Glenn Styres has a collection of trophies and checkered flags from his many trips to South Buxton Raceway over the last 12 years.
But one thing was missing from his mantelpiece - a feature win trophy.
The owner of Ohsweken Speedway finally conquered South Buxton on Saturday night with his first career feature win on the 3/8th-mile ‘D-shaped’ oval in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 fans for the Southern Ontario Sprints.
“This track is so difficult to drive, I told my crew chief (Steve Moulton) last night, I was practising in my mind how I was going to run, and it’s that corner that hassles you every time you come here,” Styres said, pointing to turn four and the entrance to the sweeping front stretch of the ‘D.’
“Tonight, Steve had it set up right, the car was sweet to drive,” Styres said.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne Photo
The SOS points leader started inside on the second row and passed Ridgetown’s Adam West for second on lap five and began his chase of St. Thomas’s Justin Martin, who led from the drop of the green.
Styres was making up ground on the outside when the race’s only caution waved on lap 12 for Hamilton’s Frank Baranowski, who went off the track between turns one and two.
After the restart, Styres continued to stalk Martin on the high side and needed just four laps to take the lead on the back straightaway and drove away over the final nine circuits for his first SOS win of the year.
“I was aiming at that light (turn four) and I’d catch the cushion up there and just ride it out around the ‘D,’ ” Styres described how he chased down Martin.
“I’m used to running on the outside, it was pretty sticky up there, but I’ll tell you, the car was pretty good everywhere,” said Styres.
“I don’t know what kind of lead I had,” he continued, “but it was fun out here tonight … we had a great track, it was amazing.”
Martin said he didn’t know how big of a lead he had over Styres when the caution waved, which was timely as the leaders were just about to catch the tail end of the field.
“I didn’t hear anybody,” Martin said of his lead.
“The caution gave us a clean track with no one in front of us, but I just couldn’t hold on.
“You have to give him credit,” Martin said of Styres.
“He drove the wheels off that thing, he earned it tonight.”
It was virtually a photo finish for third as Brantford’s Mitch Brown was given the position over Tilbury’s Kyle Patrick.
Brown owned the third spot since lap eight before Patrick made a pass on the final lap.
But as they came across the line side-by-side, Brown got a run on the inside and was awarded the position by the South Buxton track scorers.
“I screwed up,” Brown said about losing the position briefly to Patrick.
“I thought I had something for them the first 12-13 laps but the car was never the same after the caution,” he said.
Patrick put up a mild protest before accepting his fourth-place finish.
“I thought I had him, I didn’t see him at the end,” Patrick said.
“It was probably my error, I was coming through three and four and let it float up to the high side and obviously he had a good run off the bottom and was able to motor up beside me.
“I guess if I would have got it to the bottom and shut the door and it wouldn’t be an issue,” he said.
Shawn Sliter, of Port Colborne, rounded out the top five as all 14 starters finished the 25-lap feature.
Styres added to his heat-race checkered flag collection by leading all eight laps of the second heat while Patrick passed Sutton’s Bob Crawford on lap three and led the final five circuits to win the first heat.
The SOS will be in Brighton this Saturday before returning to South Buxton on Saturday, Aug. 2.