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The two Tirecraft-sponsored divisions will take centre stage this coming Saturday night as they will crown their 2014 season champions.

Chatham’s John Pinsonneault won his car’s seventh Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature of the season on Saturday and moved into second in the division standings.

But that is as high as he can finish as Blenheim’s Trevor Jones clinched the points championship with his second-place feature finish.

Chatham’s Eren Vanderiviere will carry a 52-point lead over Merlin’s Steve Shaw into the final night of the Saturday’s Tirecraft Sport Stocks season.

Eren’s brother Eric led all 20 laps to win Saturday’s feature, his second of the year.

Pinsonneault rolls a seven while Jones locks up points title

John Pinsonneault had to overcome a pair of DNS (did not starts) to get back into the Tirecraft Mini-Mods points race.

But even with Saturday’s seventh feature win – six for Pinsonneault after substitute driver Tim Mackenzie won the ‘0’ car’s first feature – time has run out on their title hopes.

John Pinsonneault visits SBR flag girl Allie Massender in Victory Lane for his sixth time after winning Saturday's Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature.

John Pinsonneault visits SBR flag girl Allie Massender in Victory Lane for his sixth time after winning Saturday's Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature.

Pinsonneault jumped over Cottam’s Rob Quick into second place with one week left in the points race, but he trails Blenheim’s Trevor Jones by 113 points. The maximum a driver can accumulate is 105 points in a single race night.

Quick, who went into the night second in points, fell out of the feature early and finished 17th, dropping to third in the standings, 118 points behind Jones.

Jones has been on a tear the last six race nights, as he was 21 points behind Quick going into the Aug. 9 race night.

Jones won the Aug. 9 feature and since then won a second features and finished second in the other three – including Saturday to Pinsonneault.

The 16-year-old has won four heat races, including Saturday, and finished second and third in the other two over the last six weeks. He also won the dash on Saturday, as he has two seconds and a fourth in dashes over same time frame.

Jones is believed to be the track’s youngest division champion. His brother Shawn won 19 in 2010 when he won his first of three straight Comp 4/Mini-Mod championships.

Pinsonneault, however, has no regrets coming up short in the points standings.

“I’m a checkers or wreckers kind of guy, I don’t run for points, I either want to win or we’re in the wall,” he said.

Pinsonneault also won a heat race on Saturday as the team has 21 checkereds on the season.

He started Saturday’s feature on the outside pole but had to chase Kingsville’s Larry Hart for the first seven laps.

Pinsonneault got a run on Hart coming out of turn four and rode the bottom line around the ‘D’ to take the lead going into turn one.

“He’s got lots of motor,” Pinsonneault said of Hart. “I had to figure out (turns) one-and-two with that big hole and I squeezed him down a little bit so I could get good shot out of two, and it worked out.”

Four laps later, Jones also went to the bottom to take second away from Hart. The two touched tires going into turn one and Hart had to pull off on the infield, as his good run ended with a 14th-place finish. Hart won a heat race earlier in the night.

The race went caution-free after Pinsonneault took the lead, although he had his hands full at times dealing with lapped traffic.

However, he didn’t lose any ground as Jones and third-place Steve Shaw Jr. also had to work through the slower traffic, hurting their chances of gaining on the leader.

Dylan Wolters, the 14-year-old rookie from Kingsville, continued his late-season surge with a fourth-place finish – his third straight top-5. Merlin’s Jody Mason rounded out the top five.

With the points title out of the equation, Pinsonneault has set his sights on the two big prizes remaining.

“Next weekend should be a big,” he said, looking ahead to championship night.

“And the $1,000 to win in the Shootout is going to be big too, everybody’s pretty pleased they (SBR management) have come up with that kind of money.”

Eric Vanderiviere credits Midas co-worker Shaw for feature win

Eric Vanderiviere definitely had the Midas touch on Saturday.

And he credited his Midas Auto Service Exports’ co-worker – and second-place finisher – Steve Shaw for his successful run.

Vanderiviere started on the pole and led all 20 laps to win his second Tirecraft Sport Stocks feature of the season.

Shaw stopped at the start-finish line to congratulate his co-worker while Midas Chatham franchise owner Doug Tope and other staff members in the VIP tower as one of the night’s sponsors.

“I owe this one to Steve,” Vanderiviere told race fans.

Eric Vanderiviere is joined by his boss at Midas Doug Tope, along with Doug's son and grandson, after winning Saturday's Tirecraft Sport Stocks feature race.

Eric Vanderiviere is joined by his boss at Midas Doug Tope, along with Doug's son and grandson, after winning Saturday's Tirecraft Sport Stocks feature race. Midas was one of four co-sponsors for the night.

“I didn’t have anyone to put my rear gear together, Steve had one so we met at the shop today and he put it together for me,” Vanderiviere said.

“We were working on the car and I said, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we finished one-two,’ and it happened … and with Doug here too.

“It’s awesome to have a good boss and a good guy to sponsor us and help us out throughout the year,” Vanderiviere said of Tope’s assistance.

Even with Shaw’s help, Vanderiviere said he was shocked to win the feature.

“I got lucky by starting up front,” he said. “We still had a bad vibration, the drive shaft is all bent, I’m surprised it held up.”

Shaw moved into second on lap five and put the heat on the leader the rest of the way but couldn’t make the pass.

He also had his hands full trying to hold off ‘the other Vanderiviere – points leader Eren – before pulling away in the late laps for a comfortable second-place finish.

Kingsville’s Rob Young finished right behind Vanderiviere in fourth while Wallaceburg’s Gary Vyse was fifth.

Eren Vanderiviere’s points lead sits at 52 over Shaw as he takes aim at a fourth straight points championship.

If successful, it will extend the Vanderiviere family’s streak to five in a row, as Eric won the 2010 points and championship race before moving up to the Modifieds the following season for three years, returning to Sport Stocks this year.

Despite missing the first four race nights, Eric Vanderiviere enters championship night sixth in the standings and is looking at a third-row starting spot for the championship race.

Does he have a shot at winning the championship from the third row?

“I would never count me out,” he said frankly, before breaking into his signature smile.

“I hope my brother can actually win the championship race, he’s been fighting that for three years,” Eric said, as Eren will be looking for his first championship race win to go along with his points titles.

“But if he doesn’t, I hope I’m next in line,” Eric added.

Chatham’s Brent Colby and Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon won the heats while Young took the pursuit checkered.

Pit Stops

  • Saturday’s other co-sponsors were Scott Stanley State Farm Insurance, EnviroClean Car & Dog Wash and Pinwood Truck Parts.
  • The Junior Fan Club is having a big ‘Birthday Bash’ this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. before the races. All members of the JFC in attendance will get a gift and some cake.
  • Several South Buxton Raceway cars will be on display early Saturday afternoon at Splashfest at Merlin Kinsmen Park.
  • The Sport Stocks will run their full allotment of races this Saturday, since points are accumulated in the heat, pursuit and championship race. The Mini-Mods will run heats and championship race only – the dash won’t be needed since drivers will line-up for the championship race by points.
  • The Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds and Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models will run non-points races. An announcement on bringing back the Bombers for one final non-points night will come this week.
  • If anyone found a black cell phone on Saturday on the west grandstand side, please call the track (519-360-0371) as the young girl who lost the phone would dearly love to have it returned.
  • Buddy Maxie, of Kingsville, won the Blenheim-Kent Golden Eagles 50-50 draw, worth $584.50.
  • Saturday’s unseasonable cold temperature and strong winds led to the smallest crowd of the season but the drivers and track management appreciate the fans who did brave the elements, especially the diehards who stayed right to the end.

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