Rain postpones Modifieds, Late Models mid-seasons to July 19
Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere led all 20 laps to win his second straight and third Tirecraft Sport Stocks mid-season championship in four years on Saturday night.
Merlin’s Steve Shaw finished second and Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse third in a race slowed by just one caution.
Chatham’s John Pinsonneault survived two early race incidents to win the Tirecraft Mini-Mods mid-season championship.
Blenheim’s Jeff Schives led all 15 laps to win the Autotech Bombers mid-season crown.
The race night came to an abrupt end because of a 15-minute downpour after the Mini-Mods feature, postponing the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds and Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models mid-season championships to this coming Saturday.
Photos by James MacDonald ApexOne Photo (Click on Multimedia icon and Photos for all of James’ pictures from Saturday).
Vanderivere cleans up on Sport Stocks for second straight Mid-Season crown
Eren Vanderiviere and Steve Shaw have had some memorable run-ins over the last few years at South Buxton Raceway.
But after Saturday’s mid-season championship win by Vanderiviere, you have to wonder if the two Merlin drivers have signed a truce pact.
Vanderiviere led all 20 laps, with Shaw in tow from the drop of the green to the wave of the checkered, for his second straight and third Tirecraft Sport Stocks mid-season championship race victory in four years.
“It’s nice racing like that,” Vanderiviere said of the incident-free run.
“A couple of weeks ago we finished the other way around and raced pretty clean,” he said of Shaw’s feature win on June 28, which Vanderiviere finished second.
“Hopefully things will smooth out the rest of the year for us,” Vanderiviere said.
Shaw had a chance to wrestle the lead away from Vanderiviere after the race’s only caution on lap 12 as he pulled even on the outside on the backstretch but tucked behind the leader coming out of turn four.
“I couldn’t get in there,” Shaw said of his attempt.
“We’re running so close all the time, I thought I’d better stay back and be happy to finish second,” he added.
Shaw admitted he had transmission trouble in the heat and bent the right-front spindle in a multi-car accident in the pursuit.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to finish second in this,” he pointed to his car.
The win was Vanderiviere’s fourth - one more than Shaw for the division lead - and his second green-to-checkered win in the last four weeks.
“This is for my crew guys and all the guys all the shop, without their dedication, I wouldn’t be out here racing every (Saturday) night,” Vanderiviere said.
“This car was bad fast, we had a great engine from Mike Legue … I felt we had it tonight,” Vanderiviere said.
Vanderiviere, searching for a fourth straight division points title, admitted the car has been a little inconsistent through the first 11 weeks.
“We’ve been working hard, the car hasn’t been the way we’d like it, not like it was last year or the year before, but we’re getting back where we want it to be,” he said.
“Hopefully we’ll be back to take anther championship at the end of the year and get some more feature wins,” Vanderiviere.
And the big goal is to finally win a season championship race, as his bid the last two years ended with late incidents with Shaw, allowing Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon to win back-to-back years.
Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse, who won his first feature since 2010 last week, followed up with a strong third-place finish.
Lozon was fourth and Kingsville’s Rob Young finished fifth.
Cottam’s Tiffany Ellis won her heat race but a crash in the pursuit forced her to scratch from the mid-season championship.
Blenheim’s Brent Colby won the other heat, driving Bob Visnjic’s No. 95, while Vanderiviere won the pursuit as he is tied with Shaw with seven checkereds.
Pinsonneault apologetic for incidents, but not for Mini-Mod victory
While the Vanderiviere-Shaw rivalry shows signs of mellowing, a new family feud is brewing in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods.
The heat got turned up a few degrees in the rivalry between Chatham’s John Pinsonneault and the Hope brothers from Blenheim, Brett and Kyle in the Mini-Mods mid-season championship race.
Pinsonneault took the lead from Brett Hope as the leaders were coming around to complete lap six.
Hope got loose coming out of turn four as Pinsonneault sped by to take the lead.
Pinsonneault went to the back of the pack under caution, expecting a penalty for the incident.
However, race officials ruled Hope spun on his own and was put to the back while Pinsonneault was installed as the race leader.
Pinsonneault admitted he was surprised he got his spot back.
“I was right on his (Hope’s) bumper going into (turn) three and I did touch him,” Pinsonneault admitted.
“When I knew I touched him, I backed off. He was a little bit sideways and I think he thought I was going to walk around him, so he stayed on the gas and finished the job off,” Pinsonneault said of Hope’s spin.
It was the second incident involving the eventual race winner.
On lap three, Pinsonneault and Rob Quick made contact on the back stretch while they were battling for second behind Hope.
Quick was penalized and sent to the back for the restart and Pinsonneault got his second-place spot back.
“I caught in some mud coming out of the corner and the car got a little loose and I guess 18 (Quick) came up and hit me in the door,” Pinsonneault said.
“It wasn’t his fault, I was a little loose and it sent me to the infield. I was glad the car was all right and we were able to keep going.”
While he was apologetic to Hope for the race-changing incident, Pinsonneault was not apologizing for his victory.
“It was a tough one, but earlier in the year, calls weren’t going our way … tonight they happened to go our way, that kind of evens everything out.”
Hope, naturally, was upset with the decision to put him to the back, saying he was first hit between turns one and two on the fateful lap.
“I’m not happy with their decision, but it gives me even more motivation to win the points title,” Hope said.
Once in front, Pinsonneault had a scare as he almost hit the turn two wall on the restart after the Hope incident.
“I hit the same mud again as I did with the 18 (incident),” he said.
“I didn’t learn my lesson until about five laps before the end when I moved up a lane between one and two and the car was a lot better.
“We made some bad calls on the car and it was hard to drive,” he continued, “I don’t know far out I was, but I wasn’t hitting my marks at all.”
At one point, it looked like it was going to be a one-two team finish until Tim Mackenzie - who won the May 24 feature driving for Pinsonneault - was running second in Darryl Lucio’s car until something broke, bringing out the sixth and final caution with four scheduled laps to go.
A green-white-checkered was called because of the time limit as Pinsonneault held off several hard challengers to take the checkered.
Quick crossed the line second but was penalized a second time for jumping the last restart and was penalized two positions to a fourth-place finish.
Kingsville’s Larry Hart and Chatham’s Rick Balasin were elevated to second and third place finishes.
Hope worked his way back for a fifth-place finish.
Kyle Hope was running second on the last restart but his car stopped at the top of the track before the white flag flew and wound up 15th.
After the checkered flew, Blenheim’s Trevor Jones ended on his roof in turn one after apparent contact with Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. The two got together on lap 15 in turn four and were both sent to the back for their actions.
Brett Hope, Pinsonneault and Balasin won the heat races.
Schives runs away with Bomber mid-season trophy
Jeff Schives has crossed off another accomplishment from his racing bucket list.
Now, the Blenheim driver has his sights set on the Autotech Bombers points championship.
Schives led all 15 laps to win the Bombers mid-season championship race.
Last September, he won the season championship race, leaving just the points title in his sights before moving up to the Mini-Mod or Sport Stocks next year.
Knowing he was going to start on the outside pole for the mid-season championship, Schives drew up a battle plan for the heat race.
He wasn’t going to try to move up from his eighth-place starting position.
“I had a plan to stay at the back, just ride around in case something happened … I didn’t want to get wrecked,” he said of his heat race, where he gained one position to finish seventh.
“And I was trying out different lines, to see where the car worked,’ he added.
And what he learned from the heat race led to his dominating performance in the mid-season championship.
Schives took the lead from pole-sitter and points leader Chris Ellerbeck at the drop of the green and had a half-track lead before the race’s halfway mark.
The only caution came with two laps to go, erasing Schives’ huge advantage and moving the challengers to his back bumper for the green-white-checkered.
But Schives quickly regained his momentum and drove away from the pack to earn the first-place trophy.
“I was glad the caution out when it did because I didn’t know how far we were into the race or who was behind me or how close they were,” Schives said.
“Then when I found out we only had two laps to go and how big of a lead I had, I was wishing the caution hadn’t come,” he said. “But it all ended up all right.”
Schives used lessons learned from the heat race to get the jump on Ellerbeck on the initial green.
“I knew the inside was really soft, that if I could push him down there right off the start, I could go the outside and try to beat him to (turn) three,” he said. “But I had him cleared coming out of (turn) two, and after that I just held my line.”
Maidstone’s Duane Malcolm finished second while Ellerbeck, who slipped back to fifth in the late laps, rebounded to finish third.
Chatham’s Brandon Ardis finished fourth while Merlin’s Cale Johns, a 14-year-old rookie, finished fifth.
With the win, Schives reduced the deficit to six points behind Ellerbeck.
“My goal is to get the points and most checkered flags, and that’s all I have left to win in this class,” said Schives, who won the 2013 season championship race and finished second to Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner in points.
Schives, who leads the division with six feature wins and 12 checkered flags, plans to move up to the Mini-Mods or Sport Stocks next year.
He will be in driving in his brother Cory’s Mini-Mod memorial race on July 26 in Gerry Rivait Jr.’s No. 71.
Blenheim’s Shawn Jones and Johns both won their fourth heat races earlier in the night.
The Modifieds and Late Models will run their mid-season championships early in this Saturday’s race program and will run their second features after intermission. Only the drivers who were in attendance on Saturday are eligible for the mid-season championships.
- Ridgetown’s Jason Haskell - driving the No. 78 again for Windsor’s Paul Trepanier - extended his winning streak to three with his heat win in the Late Models. He won the feature and heat last Saturday. His win streak ended as the first car eliminated in the pursuit. Chatham’s Brad Authier won the other heat and Chatham’s Erick Walker the pursuit.
- Chatham’s Brian Speelman and Merlin’s Joe Brosseau won the Modified heats.
- On July 5, Mark Legacy, owner of Tirecraft Auto Service in Chatham and sponsor of the Mini-Mods and Sport Stocks, won the Chatham-Kent United Way draw at South Buxton for a $100 gift certificate from Schinkels Gourmet Meats. Mark and his wife Sandy decided immediately to give the prize back to the United Way officials to donate to a local charity. The Outreach For Hunger received the $100 gift card to Schinkels, courtesy of this fine gesture by the Legacys.
- And speaking of helping charities, this Saturday will be Christmas In July, and South Buxton management is asking fans to bring unwrapped new toys, used winter coats or non-perishable food items to help the Chatham Goodfellows, Operation Cover-Up and local food banks. These items can be dropped off at the front gate. We hope everyone brings at least one item to help those less fortunate.
- And since it’s Christmas In July, kids of all ages can celebrate as there be some cool things going and we’ll have some extra giveaways for everyone, especially the children. There will be some bicycles and scooters for prizes as well as some other cool prizes.
- We will likely have a visit from the big dude in the red suit too - and no, we’re not talking about Brad Authier in a new fire suit! The ‘Future Forecast’ said there is zero percent chance of snow, so leave the parkas, toques and gloves at home - but maybe put on a Christmas T-shirt or don a Santa hat.