By Dave Vokey — For the second week in a row cooler temperatures would greet the Barrie Speedway faithful on Whelen Engineering Night on May 17, as the evenings big winners in the Wahta Springs Late Model division were #12 Dwight Brown of Beeton and #10 Gord Shepherd of Oro Station, as each driver would capture a 30 lap feature win. The win for Brown comes after an 8 year absence from the track, as the talented wheelman is returning to the track for a full season in 2014 after several successful years campaigning at Mosport Speedway in Bowmanville, while Shepherd would also rattle off his first victory of 2014 after amassing 9 feature wins last season, in which the division veteran captured his 2nd Late Model track championship.
In the first 30, it was #27 “Smilin” Sam Reckzin of North Bay who captured the early lead after winning the duel with #44 Rob Bromley of Orillia from the drop of the green. Slotting to the 2nd place position early was 2010 track champ #69 Al “Red Rocket” Inglis of Orillia, as the talented wheelman would pass Bromley along the inside line just a couple laps in, with the move opening up room for Brown to alertly follow through to claim third in the running order. On lap 4, the first caution would appear as division rookie #00 Darryl St. Onge of Barrie would brush the outside retaining wall as he was set to enter turn one, with St. Onge getting sideways and catching a piece of #83 Ian Bourque of Newmarket, sending Bourque for a spin, with both drivers summoned arrears deemed involved cars. On the restart, Inglis would snatch the lead from Reckzin while running the outside line, with again Brown following the Inglis move to claim runner up positioning. The best battle on track was now the race for 4th, as Shepherd would wrestle that spot away from #31 Rick Walt of Hawkestone with an inside pass on exit of turn 2. On the very next lap, Walt would accidentially get into the back of Shepherd between turns 1&2, sending both drivers spinning and retiring Walt for the duration as the driver was encountering motor problems.
With the race set to go green again, Brown would assume the race lead getting past Inglis on the outside of turn 2 on the restart, with Bourque also now back near the front in third, and closing in on the bumper of Inglis just beyond the 10 lap mark. Brown, would quickly open up a 5 car length lead over Inglis while clicking off laps in the 14.7 second range, with Bourque giving Inglis a nudge in turn 2, looking to open up racing room to take over 2nd, but eventually being unable to make the move work as the wily Inglis held firm to maintain the spot. Nearing the 20 lap mark, the car to watch was now the 10 of Shepherd, who took over 4th place from St. Onge, quickly finding the bumper of Bourque and taking over third with turn an inside move in turn 1. On lap 24, Shepherd would take over the runner up post with an outisde line pass in turn two, after working Inglis over for a couple laps prior. It was clear that Brown was home and cooled out over the duration however, as he would easily record the victory by a half straightaway over Shepherd at the checkered. Inglis, would get his night kick started nicely with a strong 3rd place showing, with Bourque and St. Onge rounding out the top 5.
In the 30 lap finale to the evening, it was again Reckzin who found the point early as #24 Leonard “The Bandit” Johnston slotted into 2nd along the inside of the 44 of Bromley. Johnston, would then dispose of Reckzin for the race lead on lap three with a clean inside move between turns 3&4, with an alert Inglis claiming 2nd from Reckzin just one lap later. Reckzin, would find himself trapped to the high side and was shuffled back in the running order by the trio of Bourque, Brown, and Walt nearing the 10 lap mark. At this point in the race the best battle on track was now the race for 6th involving Shepherd and St. Onge, as Shepherd would assume that spot with a low side pass in turn three, after a very hard fought battle from the game St. Onge. At the front of the pack, Johnston was still holding onto the lead with laps in the 15.1 second range, with Inglis pinned to his bumper all the while and searching for a way past, while further in back Walt would take over 3rd from Brown after executing a bump and run move on the inside of turn four.
On lap 24, Walt would continue his charge towards the front of the pack, taking over second from Inglis with a low move on the exit of turn two. Walt, would quickly find the back bumper of leader Johnston a short while later, and on lap 26 he would pull alongside the leader out of turn 4 with the two drivers now racing door to door down the frontstretch. Unfortunately the two drivers would collide while entering turn one, with Johnston sent careening through the infield grass and an alert job done by the field who checked up to avoid the prone Johnston ride, with both Johnston and Walt sent to the tail of the field as involved cars. This turn of events would totally reshuffle the front row to now comprise of Inglis and Shepherd, with the two veteran drivers set to do battle for a 4 lap shootout to determine the outcome, as Shepherd quickly powered past along the outer groove, relegating Inglis to 2nd. Once out front the 10 of Shepherd has proved tough to pass and that scenario would once again play out here, as Shepherd would record the win by 2 car lengths over Inglis at the stripe. Brown, would cap off a solid point night in coming home 3rd, while St. Onge and Bourque would comprise the remainder of the top five.
In Triple Sick Skin Tattoo Thunder Car action, it was #12 Jim “Polish Prince” Beleskey of Carthew Bay who would take home the win in the 30 lap main. Beleskey, a former two time division champ would take the lead on the opening lap from his outside pole starting position, passing pole sitter #7 Joel Hamilton of Orillia en route to leading the entire distance of the race. Beleskey, would have fight off a stern challenge from week one winner #00 Luke Gignac of Port McNicholl over the second half of the race as the duo rapidly worked their way through lapped traffic, with Gignac holding on to finish a very game second. #22 Jason Elliott of Angus would earn a workmanlike 3rd place showing, as the talented driver is returning to the track for his first full time campaign since the 2009 season. Rookie of the Year contender #10 Jordan Latimer would finish a career best 4th after only racing a handful of races last season, and continues to impress every inch of the way during his first full time Barrie season. #11 Adam Misener, also a division rookie would finish 5th, also recording a career best Thunder Car finish in his very sharp and unique looking 63 Impala.
Heat wins went to Beleskey, Gignac, Elliott, and #16 Bryan Penny.
In the St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock division, it was #09 Dean Curry of Singhampton who would record the victory in the 25 lap feature to cap off his “hat trick” for the evening after a pair of earlier heat race wins. Curry, would take the lead from the outside pole position from the drop of the green, after gaining the advantage on #10 Doug Butler of New Lowell. Butler, would have to fight off a race long challenge from defending track champ #77 Mike Gettliffe of Orillia, as the two drivers treated the fans to a display of tough and clean short track racing for the entire race, with Butler eventually taking the runner up spot and Gettliffe coming home in third. #63 Jamie Cairns or Orillia would continue his stellar start to the 2014 campaign coming home in 4th, while #57 Ryan Toon of Stayner would better his week one finish by one position in rounding out the fast five.
Heat wins went to Curry with a pair, Butler and Gettliffe.
PIT NOTES ——— A number of new drivers would roll through the pits to compete in week 2 action as #18 Jay Cutting of Holland Landing and # 67 “Rockin” Rick Santagato of Bracebridge would make their first starts of the season in the Triple Sick Skin Thunder Cars, as Cutting would record a very impressive 7th place in his 2014 Barrie debut, with Santagato finishing up 12th in the 14 car field. The newcomers would not be limited to the Thunder Cars however, as #71 “Scrap Iron” Pete Gettliffe of Mactier, #29 Ray LaHay of Orillia, and #00 Joe Dunlop of Barrie would all make their first Barrie appearances of 2014. Of the group, Gettliffe the father of defending division champ Mike would record the best feature race result with a 11th place finish in a strong 21 car field, while LaHay would finish his first feature start in 18th place, while Dunlop would suffer mehanical misfortune in warm ups and wasn’t able to take the green in any of the evening’s races.
Be sure to join us this coming Saturday May 24 as all three regular divisions are back in action as well as the one and only Barrie Speedway stop of the 2014 season for the Ontario Legends Series who brought an impressive 18 cars to their season opener this past weekend at Peterbouough Speedway, as defending series champ #14 Nick Ledson went to victory lane and leads a strong contingent of drivers set to invade the High Line for their second race of the season. Pit gates open at 1pm, with spectator gates open for business at 5pm, and green flag slated to drop at 6pm sharp. If this past weekend’s Barrie Speedway action is any indication this will prove to be a can’t miss event!!!!