laps later.
“When we were back there, I kind of thought it would be him and me at the end of the race,” said Reaume, who followed Ross for six laps before taking the lead after a lap 19 caution.
“He was definitely good,” Reaume said of Ross, “he had the better car, I had to find something.
“That’s why on that last restart, I went it in as hard as I could and got under of him,” Reaume described the pass for the win.
Two laps later, Ross went to the pits with steering problems and finished sixth.
When the checkered flag fell, Reaume only had three other cars behind him - Chatham’s Jim Jones, Brad Authier and Jason Haskell - as the 25-lapper was slowed by 10 cautions. Chatham’s Brent Colby finished fifth in the pits.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford, who won five straight features going into the night, saw his streak end with a broken distributor cap while running third on lap four. He finished 12th.
A season-high 17 late models were on hand for the DeWael memorial, which offered a $1,000 winner’s share plus a bigger purse and extra lap money.
Reaume won his heat and dash, as he is 5-for-5 in Hooker’s car going back to the Shootout when he also won the heat.
Jones won the other heat before posting his second straight feature runner-up finish.
Reaume will be back to defend his Shootout title on Sept. 28. In the meantime, he is scheduled to run in World Of Outlaw Late Model events in Michigan and Ohio, plus the Baltes Classic and World 100 on back-top-back weekends in Eldora.
Coulter steals the show in his return to the Modified class
Veteran drivers in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds must have had a case of ‘déjà vu’ when they saw Justin Coulter in the Winner’s Circle on Saturday night.
It was Coulter’s first time in a modified car in two years.
He had to go to the ‘B’ main after crashing on the first lap on his heat race.
Yet, the Leamington driver stole the show by winning the annual Brian Outhouse memorial feature.
Back in 2008, Coulter made his modified debut in mid-August and in just his third time behind the wheel, he stole the show by winning the season championship race.
“Not really,” Coulter answered if he had any thoughts of winning in his return to the modifieds.
“I was hoping for a top five, but I had confidence in the car, we just tried to stay out of trouble and keep a straight line … and it turned out for the best,” he said.
Coulter, who won the Late Model feature on opening night at South Buxton, has been racing on the Ohio circuit before motor issues have interrupted his season.
He was looking forward to having this weekend off when he got a text from Mark Goggin of Amherstburg, who has raced the No. 66 at South Buxton the last two seasons but had yet to make his first appearance this year.
“I got a text around 7:30-8 Thursday morning from Mark asking me if I wanted to drive his car here Saturday,” Coulter said.
Coulter was no stranger to the car, since he installed the new body and set it up for Goggin in April, but the car never made it to the track.
“I picked it up Thursday night, rescaled it, made a few changes and it was ready to go,” Coulter said.
However, he did find something wrong on the first lap of his heat race Saturday when he didn’t make it out of the first turn.
“It felt like the back brakes locked up,” said Coulter. “I drove it around the pits, did a couple of brake checks and they seem to free up. They worked the rest of the night.”
Coulter won to ‘B’ main to earn the 16th starting position for the 20-car Outhouse memorial field.
Chatham’s Louis Clements led the first four laps but hit the wall on lap five after being passed by Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith, ending his night.
Smith led seven laps before Merlin’s Jeff Daniels took the lead on lap 12.
Coulter, meanwhile, methodically worked his way through the field, moving into the top five on lap eight.
He ran fourth for three laps and moved into third behind Daniels and Smith on lap 14.
“I figured around lap 15 or 16, we had a shot at winning,” Coulter said, as he passed Smith for second on lap 16 and chased Daniels for the next four circuits.
Coulter was scored as the leader as got by Daniels before the caution came out on lap 20.
As the field was coming around to take the green for the restart, Daniels came out of turn two and made a sharp turn onto the infield.
“Broke a bolt off the ball joint,” Daniels said. “It was good it happened then because if happened under green, I probably would have slammed into the wall.”
Coulter led the final five laps for a dramatic victorious return to the Modified class.
Merlin’s Joe Brosseau, who won his heat and the dash, finished second, followed by Leamington’s Joel Dick, Smith and points leader Darryl Hoekstra of Chatham.
Daniels was credited with a 13th-place finish.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Daniels after he represented all drivers by taking a tribute lap before the race program in memory of his long-time friend Bernie Rombouts, who passed away Friday.
He had a special ‘In Loving Memory of Papa Bear’ printed on his frame in honour of Rombouts.
“I really wanted to win it for him,” Daniels said.
“It was probably the worst one to lose, but at least Justin pulled it off,” Daniels said Coulter, another of his mentors.
“He does most of the set up on my car, he’s helped me out a lot, so it means a lot that he won,” Daniels declared.
Had he not had problems, could Daniels have held off Coulter?
“It’s hard to say, but I was going to give it all I had,” he said.
“But he was fast, I think he was basically just showing the student who the teacher was,” Daniels said laughing.
Coulter also had a laugh about the teacher-student reference.
“It’s funny the way it happened because I’ve been working with Jeff on his set-up all season.
“The high side was working and no one else was running up there so it was open … I think I would have got around him either way,” Coulter said.
He said the experience he’s gained driving State-side in the Late Model class was the reason he was able to come into South Buxton and steal a checkered flag from the Modified veterans.
“I’ve been learning to keep the car straight, it doesn’t seem like you’re going faster because you’re not slinging the car out there like some guys do,” Coulter said.
“I think that’s what helped me tonight, trying to keep the car as straight as possible.”
Coulter expects to be back at South Buxton in the Modified for the rest of the season when there isn’t a conflict with his Late Model ride.
Vanderiviere adds Len Bryden trophy to son’s collection
Cole Vanderiviere has another trophy.
And father Eren hopes to have one more for his son next month.
Vanderiviere captured his second straight Len Bryden memorial race for the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks -and this year there was a trophy to go along with his win.
“This is going in my son’s room … he thinks they’re all his anyways,” Vanderiviere told the audience in his Winner’s Circle interview.
“It’s a special race and it nice to be a part of history to win a race for a man who did so much for the track,” Vanderiviere said of Len Bryden, the former track owner from 1981-91 and ‘93 along with is wife Peggy.
Checkered flags and trophies and becoming commonplace for the Merlin driver.
Saturday’s win was his second straight and seventh in 11 Sport Stock features this season. He won eight of 16 last year.
His third three-for-three sweep of the season gives him 19 checkered flags, three more than he collected in all of 2012 (last year, the heat winner advanced directly to the feature and did not race in the crack-the-whip, so three-for-threes were not possible in the class).
He is the two-time division points champion and has won back-to-back mid-season championship races.
The only trophy missing off his son’s shelf is the season championship race hardware.
“Louis (Clements) won the mid-season, championship race and points and Eric (Vanderiviere) did the same thing, it would be nice to get that under my belt this year,” said Vanderiviere.
Saturday’s win leaves Vanderiviere with an 81-point lead over Merlin’s Steve Shaw with just four points nights remaining, including the Sept. 7 championship night.
“Just try and take the checkered flags, and get a top three (feature finish) every night,” Vanderiviere said of his goal down the stretch.
“We just want to be there at the end of every race, take care of the equipment and we should be able to seal another (points) championship.”
Vanderiviere was in championship form Saturday, starting in the third row of the 20-lap Bryden memorial and moving up to second behind Shaw after just three laps.
Two laps later, he got a good run on a restart, won the drag race with Shaw onto the straightaway and led the final 15 laps.
Vanderiviere said he was happy Shaw picked the high side for the pivotal lap-five restart because “it was a little rougher up on the high side of (turns) one and two.
“We both drove in pretty hard, we went in the corner side-by-side but I think those bumps up top upset his car just a little bit for me to take the lead,” he said.
Vanderiviere maintained a comfortable lead until the final caution fell with four to go, setting up a single-file restart giving Shaw one final chance.
But in the laps leading up to the caution, Shaw’s right rear tire was going down and when the green waved, he quickly fell off the pace and exited with three laps to go while Vanderiviere motored on to the win.
Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse finished second but was disqualified when his car failed post-race inspection.
Harrow’s Patrick Lajeunesse remained in third place, as positions do not move up in case of a disqualification, contrary to the original report.
Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon was fourth and Wallaceburg’s Gary Vyse fifth.
Shaw, who has the other four feature wins in the class, finished 11th.
Kingsville’s Rob Young won the other heat race.
DeSerrano calls Cory’s memorial win ‘most exciting’ of them all
Denis DeSerrano has won three championship races, two points titles and more than 30 feature races over his career in South Buxton’s four-cylinder classes.
But Saturday’s feature win may have been the most special.
“I’m probably more excited to win this one than any of the others,” said DeSerrano, after accepting the fifth Cory Schives memorial trophy for the Tirecraft Mini-Mods.
“I’ve been trying for years and I finally pulled it off.”
The race is held in memory of Cory Schives, who lost his long battle with cancer at the age of 17 on June 8, 2009.
Schives was a member of the Jones racing team crew, namely his best friend Shawn Jones.
And the Jones’ race team won the first four Schives’ memorials - Nate McNally in 2009 and 2010, Shawn Jones in 2011 and Trevor Jones last year.
While DeSerrano is the first non-Jones race team member to win the Schives memorial, the Cottam driver is very close to the Blenheim racing family.
“I get along with all of them, done some door-to-door racing with them and it’s always good, clean racing and a lot of fun,” he said of racing with the Jones’ brothers.
And the race teams have worked together in the pits.
“If they need something, I’m there in a heartbeat,” DeSerrano said, “and they’ve helped me over the years too.”
DeSerrano started in the third row and moved into third behind Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. and Dresden’s Matt Sorrell on lap seven.
He got by Sorrell for second on lap 12 and took the lead from Shaw Jr. after a restart on lap 15 and led the final five laps for his sixth feature win of the season.
“That was good racing,” DeSerrano said of his battle with Shaw Jr.
“He gave me room, I gave him room, as far as I’m concerned, it was good clean racing.”
For Shaw Jr., it was his second straight runner-up finish and third in the last four race nights.
Sorrell hung on to finish third followed by Merlin’s Jody Mason and Blenheim’s Elliot Wilton.
Jones was running fifth when he was involved in the caution with five to go.
He had to restart at the back and made his way through traffic for an eighth-place finish.
DeSerrano won his heat and crack-the-whip for his fourth three-for-three night of the season, giving him a track-leading 20 checkered flags on the season.
Shaw finished second to DeSerrano in both preliminary races as well as the feature.
Elliot picked up his first career checkered flag in the third heat race while Mason won the other heat.
- A ceremony was held before the features as the starting fields for all four memorial races came on the track in a missing man formation, leaving the pole position open in memory of each race’s namesake. The track paid tribute to Gord DeWael, Brian Outhouse, Cory Schives and Len Bryden with brief comments and a balloon release. Family members presented trophies to the memorial race winners.
- And just as Bernie would have wanted it, his sisters - Anne and Sue Rombouts and Rita Van Hal - were all at the track on Saturday performing their duties. A brief tribute to Bernie, including Jeff Daniels’ memorial lap, preceded the racing.
- Chris Ellerbeck of Chatham picked up his first feature win in the Bomber class in just his third night of racing. Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner, who won the three previous features, finished second followed by Blenheim drivers Shawn Hope, Jeff Schives (Cory’s brother) and Evan Bonner. Bobby Leveille of Shrewsbury won the heat.
- Along with Vanderiviere and DeSerrano, the other two division leaders padded their points leads. Hoekstra is 77 points ahead of Dick, who moved into second ahead of Chatham’s Brian Speelman, who did not start the feature. Gregg Haskell, who finished 10th in the Late Model feature while driving Mike Dale’s ‘00′, gained two points on Glassford to pad his lead to 85.
- For the second time, the 50-50 winner went to a member of the DeWael family on memorial night. Gloria Dorner, whose brother Rick is married to Linda (Gord DeWael’s sister) won the $1,178.50 draw from the Kool Stuff women’s slo-pitch team. On July 6 when memorial night was rained out after five races, Carol Toth, another of Gord’s sister, won the 50-50.
- Aiden Maynard won the bicycle in the Junior Fan Club draw, donated by Scott, Lisa and Jeff Schives in memory of Cory. Shaytan Wauthier won the Schives-Haskell Race Team framed photo.
- The Junior Fan Club party takes place this Saturday, starting at 3 p.m.