Glassford pulls off last-lap pass for thrilling Haskell Memorial win; Trevor finally gets best of Shawn; Fifth Mod win for Dick
On a night with a two-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion watching from the VIP patio, Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere became a two-time South Buxton Raceway champion on Saturday.
The Merlin driver clinched his second straight Windride Transportation Sport Stocks championship with his eighth feature win of the season on Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change Night.
His win, coupled with Tyler Lozon’s 11th-place feature finish, unofficially increases Vanderiviere’s advantage to 156 points heading into this Saturday’s championship night. The maximum total a driver can collect in a night is 102 points.
Vanderiviere won a spirited battle with Merlin’s Steve Shaw, capped off by a green-checkered finish, setting the stage for what should be a classic championship race this coming Saturday.
“Two in a row feels good, especially eight feature wins and the most checkereds, but the one that would mean the most would be to bring that championship race home,” said Vanderiviere.
And in another exciting green-checkered finish, Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford restarted second but passed Brandon Thirlby of Traverse City, Mich. coming out of turn two and went on to win his second Rick Haskell Memorial race trophy in the Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Models.
It was the Jones Show in the Tirecraft Comp 4s for the third week in a row - but this time it was Trevor Jones getting the star treatment as the 14-year-old led all 15 laps to win his second feature of the season. He led the most laps the last two weeks but had to settle for second-place finishes both times behind his 20-year-old brother Shawn.
Leamington’s Joel Dick won his fifth Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified feature of the year, taking the lead from points leader Jim Dale Jr. of Shrewsbury on lap eight in a caution-plagued race.
And taking in all of the action was former NASCAR driver Terry Labonte, his wife Kim, their son Justin and his wife Miranda - formerly Miranda Simpson of Merlin.
Miranda and Justin, who were married in May in North Carolina, held a reception on Sunday for Miranda’s family - parents Brenda and Gary Moore, sister Katie plus other family members and friends.
The Labontes, who came to the tracked unannounced, watched the racing action with the staff from the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change in their VIP booth.
“He loved the show,” South Buxton promoter Blake Outhouse said of Labonte, who won 22 career Cup races.
“He especially liked the minis. He said ‘Blake, that’s quite a class!
“They really enjoyed the atmosphere and had a great time.”
On the track was another NASCAR driver, Jason Hathaway, driver of the No. 3 Snap-On Tools/Rockstar/Vortex Brakes Dodge in the Canadian Tire NASCAR Series.
Hathaway drove Lozon’s second Sport Stock car with a special paint scheme to a fifth-place finish in his first experience racing on dirt. He also signed autographs for fans before the races and gave away a number of souvenir items from his many sponsors.
Jim Arnel, driver of the No. 43J Comp 4 car, was instrumental in bringing Hathaway to South Buxton as he also drives the team’s hauler across Canada on the national NASCAR circuit.
Photos by James MacDonald/Apex One Photo
Vanderiviere still has one major goal left - and Shaw stands in his way
It didn’t take long for the brotherly barbs to start flying around Eren Vanderiviere’s trailer.
After clinching his second straight Windride Transportation Sport Stocks points title, Eren was playfully reminded by brother Eric about his 2010 championship season.
“He didn’t win the mid-season, so he can’t win all three … again!” said a smiling Eric, who won both the mid-season and championship races during en route to his title in his final season in the Sport Stocks.
Eren won the mid-season but finished second in the championship race last year when he clinched his first points crown.
And he can’t go three-for-three this year after carding a DNF in the mid-season championship.
“But I think I got him beat on the eight feature wins and most checkered flags (15),” Eren shot back.
“I got them both beat … I’ve got three championships,” countered their father - and car owner - Paul Vanderiviere.
For the record, Eric had six features and 11 checkereds in his championship season.
Eric won the 2010 championship race, with Merlin’s Steve Shaw finishing second.
Last year, Shaw gained revenge on the Vanderivieres by winning his sixth career championship race, with Eren finishing second.
After Saturday’s animated battle between Vanderiviere and Shaw, the championship race could be the rubber match between the families.
Despite a few incidents between the Merlin rivals this season, Vanderiviere shrugged off the suggestion of bad blood.
“It’s racing, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” he said.
“We’re all out here to have fun. It’s nice to battle hard but it’s too bad when the cars get torn up.”
Shaw, who started in the second row, took the lead from Chatham’s Randy McKinlay on the fourth lap with Vanderiviere pulling into second two laps later.
After a caution on lap 11, Vanderiviere took the lead on the bottom after going door-to-door with Shaw from restart all the way through turns three and four.
“It was hard racing … we were going for the win,” Vanderiviere said.
“I had room going in (to three) and the next thing I knew we were into each other,” he said of the contact that put him into the lead.
“I think he cut down and we hit. My car wouldn’t turn after that, it just made me go up towards the wall.”
Once in front, Vanderiviere built a comfortable lead heading into the white flag lap.
However, the caution waved as Vanderiviere’s teammate Jason Fox spun between turns three and four as the leaders were approaching on the backstretch.
“I heard caution on the radio and there he was, spun out,” Vanderiviere laughed about his teammate almost throwing a wrench into his victory.
The caution allowed Shaw to restart on the back bumper of the leader for one last shot on the green-checkered finish.
Vanderiviere was up for the challenge.
“I slowed down a little bit to go in (to turn one) expecting him to over-drive the corner,” he said. “Steve punted me but I was ready for it and it worked out in my favour.”
The green-checkered lap ended under caution because of a big pileup behind the lead pair in turns one and two that involved almost the rest of the field.
When the dust settled, Toronto’s Brian Simard went from fourth to a third-place finish, Kingsville’s Rob Young from sixth to fourth, and NASCAR Canadian Tire driver Jason Hathaway from the last car on the lead lap to a fifth-place finish.
The losers in the deal were Wallaceburg’s Willy Vyse and Essex’s Patrick Lajeunesse, who fell out of the top five as a result of the melee.
Shaw and Lajeunesse won the heat races while Vanderiviere took the crack-the-whip, upping his checkered total to 15, clinching the most flags for the division.
Shaw has 12 flags, including five features in the 11 weeks he has raced, but the most flags a driver can win in a night is two in the Sport Stocks and Comp 4s.
Glassford praises Haskell family after his second straight ‘crazy’ win
As the white flag came out, Dale Glassford thought to himself that the only chance he had to win his second Rick Haskell memorial race was for something crazy to happen - for a second straight week.
“But that never happens in our favour,” he said.
On Saturday night, however, things worked out for the Ridgetown driver - for a second straight week.
Brandon Thirlby, the UMP points leader for the Michigan-Wisconsin-Canada region, was a half-lap away from winning the feature in his first visit to South Buxton.
But the caution waved on the final lap when Port Colborne’s Rob Ledingham spun between turns three and four, setting the stage for a green-checkered finish for a second straight Saturday night in the Glencoe Auto Recyclers UMP Late Models.
“I couldn’t believe that caution came out,” a thrilled Glassford said.
“I heard them on the radio say it going to be a green-checkered … and if that doesn’t get you wound up, nothing will.”
Last week, Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis spun while leading on the same spot of the track as Saturday’s late caution, allowing Glassford to move into the lead. Glassford had to be summoned from the Winner’s Circle for the green-checkered finish, as he thought the race was already over.
“When that caution came out last week, I thought it was going to bite me but we survived it,” Glassford said.
“And to have it happen again tonight … is crazy.”
Thirlby led the single-file field into turn one when Glassford dove to the bottom and took the lead exiting turn two. Glassford said he noticed Thirlby was drifting up the track coming out of turn two in the waning laps.
“I knew if I could get beside him, I’d have a chance,” Glassford said.
“When I seen his car slide and his back end go up, I got my nose in their and it was like the yellow brick road … it just led me home.”
It was only a few laps earlier when Glassford thought his chances were gone after scraping the wall coming out of the same corner.
“I messed up a little, got up too close and bumped the wall and lost a lot of ground … I thought I just blew it right there,” he said of his scrape
“When the white came out, I was gaining in one and two but there was too much ground to make up. I knew the car was decent but I wasn’t going to make up that much ground unless something crazy happened with a lapped car.”
Chatham’s Brad Authier and Lewis also got by Thirlby, who lost his momentum after getting passed by Glassford and went from first to fourth on the green-checkered finish.
Goderich’s Mark Glassford, Dale’s brother, rounded out the top five.
Authier and Thirlby ran one-two in the first half of the race. Authier led the first five and the eighth lap, when Thirlby took over and held the point until the fateful final circuit.
Glassford was content to run third until his car came to life in the second half, passing Authier on lap 10 to begin his chase of the leader.
Gregg Haskell, who was involved in a pair of three-car pileups early in the race, finished a disappointing seventh as he will have to wait until next year to try and win his father’s memorial for a first time.
Haskell, with the help of his mother Deb, sister Kristin, brothers Jason and Patrick, raised close to $1,500 in sponsorship money to add to the regular payout, in honour of Rick who died in 2007.
“Gregg went above and beyond … I can’t believe what he does to support the class,” Glassford said in admiration of his fellow driver and his family.
“This was really big. We never come out ahead in these cars … it’s an expensive hobby.
“But we really appreciate what Gregg and his family did tonight - you want to be a part of it.
“I can’t thank the Haskell family enough,” he declared.
Despite his seventh-place finish, Haskell still leads the Late Model standings by 69 points over Authier with two race night remaining, including the Sept. 22 championship.
“He’s having a breakout year and I sure hope he wins the points,” the two-time champion Glassford said of Haskell.
“He deserves it … he’s the most consistent driver every night.”
Authier won his heat and dash, giving him 17 flags, including six features, tops in the class in both departments.
Glassford won the other heat as he has 10 checkereds including his five features.
Trevor Jones makes the grade with another feature win
While the rest of Tirecraft Comp 4 drivers were looking forward to a day off from work on Labour Day, Saturday’s feature winner was dreading the last Monday holiday of the summer.
For Trevor Jones, Tuesday marks the start of another school year.
And when the 14-year-old Blenheim native pens the traditional ‘what I did over the summer holidays’ essay, the Grade 8 student at Harwich-Raleigh will have quite a tale to tell.
He added a new paragraph to his story-book summer by leading all 15 laps on Saturday for his second Tirecraft Comp 4 feature race win of his amazing rookie season.
“Good, I guess,” the shy teen shrugged his shoulders when asked to sum up his success competing against men, many of whom have been racing longer than he’s been born.
He didn’t have to go too far to get an endorsement from his biggest fan.
“One thing, he listens,” Shawn Jones said of his younger brother after their third straight one-two finish.
He said Trevor learned a valuable lesson after second-place finishes the previous two weeks.
Trevor led the first seven laps two weeks ago and the first 12 laps last Saturday, only to have Shawn pass him for the win both times.
“We kept telling him he had to go higher,” Shawn said of the advice he and their father Dave gave to Trevor.
“He ran a high line tonight and did an excellent job.
“A couple of times, I thought I was going to get him but he was holding his line pretty good,” Shawn declared
When asked what he did different to hold off his brother this week, Trevor had a simple answer.
“I beat him.”
His first feature win came on July 14 with Shawn watching from the pits after posting a rare DNF.
This time, Shawn had a second-row seat for all 15 laps, as he tried an unsuccessful run on the outside on the final lap as the checkered waved for his brother.
Trevor took the original green in the second row but a first-corner incident involving front row drivers Steve Shaw Jr. of Merlin and Jerry Ramault of Ridgetown moved himself and Chatham’s Randy McKinlay to the front for the restart.
By the time the cars got to turn four, it was the Jones boys up front with McKinlay breathing down their necks.
The Cottam duo of Denis DeSerrano and Rob Quick, who started at the back after being penalized in the heat race, quickly worked their way through the field to make it a five-car battle up front.
But the Jones’ boys held off the veterans all the way to the checkered for their third straight one-two finish.
Quick passed DeSerrano on the last lap to finish third while McKinlay rounded out the top five.
Trevor said he didn’t concern himself with flashbacks of finishing second to Shawn the last two weeks.
“I stayed positive. I was pretending I was the only one on the track,” he said.
“We had a little push in the car last week but we got that fixed.
“And I know the outside is Shawn’s line … I just took it from him,” Trevor added.
Heading into Saturday’s championship night for the Comp 4s, Shawn carries a 47-point lead over Trevor and is 75 points ahead of DeSerrano, who was just 18 points back going into the Aug. 18 race night.
And the way he has progressed, Trevor is certainly a contender to win the championship.
“I want to win it … and the points too!” Trevor laughed.
But it would take something drastic to happen to Shawn in the preliminary races to force him to scratch from the feature for Trevor or DeSerrano to have any shot at dethroning the two-time reigning champion.
Points schmoints … Dick just wants to win races!
The points race is winding down, but that’s not the race that concerns Joel Dick.
The Leamington driver won his fifth feature of the season to move into second place in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified standings.
But he was only able to shave five points off Jim Dale Jr.’s point lead.
The seven-time and defending points champion leads Dick by 74 points with just two race nights remaining, including the championship night on Sept. 22. Louisville’s Jim Fletcher slipped to third, five points behind Dick.
“Points come, points go … I don’t think about them,” Dick said.
“I’m just here to win.”
Dick won the season championship race last September while finishing second in the points standings to Dale Jr.
“The championship (race) is the big one,” Dick looked ahead to defending his title in three weeks.
“But you just have to treat it like another race … it just comes with a bigger trophy.”
Dick started in the second row of Saturday’s caution-plagued feature and slid back to fifth in the early laps before finding a groove on the high side.
He moved to second on lap six, passed Dale Jr. for the lead two laps later and led the final 12 laps.
Merlin’s Brad McLeod, Fletcher and Dale Jr. took turns running second but none could mount a serious challenge for the lead.
“I had some good restarts, had the opportunity to go up high where I found the cushion and just set sail,” Dick said.
“I saw Jimmy under me a few times, we raced side by side for a few laps and that was good racing.”
McLeod, an eight-time track champion, had a good run on the outside when he challenged for the lead.
After the caution on lap 12, Dick chose the high side for the restart, forcing McLeod to the bottom.
“He’s been pretty fast up there, that’s why I chose the top side,” he said of McLeod.
The last of the nine cautions came on lap 16, creating a single-file restart with under five to go.
“It was a long race, but the last one (caution) was nice. I figured with a single file restart, we’d be all right,” he said.
“The middle of the track didn’t have too much (bite) … I knew I could go up top and no one could skate through.”
Dale Jr. hung on to finish second - the third time he was the runner-up in Dick’s five feature wins.
McLeod passed Fletcher on the final lap to finish third.
Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra, who started on the pole after wining the dash, finished fifth.
Brain Speelman, also of Chatham, was sixth after winning his heat in his first appearance in almost a month.
Dick, who also won his heat race earlier in the night, has 12 feature wins and 37 total checkered flags in his three seasons in the Modified class.
- In the past, drivers lined up for the championship races in order of points, but with the new racing format this year, drivers will continue to qualify for their starting positions through the night’s preliminary races (heats, dashes and crack-the-whips).
- Eren Vanderiviere’s feature wins means he has won at least once in all five months in the 2012 season. Shawn Jones and Authier are the only other two drivers who can match the feat. Four other drivers have won features in three months - Shaw was winless in May, DeSerrano in June, Dick in July and Dale. Jr. in August.
- The Comp 4 second race, involving the top nine points drivers, had a rare conclusion as the top two were stripped of their finishes but were not black-flagged - the winner DeSerrano for aggressive driving on the final lap in taking the lead from Quick, who was in turn docked two positions for jumping the original green. And both were further penalized by sitting out the crack-the-whip and starting at the back for the feature.
- The ruling allowed third-place finisher Trevor Jones to become the race winner with Ramaut elevated from fourth to second, and thus his first-row start for the feature. Jones has five checkereds.
- Shawn Jones, meanwhile, is 7-for-7 in the crack-the-whip after Saturday’s win. His 19 checkereds are tied with Jim Dale Jr. for the most among all drivers, while Authier and DeSerrano had 16 and Vanderiviere 15.
- In a late season rarity, the top-five points drivers all finished in the top five in the Modified feature - the winner Dick, third in points, followed by points leader Dale Jr., fourth-place McLeod, second-place Fletcher and fifth-place Hoekstra.
- Chatham’s Louis Clements never got a chance to win a second straight Modified feature as his car died on the track in the dash.
- Three drivers made late-season debuts - LaSalle’s Mike Demars in Paul DeGoey’s 1D Modified while Bob Hill and Justin Hebblethewaite had their Comp 4s on the track for the first time.
- Rob Ledingham, the 2007 Ontario Dirt Late Model champion, drove a familiar 7D Late Model which has run several times at South Buxton by Jeff Dayman of Welland in the Shootout, ODLM and other events.
- Brandon Thirlby inquired about racing at South Buxton earlier this season and with no UMP Late Model races in his home state of Michigan on the weekend, he decided to cross the border for the first time. Thirlby, who calls Cherry and I-96 his home tracks, has 13 wins this season.
- Two-time Late Model champion Andrew Reaume of Blenheim won his first career race in the U.S. when he took the ‘A’ Main at Oakshade on Saturday. He finished fourth in the second ‘A’ Main later in the night. Charing Cross’ Chris Ross, who started on the front row in the first ‘A’ Main, Chatham’s Don Gordon and Leamington’s Justin Coulter were also in the field.
- Gregg Haskell was planning on joining the four at Eldora for Sunday’s Baltes Classic but the remnants of Hurricane Isaac hit mid-Ohio and cancelled the event. Eldora hosts the World 100s this coming weekend.
- Nicole Bertozzi, wife of Sport Stocks’ driver West Bertozzi, won the 50-50 draw, worth $1,007.50 from the Chatham-Kent Big Brothers-Big Sisters. It was the fifth 50-50 winning purse to top the $1,000-mark.
- Fans are reminded there will be no racing on Sept. 15 as many of the track’s staff will be assisting at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at Ohsweken.