Matt Sorrell, in just his fifth night of racing, led the final 11 circuits to win the Tirecraft Mini-Mod feature on Saturday night at South Buxton Raceway.
The 26-year-old Dresden driver, who had raced since his go-cart days in his youth, picked up his first checkered flag in a heat race earlier in the night.
Merlin’s Steve Shaw won his third Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature in four race nights, taking advantage of a caution with five laps to go and took the lead from Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere a lap later.
Charing Cross’s Chris Ross completed a three-for-three sweep of the UMP Late Models for the second straight race night.
Merlin’s Joe Brosseau had to come from the back twice to win a crash-filled Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds feature.
Tilbury’s Dan Sheehan won the Bombers feature in his first night racing in the series.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s pre-race pig roast raised $950 while another $315 was collected at the raffle table, bringing the three-week total to $3,881 in the campaign, orchestrated by junior fan club co-ordinator Amy Dale and race director Doug Leonard, to raise funds to pay for damages incurred from the May 27 vandalism spree and to pay for an enhanced security camera system.
Two weekends ago, $2,615.50 was raised at a car wash, drivers passing the helmet during the races and other donations including Amy Finn, the 50-50 winner on May 25, donating half of her winnings.
Amy Dale posted this thank you on the ‘Repairing South Buxton” Facebook page.
“Doug Leonard and I can not thank everyone enough for all their help and donations to help us raise almost $3,900 towards repairing the damage done by the vandals and purchasing a new security system for the track. We have been completely amazed by the support and how the SBR race team came together for the cause. We had so much fun at the car wash and the pig roast. Thanks again to everyone for everything.”
Rookie Sorrell ‘back home’ in SBR’s Winner’s Circle
Matt Sorrell didn’t need directions to the Winner’s Circle.
The rookie driver has been there many times before - even though Saturday’s visit came in just his fifth night of his racing career.
“It felt good going back to victory lane because I remember being there a lot with my step dad … it brought back some good memories,” the 26-year-old Sorrell said.
Sorrell was a young fan in the mid-1990s when his stepfather Jim Hereygers was one of the top drivers in the Sport Stocks class, winning the 1995 points title, championship races in ‘94 and ‘95 and several feature races in his career.
“I grew up out here, watching dad race every Saturday and at the Ridge on Sundays … I know all about the grind of racing,” Sorrell said.
His only previous driving experience was in go-carts in Leamington when he was 9-10 years old, although he rode four-wheelers and dirt bikes his whole life.
He got back into racing the last five years working on Tyler Hendricks’ pit crew for his asphalt late model and modified cars at Delaware Speedway.
“I thought I should get in on a little bit of the fun,” Sorrell said about getting behind the wheel.
“I really love racing and I like the dirt a little bit better, growing up around it. And I like the mini-mods, it’s economical and a lot of fun.”
Sorrell admitted he had no inclination going into Saturday that he would wind up in the Winner’s Circle.
He finished eighth in his first two features before posting 11th and 17th place finishes in the ensuing weeks. His best preliminary race finish was a third in a May 11 heat.
“We had some electronic and fuel issues, and it took some time to learn the set up and for me to get used to the track, but the car really started working well a couple of weeks ago,” Sorrell said.
“But I didn’t think we were going to come out here tonight and get two firsts,” he said.
Sorrell took advantage of lap traffic to pass Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. in the last turn to win the heat race earlier in the night for his first checkered flag.
Ironically, he passed Shaw Jr. for the lead nine laps into the feature, then held off the veteran Denis DeSerrano, a three-time feature winner already this season, for three laps and Blenheim’s Trevor Jones over the final five laps to take the checkered flag.
“When he got beside me on that (lap 12) restart, I knew I had to get a good run off him because he’s got a strong car and he’s a veteran out here,” Sorrell about battling DeSerrano.
And meaning no disrespect, Sorrell was glad to see the 15-year-old Jones behind him for the final restart with three to go.
“I was nervous until the 27T (Jones) came up beside me, I was actually relieved it wasn’t Denis,” Sorrell said, “because I knew he’d get a run on me.
“I just wanted to make sure I hit my marks those last laps, so I went slower to go faster and smoother.”
Jones hung on for a season-high second place finish, while Shaw passed DeSerrano for third in the late laps and Blenheim’s Elliott Wilton, another rookie, rounded out the top five.
Sorrell credited his crew of Caleb Kemp and stepbrother Marshall Hereygers, Cottam driver Rob Quick and P.J. Wolters for their work on the engine, plus Wallaceburg Modified driver Drew Smith for helping set up the car.
“We’ve come long way since opening night,” Sorrell said.
“We felt the only way for us to go was up, and now that we’re up here, it’s going to take a lot more hard work to stay up here.”
Quick won his heat and the crack-the-whip earlier in the night but suffered mechanical issues and finished 19th in the 20-car feature.
DeSerrano won the other heat, giving him 10 checkered flags in 15 races.
Blenheim’s Brett Hope won the ‘B’ main as the top-five finishers in the nine-car field transferred to the feature.
Brosseau fulfills promise to his children with feature win
Joe Brosseau promised his children a perfect three-for-three night in Saturday’s Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified class at South Buxton Raceway.
He came close.
The Merlin driver won his first feature race since Sept. 3, 2011, after winning the dash and finishing second in his heat earlier in the night.
“We were definitely due for a win,” Brosseau said after winning the crash-filled feature despite going to the back twice while leading.
“I promised them I’d win the feature,” he said of his children Mitchell 9, Madison 6, Connor 3.
“I actually said I’d go three-for-three and almost did,” he laughed.
“But after those first two races, I had a good feeling going into the feature.
“We’re starting to figure out this new car … I think we might be on to something,” Brosseau declared.
After his dash win, the invert was six, which put the three-time track champ on the outside of row three for the 25-lap feature.
He quickly motored through the field and took the lead on lap three, only to spin out on his own between turns three and four to bring out the first of 11 cautions.
“Just overdrove it,” he explained, “we’ve been having some power steering issues that we have to try and figure out this week.”
After restarting at the back, Brosseau sliced his way through the field to regain the lead on lap nine, only to run into more trouble when trouble as he tangled with Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith while battling for the lead, sending both to the back.
Brosseau again stormed through the field, moving into third on lap 15 and passed Merlin’s Jeff Daniels for second one lap later.
Chatham’s Brian Speelman and Brosseau drove door-to-door for two laps before making contact coming out of turn four.
Brosseau kept going while Speelman stopped on the apron just past the start-finish line, bringing out the caution.
“I didn’t know what they were going to call, I figured they’d send me to back to see if I could do it one more time,” Brosseau said.
However, race officials allowed him to keep his position while sending an incensed Speelman to the back with four laps to go.
“I was on the bottom and I slid up a little bit, and he was probably trying to pinch me down, from what I was told, trying to hold me back,” Brosseau described the incident.
“I believe my right rear climbed his left front and sent me in the air and took him with me.
“I actually thought we would have cut the tire, I was surprised we didn’t get a flat out of that.”
Restarting in second with four to go was Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra, who coincidently was involved in a crash with Brosseau while battling for the lead midway through the May 25 feature, ending his night.
The caution flag waved three more times before they finally completed the final four laps, as Hoekstra was not able to catch up to Brosseau to steal the win.
Hoekstra, third in points going into Saturday, taped his No. 36D on his father Eugene’s car since his own machine was damaged so severely from the previous accident, which occurred on the same spot on the track as Saturday’s incident between Brosseau and Speelman.
“Me and turn four ain’t getting along,” Brosseau admitted. “We have to try and figure how out to get a little more side-bite to keep that thing from drifting up like that, so that’s our game plan for this week.”
Daniels, Speelman and Chatham’s Eric Vanderiviere rounded out the top five.
Speelman leads Hoekstra by five points atop the standings, as both drivers won their heat races to go along with their top-four feature finishes.
Brosseau was 14th in the standings going into the night after missing the May 18 race night recovering from injuries incurred in a feature wreck earlier in the year.
Shaw throws caution to the wind for third Sport Stocks feature win
For the second time this season, Steve Shaw all but conceded a Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature race to fellow Merlin driver Eren Vanderiviere.
But just like the May 18 feature, it was Shaw who took the late lead and made the hard left into the Winner’s Circle.
“If it had stayed green, he’d have won,” Shaw said of Vanderiviere, who led from the drop of the green until a restart after a caution with five laps to go.
Shaw gained seven positions to move into second after a restart from a lap seven multi-car incident but was not able to close the gap on Vanderiviere as the laps clicked off.
But everything changed when the caution flew on lap 15 for Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon, whose car stopped on the front stretch and couldn’t make it to the exit road.
The caution set up a double-file restart - one lap later and it would been single file and advantage Vanderiviere.
The two-time reigning champion chose the bottom lane, which brought a big smile to Shaw who restarted on his preferred top side.
“I knew I had him right there,” Shaw said.
“He’s pretty committed to running the bottom, but I didn’t think there was really anything (traction) on the bottom or in the middle.
“When I got into (turn) one, I said to heck with it, I kept it up top and if I hit the wall coming two, I hit the wall … but I wasn’t letting off,” Shaw said, as his strategy worked, taking the lead for good on the straightaway.
The two made contact in turn four with two laps to go, with Shaw shouldering the blame in his Winner’s Circle.
“I’m glad we didn’t get another caution and had to go any longer, because when I got back to the pits, the tire was flat,” he said.
It was Shaw’s third win in four features, with Vanderiviere taking the other checkered on May 25.
Shaw, a six-time track champion, leads Vanderiviere, the two-time reigning division champion, by 12 points atop the standings. Vanderiviere won his heat while Shaw was fifth.
Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse, Kingsville’s Rob Young and Wheatley’s Steve Clements rounded out the top five.
Doris Lajeunesse was shaken up but not hurt when his car flipped over three times and landed on its wheels in turn three. He was running alone in second place on lap seven of the 20-lap race when he said the drive shaft broke, causing the car to go airborne.
LaSalle’s Bob Visnjic, who was running third, Harrow’s Patrick Lajeunesse and Windsor’s West Bertozzi were all knocked out of the race while trying to avoid Doris’s vehicle.
Doris Lajeunesse, third in points going into Saturday, had a strong night going as finished second in the heat and crack-the-whip preliminary races to Vanderiviere.
Ross completes second straight three-for-three Late Model sweep
There will be a new UMP Late Model feature winner this coming Saturday night.
And a new heat race winner … and a new dash winner.
All for the first time since the May 18 race date.
Chris Ross said in the Winner’s Circle he has a previous commitment this weekend and will be racing in the States the following weekend.
“I won’t be back here until the Gord DeWael race,” Ross said, looking ahead to the July 6 rescheduled memorial night at South Buxton.
That’s bitter sweet news to the rest of the UMP Late Model field, who are probably tired of seeing nothing but the rear of the 18R car disappearing in the distance as Ross won the feature, heat and dash races on Saturday for the second straight race night.
But at the same time, that’s one less car for the ever-shrinking class.
“I don’t know what the answer is at this point to regain the class,” said Ross, who won the 2003 points title and championship race before moving on to the Ohio Late Model circuit.
“It’s hard for a track to have two high dollar classes,” he said, in reference to the Modifieds’ growth in numbers and earnings in recent years.
Seven cars were on hand Saturday night, including Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis in his season debut.
When the checkered waved for Ross at the end of the 15-lap feature, second-place Brad Authier, of Chatham, and Lewis were the only other cars on the track.
Points leader Gregg Haskell of Chatham led five of the first six laps until his car snapped around in turn one while leading. He restarted fourth but pitted with five to go.
“Gregg was running good the first part, I didn’t know if I was going to catch him or not,” Ross said.
Authier and Ross put on a good battle for four laps - with Authier taking the lead on lap eight.
But Ross, who said he found traction at the top of turn four, used that momentum to finally break away from Authier and drive away to his second straight feature and sixth consecutive checkered flag.
“I had to run my butt off but he gave me a good run for my money for a few laps there,” Ross said of Authier.
“That was good close, clean racing.”
Chatham’s Erick Walker was credited with a fifth-place finish and Merlin’s Clinton Emery was sixth.
Chatham’s Jim Jones scratched from the feature after valve train issues parked him while leading halfway through the heat.
“There are some new guys out here who are learning, so hopefully by the end of the year, maybe the class will have the potential to be more racy,” Ross said.
Matt Sorrell will be the guest of Gary Patterson on That’s Sports tonight, between 6-7 p.m. on CKXS FM 99.1 in Wallaceburg/Dresden.
- Dan Sheenan, a former Comp 4 driver from Tilbury, returned from a five-year hiatus to win in his debut night in the Bomber class, the first checkered flag of his career. Sheehan said he was content to sit back in third and watch as Blenheim’s Jeff Schives and Ryan Bonner, who combined to win all three features and seven checkered flags in the class this season, battle door-to-door. “They were going hard into the (straightaway) turn, so I just waited for my opportunity when they drifted too high and just drove under them,” he said of his last lap pass for the win. Sheehan got out of racing to go back to school and decided to come back with the Bomber class this year and hopefully get back into the Mini-Mods next year.
- It was a hot time in the Mini-Mod feature and flames broke out under the hoods on the cars of Chatham drivers Jamie St. Pierre and Randy McKinlay while they were running the top five. Quick work, as always, by the track’s fire safety crew prevented serious damage to the cars. St. Pierre, whose incident came on the second lap, finished 20th while McKinlay went up in smoke 10 laps later and finished 14th.
- Jim Dale Jr.’s woes continued as he completed just two laps when his engine expired. On May 25, he lost the transmission on the first lap of the feature to end his night. And on May 18, he borrowed Shawn Jones’ car for the feature after his car broke down in the heat race. When someone mentioned to him after Saturday’s wreck fest that he was better off in the pits, he said, “right now, I’d be happy to be in a wreck, at least I’d be running!”
Cottam’s Tiffany Ellis won the second heat in the Sport Stocks for her second career checkered flag.
- Darryl Hoekstra and Windsor’s Dan McIntyre better be thinking of some nice Father’s Day gifts for their dads this Sunday, since Eugene Hoekstra and Emerson McIntyre both let their sons borrow their Modified cars to run for points on Saturday.
- Finally, a half-decent night for racing as fans shed the parkas and blankets for the first time. The sun popped out late in the afternoon and temperatures seemed to keep rising until darkness descended.
- Dennis Mayville, of Windsor, won the 50-50 draw, worth $683.50. Coincidently, Dennis was wearing a Detroit Lions’ NFL sweatshirt on a night in which the draw was conducted by the Chatham After Shock women’s travel football team.
- Winners of the Raffle Draw were Rai Ann McKinlay, Beth Clements, Lisa Clements, Holly Caron, Brad Kirkpatrick, Bob Visnjic, Spencer Smolders, Sarah McLeod, Tabatha Schives, Joe Levesque, Jeff DeWael and Amanda Bertozzi. If any of the winners did not claim their prizes, contact Amy Dale.
- The Martin brothers - Justin and James - from St. Thomas, took the wings off their sprints and performed several showcase laps to promote this coming Saturday’s Can-Am Sprint Car Championship, featuring the Ontario Topless Sprints and Michigan Traditional Sprints.
- The Patriots Canadian Mid-Season Championship comes to South Buxton the following Saturday night, June 22.
- Special prices are in effect for both shows, which include all of South Buxton’s regular classes..