There were four familiar names in the Winner’s Circle on Saturday - but one new face.
Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra won his second career feature race, leading 22 of the 25-lap Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds.
Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr. led laps 3-5 but once the 31-year-old Hoekstra regained the lead, he never looked back.
Hoekstra’s father, 57-year-old Eugene Hoekstra, finished a season-high third.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford won the Don Hendricks memorial race for the second year in a row. It was also Glassford’s fourth straight feature win and fifth of the season in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models.
Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano won his fifth Tirecraft Mini-Mods feature while Merlin’s Steve Shaw picked up his fourth feature win in the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks.
And in the Bomber class, Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner won his second straight and third feature of the year.
James MacDonald ApexOne Photos; Click on photos for larger views.
Hoekstra’s feature win a special family moment
When Darryl Hoekstra won his first career feature race at South Buxton Raceway last July, his father Eugene was in Ohio watching sprint cars.
Father had a much better view of son’s second career feature win.
“It feels great to win one for the HR race team … and Dad finished third, so that’s great,” said Darryl, who led 22 of the 25 laps in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modified feature on Saturday night.
“I think I should win the hard charger award tonight,” Eugene quipped, as the seven-time track champion started 12th and finished a season-high third in his return to racing after retiring in the mid-90s.
Darryl Hoekstra started on the pole with Shrewsbury’s Jim Dale Jr., the two-time reigning series champion, on the outside and they ran one-two for the entire 25 laps.
Hoekstra led the first two laps and the final 20 after Dale Jr. led three laps.
“I like racing with Jimmy, he’s a clean driver,” Hoekstra said of the battle with Dale Jr.
The veteran Dale Jr., who enjoyed many battles with the elder Hoekstra in the 1980s, was impressed by Darryl’s run.
“He ran a good race, clean race,” Dale Jr. said.
“He tried the bottom but it kept pushing up so he had to go to the top. I could have likely run the top but he was there, so I tried the bottom, which made for a good race,” Dale Jr. said of his chase.
Hoekstra was surprised himself to win on the high side.
“The funny thing is we actually won on the top, because we normally run the bottom,” he said.
“There were some ruts down low, and we’ve finished second on the bottom … what, four times … so I thought it was time for a change, went up to the top and it worked,” Hoekstra said.
The 31-year-old Hoekstra posted four second-place finishes in the first nine features this season before finally earning his first win since the 2012 mid-season championship.
He moved atop the division standings after last week’s races and padded his lead to 57 points over Chatham’s Brian Speelman, who finished 18th.
“We feel like we should be up there,” Hoekstra said about leading the standings.
“My dad’s won, what seven of them?” he asked about Eugene’s track championships.
“It would be nice to win at least one,” he said with a smile.
“This car has been fast all year, we’ve just been having some bad luck and we feel like we’ve given a couple away … so it’s nice to finally win one,” Hoekstra said.
“This win was big for the whole team,” he continued. “The crew works so hard, we had the bent race car earlier in the season and some motors issues, but the boys work hard, it’s all about the team.”
Saturday was the first time Eugene has raced since the end of May when he gave up his car to his son to run for points after Darryl’s car was severely damaged in a wreck.
“My goal is to win one of these and be the oldest feature winner here,” said Eugene, who recently celebrated his 57th birthday.
Merlin’s Joe Brosseau, a two-time feature winner, finished fourth while Clayton Smith, of Taylor, Mich., finished fifth, his fourth top-five in five appearances at South Buxton this season.
Leamington’s Joel Dick, who won three straight features including the mid-season championship a week earlier, finished sixth.
Darryl Hoekstra and Dale Jr. won the heats and Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith the dash.
For Dale Jr., just finishing a feature felt like a victory
“Finally, we got to race,” said Dale Jr., the two-time reigning and eight-time track champion.
Dale Jr. has been hampered with engine trouble since late May.
“We’ve had oil pressure issues forever, but it’s fixed and now we can concentrate,” said Dale Jr., who has one feature win and was sixth in points going into the night.
He gained two positions to fourth in the standings, 91 points behind Hoekstra.
Glassford finds extra incentive in Hendricks memorial races
There are certain race nights that drivers circle when the schedule is released at the start of the season.
Dale Glassford added a check mark through the circle he made around Saturday, July 20.
The Ridgetown driver continued his torrid streak with his fourth straight feature win in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UMP Late Models on Saturday at South Buxton.
But more importantly, it was Glassford’s second straight win in the Don Hendricks memorial race.
“When we look at the schedule, these are the special nights that I’ll do whatever I think it takes to win,” Glassford said.
“This is always a special race to win,” he said of keeping the Hendricks trophy in his race shop for a second year in a row.
And Glassford has also circled this coming Saturday on his calendar as the Late Models will race in the first Gord DeWael memorial race.
“It means a lot to all of us drivers to have the Hendricks family out here because we grew up watching Don and Gord (DeWael),” Glassford said of the former track champions who raced at South Buxton and the former Ridge Raceway in the 1970s and ’80s.
“It’s special to win a memorial race because you remember as fans watching them race for a lot of years.”
Glassford started in the second row of the 15-lap feature and moved into second behind Wallaceburg’s Mike Lewis before the first lap was complete.
He took the lead after a restart following a lap-five caution, motoring around the outside of turn two to pass Lewis and never looked back.
Chatham’s Brent Colby won the mad dash for second, beating Lewis by inches at the line. Points leader Gregg Haskell of Chatham was right behind in fourth.
“No, nothing like this,” Glassford answered when asked if he has ever had a four-feature win streak in his career.
“I lost four in row at the start of the season when everything kept breaking … I couldn’t even finish a race,” he said with a laugh.
“So now to win four in a row … I don’t know what I’m doing right but I’m going to keep trying to do it this week.
“I’m using up a lot of my good luck lately, so we’re going to go over the car extra hard this week, because next week’s going to be a special night too,” Glassford said, looking ahead to this Saturday’s DeWael feature.
Several additional drivers, including Blenheim’s Andrew Reaume and Charing Cross’s Chris Ross, are expected to be in the field, which will certainly threaten Glassford’s winning streak.
“There’s a handful of guys out here who, if they can get in the spot, can win,” Glassford said of the South Buxton regulars.
“But when you get guys like Chris and Andrew coming in, they have great cars and they’re very serious about their racing.
“When you win against cars like that, you’re doing really good,” Glassford said.
Earlier in the night, Glassford won the dash by passing Lewis in the final turn and was second to Haskell in the dash.
Glassford leads the division with 10 checkered flags and is second in the standings, 104 points behind Haskell. Glassford missed two race nights earlier in the season.
DeSerrano survives caution-plagued feature for fifth victory
Last week, Denis DeSerrano had a big smile on his face as he accepted his third-place trophy on mid-season championship night.
This week, DeSerrano flashed the same smile after winning his fifth feature of the season in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods.
“I’m having fun and that’s what racing is all about,” DeSerrano said after Saturday’s win.
It was the same comment he made a week earlier after his third-place finish.
“We just go out and do the best we can every week,” DeSerrano said after Saturday’s victory.
“If we win, we win, if we don’t, we don’t … as long as we’re having fun, that’s what matters the most,” he said.
DeSerrano said he has another goal every Saturday night when he makes the trek from Cottam to South Buxton.
“Just try to bring the car home in one piece so we don’t have a whole bunch of work to do during the week,” he said with a smile.
DeSerrano won’t have much to do with the car this week despite a wreck-fest behind him as the 20-lap feature was slowed by eight cautions. Only eight of the original 20 cars were still running when the checkered flew.
DeSerrano started in the third row and was locked in a tight battle with Dresden’s Marshall Hereygers, who led the first 10 laps, along with Cottam’s Rob Quick and Blenheim’s Trevor Jones.
DeSerrano had just taken the lead on lap 11 when Hereygers and Quick got caught up in a five-car crash on the backstretch.
“It just seemed like I’d get into a rhythm and a caution would come out,” said DeSerrano, who led the final nine laps which were slowed by three more yellow flags.
“The car seemed to work anywhere on the track, it was good on the bottom on the restarts and once I got wound up, it liked to run the high side to the middle,” he said.
Blenheim drivers Trevor Jones, Elliot Wilton and Brett Hope finished behind DeSerrano, with Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. fifth. Quick rebounded from his accident to finish sixth.
DeSerrano won the feature with his old motor in the car. He said he had to pull the heads off his primary engine last week and decided to order new bearings while it was out of the car.
“This is the engine we used when we used to run the old Mustang,” said DeSerrano, who has been in the mini-mod car for three years.
“We’ll go one more week with this one, it seemed to work all right but it’s hard to judge until you get running with everyone, and tonight wasn’t the best night to judge,” he said, again in reference to the caution-plagued race.
Hereygers had an impressive debut driving for Dresden’s Matt Sorrell, a rookie who won his first career feature five races into the season.
Hereygers’ bid to pull off a stunning win ended with his 10th-lap incident. He went a lap down and finished a respectable eighth.
DeSerrano, the division points leader, has collected 16 total checkered flags, one more than Quick who won his heat and crack-the-whip preliminary races earlier in the night.
Shaw Jr. won a heat race for the second straight night while South Buxton’s Andrew Pfahler won the second heat, his first career checkered.
Tilbury’s Gerry Rivait won the ‘B’ main, where the top five finishers transferred to the feature. It was Rivait’s first flag of the season. He finished 17th in the feature after getting involved in an early accident.
Shaw steers clear of mayhem to win fourth Sport Stocks feature
For the second week in a row and third time this season, the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks feature race was reduced in laps because of a rash of accidents and cautions.
But don’t ask Steve Shaw what was going on - all of the mayhem happened well behind him.
Shaw was credited with leading all 15 laps en route to his fourth feature win of the season.
Although he led at the line every lap, he had his hands full early with points leader Eren Vanderiviere, who was bidding for a fifth straight feature win.
However, four caution flags in the first five laps spoiled what should have been a classic duel between the Merlin rivals.
“It was back and forth, he’d get by me and then he’d wash up and I’d get underneath him,” Shaw said of the early battle with Vanderiviere - a good, clean, hard racing battle that had only one incident of contact.
“He got into the muck between one and two and kind of slid up into me, but it wasn’t intentional, it was the track,” Shaw said.
Vanderiviere slipped coming out of turn two on lap six and fell back to fifth.
Two laps later, he dropped back to 11th, the last car on the lead lap, when he had to get on the brakes to avoid contact with Kingsville’s Jim Ellis, who got hit from behind on the backstretch while running third.
Meanwhile, once Shaw took the lead, he used the whole track to fend off Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon for several laps before pulling away at the end.
“I was all over, not that I meant to be,” Shaw described his run.
“I was mixing it up pretty good but the main thing was trying to keep it on the bottom,” he said.
“I could get some bite off the bottom coming out of the corners, so if anyone was sneaking up on me from the outside, I had pretty good forward bite off the bottom.”
Shaw said his race team made several changes to the car after the preliminary races.
“We knew we were going to be the last (feature) out and there wasn’t going to be a lot of track left,” he said.
“There was lot of half-throttle driving, I was just trying to keep the car square and straight.”
Shaw said the number of cautions - eight - altered his strategy.
“Absolutely, it made you pay attention how you got in the corners, with all the cautions you couldn’t get any momentum going, every time you had a restart, you had to remember the best way in (corners).”
Lozon held on for a second-place finish while Harrow’s Patrick Lajeunesse was third, Vanderiviere recovered for a fourth-place finish and Wallaceburg’s Gary Vyse was fifth.
Vanderiviere won his heat and dash and was going for his third sweep in the past four race nights.
Lajeunesse won the other heat.
Shaw was only able to shave nine points off Vanderiviere’s lead to 47.
- The Blenheim Blades’ Great Lakes Jr. ‘C’ Hockey League team conducted the 50-50 draw, and appropriately, Blades’ players had good nights in the Bomber class.
- Dylan Bonner won his second straight and third feature of the season while teammate Shawn Hope finished third. Hope was second in the heat, behind the winner Chris Ellerbeck, while Bonner was fifth.
- Meanwhile, Louis Pouget won the Blades’ 50-50 draw, which was worth $824.00. The Blades will be back for the 50-50 again this Saturday.
- And another Blades’ connection - Tyler Hendricks, Don’s grandson, had his Delaware Late Model on display before the races. He played goalie two seasons for the Blades.
- Ellerbeck’s heat race win in his first race at South Buxton was one of several good ‘first-night’ stories.
- Marshall Hereygers’ strong run in the Mini-Mod feature followed a third-place finish in the third heat. In that same race, Ryan Bonner made his Mini-Mod debut - driving the 02 Jody Mason machine - by finishing second to the race won by Quick. Bonner started the season in the Bombers, moved up to the Sport Stocks and added a third class with his Mini-Mod debut.
- Darryl Hoekstra said he had a little extra incentive to win on Saturday for his sponsor Panic Sewer and Cleaning Services, which also sponsored and was the namesake on Don Hendricks’ famous 09 Panic Late Model. “We wanted to win this for Panic, they sponsor the race car and it was the Don Hendricks memorial night and Dennis Carey (Panic owner) was here,” he said.
- Correction: In last week’s media reports, it was stated that Rob Quick missed one night and posted two DNFs and two DNS’s in features. Quick has in fact raced every night, posting three DNFs and two DNS’s.
- The Junior Fan Club will have its ‘Box Car Races’ on Saturday, Aug. 3. All fan club members are invited to decorate a cardboard box to look like their favourite driver’s car and bring it out to the track.
- Fans are reminded of the special prices for this Saturday’s memorial night - $10 adults; $8 seniors and teens (13-16), $5 kids (ages 6-12); and $15 pit admission (ages 6 and over).
- Several race cars will be on display this Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Lube Tech on Richmond St.
- South Buxton’s fifth annual Tractor Pull, featuring the Southwestern Ontario Tractor Pullers Association, is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 2. Modified and super modified tractors will be joined by two classes of pickup trucks, competing on the infield strip. There will be a beverage garden on the infield. Admission is $10 for ages 13 and over, $5 children 6-12 and kids 5-under are free.