Despite some rain drops to kick things off on Saturday, practice was a success as multiple drivers got on track on Saturday to begin to prepare for the upcoming 2014 season, which kicks off on May 3rd with the highly anticipated Spring Derby invitational.
Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets
The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets were the first group to hit the pavement on Saturday once it was dry and the lap times looked to be quick, as the 1/4 midgets always are. 2013 series champion Mack DeMan was on hand, along with Chris Holman, Todd Cresswell, Barry Dunn, Rob Neely and Daniel Bois, among others that have yet to be decaled yet.
Limited Late Models
Scott Beatty hit the track as he is looking for a victory this season after coming close on multiple occasions last year. Fellow veteran Dario Capirchio was also on hand as he also is looking to break the dry spell that he currently finds himself in.
Ron Quesnelle (pictured left) made his first laps of the season at Sunset Speedway as he makes the switch from Barrie Speedway to Sunset in 2014. The 2011 Barrie Speedway Champion has had success at Sunset in the past under the old configuration throughout the 1990s. Quesnelle purchased a new car over the winter in hopes to contend with Sunset’s best.
Flamboro Speedway Steve Laking brought his late model to shake it down with some laps. Whether Laking will be in attendance for the Spring Derby next weekend is yet to be seen as the late models are running a 100 lap feature and it’s a “invitational points” format.
Rookie Steven Wilson brought his late model out to test it out as he moves up from the Super Stock division. The young star has a good season last year, with a heat win and 13 feature top 10 finishes. Wilson was joined on track by fellow Paul Maltese as Maltese also made his first laps in a late model during the afternoon. Maltese, who unveiled his car earlier this year at the Canadian Motorsports Expo, is hoping for success after running the Super Stock division for a number of season with great success.
Mat Box took to the track as he looks to make the move from Delaware Speedway to Sunset Speedway in 2014.
Adam Cuthbertson took his late model out for some practice as he prepares for the Peterborough Speedway season opener in mid-May. Cuthbertson is looking for a better year this year after working with Stompin’ Tom Walters over the off-season.
Walters, a 30-time Late Model Champion, was also on hand for practice as he shook down his ride as he looks to find the key to another successful championship season. Last year, Walters was close as he finished second to Mike Bentley and won the Velocity 250 feature after having to qualify through the b-main due to missing the first day of qualifying.
Mike Weeda debuted his brand new McColl Racing Enterprises Super Stock Chassis (pictured above). Weeda is proud of the car as it has been a project that he has been working on with M.R.E over the past year.
2013 Sunset Speedway Super Stock Rookie of the Year Nick Tooley (pictured right) debuted his brand new paint scheme as he changed it up for the new season. The third generation driver had a successful rookie season last year on his way to finishing in the top 10 in points with a pair of feature top 10s despite the adversity that the family team had to overcome throughout the course of the season.
After having some struggles last year, Bob Phinnemore returned to the track this weekend in his familiar No. 22 mini stock as he searched for the right combination to have some success.
Following in the footsteps of family members before him, Gerrit Tiemersma made his first laps behind the wheel of his new No. 20 mini stock (pictured right). Tiemersma is one of the many rookies that will grace Sunset Speedway’s 3/8 mile oval when the green flag flies on Saturday May 3rd for the season.
He was joined on track at practice by fellow rookie Lauren Halliday as she makes the jump up from the go-kart ranks. Halliday, the granddaughter of Late Model veteran Gary Elliott, will be running the same car piloted by her older brother Gehrig last year. As a result of limited funding, Lauren will run the regular points nights at Sunset Speedway, while Gehrig will run the invitationals across the province. Last year, Gehrig scored three heat wins and two feature top-five finishes.
Spira Racing team member Samantha Shaw debuted her new look as she slightly changed up the blue and yellow paint scheme that graces her No. 81 Mustang (pictured left). Shaw will run the full Sunset Speedway schedule this year after running a partial schedule last year that led her to five heat wins and five feature top 10s. She was joined on track by her one of her Spira Racing teammates – Billy Swartzenburg. Swartzenburg is once again mixing up his schedule in 2014 with his No. 86 Mustang as he will run a variety of tracks throughout the 2014 season. The tour was a success last year for Swartzenburg as he picked up feature victories across the province, including a pair at Sunset Speedway.
After running the last couple weekends of the season at Sunset, Miles Tyson will run the full Sunset Speedway schedule in 2014 as he came out and shook down his mini stock. Tyson looked as fast as he did last year on his way to finishing in the top-five in a pair of features.
Kendra Adams (pictured right) is set for her sophomore year as she debuted a brand new look on her mini stock at practice. Following in her father’s footsteps, Adams had a solid first season behind the wheel as she finished in the top 10 in points.
Barrie Speedway regular Doug Butler took to the Sunset Speedway high-banks to test out his ride for the 2014 season. Butler, a past Sunset Speedway champion, had a stellar season last year on his way to winning the Garry Reynolds Memorial. He was joined on track by his father Richard Butler, as Butler looks to be get back behind the wheel this year. Butler ran a couple seasons of Super Stock competition at Sunset Speedway a couple seasons ago.
Entering his sophomore season is Shawn Gerrior as he has a new camo look on his mini stock for the new season. Gerrior also finished top 10 in points last year.
Rookie Connor James hit the track as he brought out his No. 4 mini stock with a nice coat of orange paint on it to give it a shot and see how it would run.
While a bunch of these drivers do not have a lot of experience, there were a pair of teammates on track that have tons of experience. Defending series champion Warren Paxton had his No. 33 Blue Mountain Honda car on track with the new look that he debuted at the Canadian Motorsports Expo, looking as fast as ever. He was joined on track by teammate Andrew Kamrath, who is running the identical sister car with his familiar No. 35 on it. Kamrath competed in Sunset Speedway’s Late Model division last year, finishing solidly up front each week with four feature top-fives and 11 feature top-10s.