Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. won his first career feature race in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods on Saturday night.
Shaw Jr. started third and ran third until lap 14 when he took the lead.
Point Standings Updated, See Track Stats
Cottam’s Rob Quick had just taken the lead after running second for the first 13 laps but when he moved up the track to block Denis DeSerrano in turn two, Shaw dove to the bottom and got by both Cottam drivers and led the final six laps to take the checkered.
It was Shaw Jr.’s first feature win since August, 2006 in the Sport Stocks. He also won two features in the former Econo class.
His father - Steve Shaw - wasn’t as fortunate as Senior led the first 14 laps of the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature when pitted for a flat tire, allowing Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere to take the lead as he won his third straight and track-leading eight feature win of the season.
Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra continued his torrid second half by leading all 25 laps for his second Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified feature win of the season.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford led all 15 laps, holding off Chatham’s Brad Authier, to win his sixth Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Model feature in the last seven weeks, and his seventh overall.
Shawn Hope picked up his first career win in the Bomber class, getting by Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck on the final lap.
James MacDonald ApexOne Photos (click on photos for larger views).
Shaw Jr. holds off veteran Cottam boys for exciting victory
Steve Shaw Jr. had a feeling something was going to happen.
Other drivers running up front had the feeling something was going to happen.
Fans in the grandstand and pits had a feeling something was going to happen.
“They tend to bump and bang a lot when they’re running around each other, I was trying to stay close in case an opportunity opened, and it did,” Shaw Jr. said of his pass for the lead on lap 14 of the Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature.
‘They’ being veteran Cottam drivers Denis DeSerrano and Rob Quick, who have a history with each other over their years competing at South Buxton.
DeSerrano led the first 12 laps before Quick took the lead on lap 13.
As they headed through turns one and two, Quick moved up the track to take away DeSerrano’s line, but the strategy backfired when Shaw Jr. shot underneath to get by both drivers to take the lead.
“I don’t know exactly what happened but they both lost a lot of momentum,” Shaw Jr. said of the incident between Quick and DeSerrano.
But Shaw Jr. still had five and-a-half laps to go with the two veteran drivers on his back bumper.
“Use up the track,” Shaw Jr. described his strategy once in front.
“My car was working really good on the bottom, so I knew if I could get down low going in (the corners) and shoot to the top to take their line away, there was a good chance I could hold them off.”
DeSerrano had a couple of good runs on the outside but couldn’t get around Shaw Jr., settling for a second-place finish, followed by Quick, and rookie drivers Matt Sorrell of Dresden and Elliot Wilton of Blenheim.
“Finally!” Shaw yelled as he climbed on the roof of his No. 17 mini-mod in the Winner’s Circle.
“It’s a great feeling, it’s been seven years since my last win, my dad (Steve Shaw) and Colin (Sherrah) helped me build this car over the winter, we put in a lot of time and effort, and it paid off tonight,” he said.
Shaw said his turnaround came at mid-season when he got his new engine.
“I have to thank Ken Walker at Walker Automotive, he built the bottom end for me and Len Couvillon did the top end and this thing’s a rocket!” he declared.
Shaw’s win comes on the heels of two straight second-place finishes and three in the last four weeks.
“They were good second place finishes,” said Shaw Jr., who was not getting discouraged with his close calls.
“We only finished in the top-five four times last year and it seems we’ve finished in the top-five every night this year,” said Shaw, who has 10 top-fives in 13 features, with 11th his lowest finish.
Shaw is second in the standings, 63 points behind DeSerrano with just three points nights left including the Sept. 7 championship night for the mini-mods.
“He has a pretty good gap on me but if he breaks early in a feature, I can close up a lot if I can keep finishing strong,” he said.
DeSerrano won the heat and crack-the whip, just missing is fifth three-for-three sweep of the season. He leads all drivers with 22 checkereds.
Quick was second and Shaw third to DeSerrano in both races.
Chatham’s Rick Balasin, third in points, won the other heat. Balasin, however, is 127 points behind Shaw.
Hoekstra gives family another checkered night out
Darryl Hoekstra is probably looking into a family ticket package for the rest of the season.
His wife Sarah, their 10-month-old daughter Emma and Hoekstra’s stepchildren Owen and Kyran Barr were all at the track together for the second time this season.
The first time was July 20, when Hoekstra won his first feature of the season.
“They’ve been my good luck charms,” Hoekstra said after winning his second feature on Saturday.
If Hoekstra goes on to win the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified points championship, Saturday’s win may be the signature moment.
The 31-year-old Chatham driver led all 25 laps to take the checkered and coupled with Joel Dick’s 14th-place finish, Hoekstra padded his lead to 102 points with four race nights remaining, including the Sept. 21 championship night.
Hoekstra credited his crew - and South Buxton’s track crew - for the win.
“The car was working good, the guys did a great job making a few adjustments to put a little drive in it and it was really hooked up,” he said of his green-to-checkered run.
“The track was in great shape tonight … it had a couple ruts … but it was smooth, a beautiful track, they did a great job,” Hoekstra said.
“The car handled really well, it didn’t seem like there was anything we could do wrong,” he summed up his dominating performance.
Hoekstra started on the front row beside Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr., the two-time reigning division champion, for the 25-lap feature.
Hoekstra won the drag race out of turn two and never trailed.
Dale Jr. benefited from four cautions to make up ground but Hoekstra never flinched on the three double-files and then a single-file restart with four laps to go.
“I watched the other races and everyone was winning up top,” said Hoekstra, who went to school watching the three features leading up to the Modifieds and rode the high lane to the Winner’s Circle.
Dale Jr. was the runner-up while Merlin’s Brad McLeod finished third, followed by Merlin’s Jeff Daniels and Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith to round out the top five.
McLeod won his heat for his first checkered of the season.
Dale Jr., who won his heat and the dash, also finished second to Hoekstra in his July 20 feature win.
It was one week earlier when Hoekstra took the points lead from Chatham’s Brian Speelman and has run away from the pack in a month’s time.
“Our luck’s finally turned around,” said Hoekstra.
“We’ve had a top-three … top-five car all year, but we’ve had flat tires running second and got put in the wall the fifth night,” said Hoekstra, who put his No. 36D number on his father Eugene’s No. 36 car in June to run for points.
“We’re not breaking, and it’s about time we got a little luck,” added Hoekstra, who has five second-place feature finishes and nine top-fives in 12 features.
“That would be awesome to win the points for the Hoekstra race team … and it would be nice to get Dad a feature win this season too,” he said of his father Eugene, an eight-time track champion who returned to South Buxton after a 15-year-hiatus this season.
Vanderiviere lets the air out of Shaw family’s twin-win bid
While lap 14 was pivotal in Steve Shaw Jr.’s Mini-Mod win, coincidently lap 14 was also the turning point for Shaw Jr.’s father in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature.
But Steve Shaw’s luck went in the other direction.
The senior Shaw, a five-time track champion with 109 career feature wins, led the first 14 laps on Saturday before his left rear tire went flat, bringing out a caution.
He was able to get back on the track for the restart and worked his way back to an eighth-place finish.
“At least he made tonight worthwhile,” Shaw smiled about his son’s victory.
“I thought we had it, too,” he added.
Instead, Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere won his third straight and track-leading eighth feature as he took the lead after Shaw’s misfortune.
Vanderiviere said Shaw had the winning car.
“He was a little better than me tonight, too bad he got the flat tire because it probably would have been his race,” Vanderiviere said.
“But it worked out in the end for us,” Vanderiviere added.
He admitted there was unintentional contact on a restart three laps earlier that caused Shaw’s tire to go down.
“There was a little bit of contact, nothing serious … rubbing’s racing,” Vanderiviere said.
Shaw said he was waiting for the cars to double up for the restart with 10 laps to go, “but we weren’t told to double up, we got in the firebox and Eren shot up beside me got into my fender and the left rear went flat.”
The flat tire all but took the air out of any hopes Shaw still had of catching Vanderiviere, whose lead is up to 102 points with three race nights remaining.
Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon finished second, followed by Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse, Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse and Harrow’s Patrick Lajeunesse.
Shaw was going for a three-for-three night after winning his heat the crack-the-whip.
Chatham’s Jason Fox picked up his first checkered of the season in his heat.
Vanderiviere’s feature win tied his total from last year, and his 20th checkered flag is four more than his 2012 total.
“My goal was to get one feature win and one more checkered flag than last year, so we’re well on out way to doing that,” he said.
Glassford back on the winning track with seventh Late Model victory
The win may have come one week too late, but it was still a satisfying night Saturday for Dale Glassford.
The Ridgetown driver won his sixth feature race in the last seven race nights in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models.
The ‘one that got away’ came last Saturday when a blown distributor cap led to an early DNF and a 12th-place finish in the first Gord DeWael memorial race.
“Man, that’s the one race we really wanted to win and to have something break was pretty disappointing,” Glassford looked back at the memorial race, which was won by Blenheim’s Andrew Reaume.
But as he has done all year, Glassford put the previous week’s disappointment out of his mind and refocused on winning the next race.
And he led all 15 laps in that ‘next race’ for his division leading seventh feature win and 13th overall checkered flag of the season.
“Just win every night,” Glassford said of his goal as the season winds down, as managed to reduce the deficit to 59 points behind leader Gregg Haskell, of Chatham, with four nights remaining in the season.
But Glassford realizes that unless Haskell sits out a feature, it is a big hill to climb.
“It’s like I was telling my son Nick,” Glassford said of his son, who races go-carts in Tilbury, “he was getting all wrapped up in points and I had to tell him to just treat every night like a separate night.
“And that’s the same with is, we just want to do well every race night.”
Glassford started on the front row of the nine-car feature along side his brother Mark Glassford, of Goderich, who made his season debut subbing for Sarnia’s Don Douglas.
Dale grabbed the lead off the green and held off a strong challenge from Chatham’s Brad Authier the entire race.
Glassford said any of the top five could have won but he was fortunate to start on the front row.
“Tonight was a night that whoever got out front was probably going to win,” Glassford said.
“We didn’t make any mistakes, that was the main thing.”
Glassford was happy to renew his rivalry with Authier, as the two drivers have had some unpleasant moments over the last few years but Saturday was good, clean racing.
“I knew he was fast from his dash win,” Glassford said of Authier.
“He could have won tonight if it turned out to be different and he had gotten out front.”
Glassford said because Authier was running so well on the bottom, he chose the low line for the double-file restart with seven laps to go.
“The high side was the place to run and that’s where whoever was going to win would have to run, but you never know on these restarts,” he said.
“If someone gets the right jump and gets on the inside of you, they’ll get by you.
“I was lucky to keep the lead on the previous restart, so I thought I’d better not take a chance on that next one and chose the bottom to make sure I got a good start.”
Authier finished in a season-best second, followed by Chatham’s Jim Jones, Mark Glassford and Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis.
Glassford was third in the heat, won by Lewis, and in the dash.
Authier has been plagued by motor issues all season as his dash win earlier in the night was the first checkered flag of the season for the eight-time champion.
“He needed it,” Glassford said of Authier’s best night of the season.
“We’ve all had bad luck but he’s had about the worst.”
Lewis won the heat.
- The ‘Bad Brads’ have been two of the track’s most dominate drivers for close to three decades but both have run limited schedules this season - Brad McLeod waiting for his engine and Brad Authier for repairs to his engines. It was almost fitting that both drivers won checkereds on Saturday, McLeod winning his Modified heat for the second week in a row and Authier the Late Model dash. It was McLeod’s second checkered of the season and Authier his first.
The Blenheim Blades’ training camp starts Monday and Shawn Hope got an early start in his contact drills. Hope, a feisty forward who doesn’t back down from the oppositions’ biggest foes, used a little body contact to muscle his way past Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck on the final lap of the Bomber feature. Ellerbeck didn’t back down as he used his demolition experience to try to get back at Hope but the Blenheim native won the dash to the checkered. Hope’s Blades’ teammate Dylan Bonner, a four-time feature winner this season, finished fifth.
- Hope becomes the first member of the Blenheim brothers to win a feature. His older brothers Brett and Kyle run in the Mini-Mods. Brett will be returning to Buffalo State University for this second year with the Bengals’ hockey team while Kyle leaves Aug. 28 for the Owen Sound Attack’s OHL training camp before going to Vancouver the first week of September for the Canucks’ prospects camp.
- Paul Trepanier made his debut in the No. 78 Late Model, which Chatham’s Jason Haskell drove twice.
- It looked like Gregg Haskell’s car, but the defending Late Model champion had his RH21 and sponsors on Brent Colby’s No. 7C. Haskell’s engine expired in the DeWael memorial and Colby gave up his car so Haskell could run for points.
- Veteran Curtis Coulter of Leamington returned to racing, one week after son Justin won the Brian Outhouse memorial feature in his first time in a modified car in two years. In Saturday’s feature, Curtis finished 15th and Justin 16th as they were involved in the same incident after a car spun in front of them in turn 4.
- The irony of the DeSerrano-Quick incident on lap 14 of the feature, up to that point the two drivers gave the fans a great show with good, hard clean racing.
- Jay Dillon won the 50-50 draw from the Merlin St. Patrick Parish, worth $692.50.
- This Saturday will be Autism Awareness Night.