As the days till the Great Lakes Concrete Spring Derby continue to disappear, anticipation continues to increase for the season ahead. As each day goes by, fans continue to guess as to what will happen this season and whether their favourite driver will be victorious.
For the past two years, the name of the game in the Super Stock division has been Randy Rusnell. Rusnell has won the previous two championships, dominating last year as he won 11 features. Rusnell then went on to win both the Velocity 250 and Autumn Colors Classic feature events as well. With the same car underneath him for 2014, will it be the same story?
There are plenty of drivers that hoping there’s a change in a tide as the young and seasoned blood continues to grow with the division.
2011 Super Stock Champion Lane Zardo is hoping to return to championship glory as he has rebuilt his car following a dramatic Autumn Colors Classic weekend that saw him flip upside down on Friday during practice, and then get stuck up on the wall during Monday’s feature event. Zardo had a solid season last year on his way to finishing second in points with a feature win and 14 heat wins. With an average finish of 2.2 in the heats, Zardo certainly has qualifying heats down to a key. The difference this year will be whether he can keep his No. 46 car out in front of Rusnell’s car all season long.
Last year marked a breakout season for Paul Geniole Jr. as he picked up his first career feature victory and finished in the top 10 each week in the features. As Geniole gets more experience, he continues to grow as a driver and continued growth could lead to even bigger success.
Dan Archibald will be debuting a brand new car this season that is certain to catch your attention. Known as the rough and tumble driver, Archibald had a great year last year, scoring a feature victory and seven heat wins. If Archibald can keep out of trouble throughout the season, he could be one of the drivers in the mix at season’s end.
Last year marked Cayden Lapcevich’s sophomore season in the Super Stock ranks and yet again, the young star put together a solid season with six feature top-fives and eight heat wins. Lapcevich came close to winning a feature many times, only to be passed late in the feature or have bad luck strike. Lapcevich broke into the win column by winning Flamboro Speedway’s Frostfest, so definitely look for Lapevich to break through at Sunset Speedway this season.
After working on the car all last year, Mike Weeda is officially set to debut his brand new super stock for the season ahead. Looking solid in testing, Weeda is hoping the one-year project brings forth lots of success this year.
Rookies Nick Tooley and Coltin Everingham – whoops, now sophomore drivers – are back this year to continue to develop their skills behind the wheel s they both debut new looks for the new season. The pair continued to develop their skills throughout the season in competing for the Rookie of the Year Award scoring a couple top 10 feature finishes a piece last year. Look for the pair to both be stronger this year as they search for their first career heat win.
Donny Munce is set to bring out his Camaro in hopes of repeating the success that Matt Mulholland has delivered that car in the past. Munce scored a pair of feature top 10s and will look to challenge for top fives on a weekly basis this coming year.
Tyler Liscum has officially thrown his name into the ring of competitors for the season as he makes the switch to Sunset Speedway from Peterborough Speedway. Liscum has recently competed in the Late Model division at Peterborough, and will be driving both a Super Stock and Late Model this coming season. Expect Liscum to contend for wins all season long.
After not running last year, Stan Coe was seen at practice and is registered for the season. Coe is a veteran of the division and in the past has contended and won features at Sunset Speedway.
Joining others that have made the switch in the past, Chris Howse and Steve Cashmore are set to swap out Flamboro Speedway for Sunset Speedway. Flamboro has produced some strong race contenders in years past – Zardo, Rusnell, Bentley, etc – so expect both of these drivers to be strong this year.
Dusty Richardson ran the second half of the schedule last year to get his feet wet at Sunset Speedway. As he continued to get comfortable with the 3/8 mile, he continued to gain speed. Expect that trend to continue as he comes back for 2014.
Another driver to watch as Johnny Morrison as the second generation driver got faster as the year went on, scoring a top-five and eight feature top-10 finishes. Could Morrison be the next driver to break through and win a feature? Quite possibly. His father is Rob is also registered and expected to join him on track this season.
Rookie Adam Martin joins the group this season as he looks to repeat the success that past rookies have had at Sunset Speedway. Unfortunately, practice didn’t go as he planned with a rear end failure near the end of Sunday’s session.
After taking a step out of the driver’s seat to help daughter Kendra Adams with getting used to mini stock competition, Brendan Adams looks to make his return to the driver’s seat this year. The car may not be ready till mid-season due to work commitments, however expect him to be fast when he does hit the race track.
Beyond the list of contenders, the first night of action should be interesting as the Spring Derby is being run as a “invitaitional points” format so expect some drivers from other tracks to possibly show their face and contend for the win. Ken Grubb has already confirmed his attendance and many people expect fellow Sauble Speedway drivers Vaughn Lawrence and Joe Adams to show up as well.