Thursday, September 23, 2021

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Grassroots Racing Series Launches With A Stellar Show

Grassroots Racing Series Media

The Grassroots gospel continues to spread.

It was easily the season’s most anticipated motorsports event in Central Ontario. Friday, June 6th stock car racing returned to the popular 3/8th mile Kawartha Speedway, with the inaugural show for the Grassroots Racing Series. With the weather Gods smiling on promoter Andrew McFadden and his team, fans were welcomed to the Fraserville, Ontario oval for a terrific evening of action.

Thunder Car teams were the first division to take starter Tom Ingram’s green flag, with John Baker Jr. and Willie Reyns taking the qualifying heat and semi feature victories. Ennismore, Ontario’s Tyler Junkin claimed the Mini Stock/4Fun preliminary rounds. Bryan Mercer and Derek Lynch took the Late Model heat race and semi feature, while Matt Haufe and Nick Ledson shared the Ontario Legends’ qualifiers.

Feature race battles began with the Thunder Cars and fans saw some strong action throughout the pack. The main event ran clean and green until contact between Howie Crowe and Ross Evans sent both drivers to the rear with16 laps complete. At the front of the field, it was the John Baker Jr. show, as the Oshawa, Ontario speedster entered the history booksas the first ever Grassroots Racing Series feature winner. The driver of the #63 was chased across the stripe by former Kawartha track champion Willie Reyns, Norm Mayhew, wheeling a machine from his father Steve’s shop. Crowe and Evans were 4th and 5th.

With the Mini Stock and 4Fun divisions running together, it was time for the next main event. As the Thunder Car teams had done just before them, the 4 cylinder crews ran nearly a flawless feature. Only a late race solo spin by Eric Thompson slowed the pace and created the need for a green-white-checkered finish. Even that short pause couldn’t keep Tyler Junkin from completing his clean sweep of the division. The #41 was followed to the line by Craig Martin, Ryan Oosterholt, Donovan Price and Danny Benedict to wrap-up the Mini Stock top 5. The #83 of Andrew Massey was the first 4Fun driver across the line.

The Ontario Legends will be a regular fixture during the Grassroots Series, running invitational events during all 8 shows and the division came to the line with a dozen starters for their 20 lap feature tilt. Even with some excellent racing throughout the field, the first 5 drivers broke from the pack early and battled hard from green to checkered, while ironically maintaining their exact running order for the entire race distance. Capital City Speedway regular and frequent Kawartha race winner Kevin Foisey picked-up the win over Matt Haufe, Nick Ledson, Brian Saunders and Jaret Stewart.

The final order of business for the first night of Grassroots Racing Series action was a 30 lap feature tilt for the Late Models. After a spin by polesitter Bob KIsh delayed the original start, things settled down nicely and the drivers were able to get into a rhythm. Bryan Mercer went for a quick spin with the lap counter showing 17 complete. He took the #81 Chevy to the pits to have the crew check things over, then rejoined the field for the restart. At the front of the pack, it the ‘Norwood’ versus ‘Norwood’ battle, as Derek Lynch – steering a Larry Crowe Sr. owned machine – was leading Ryan Kimball’s #73 Janzen Racing ride. Just behind the leaders, Dave Morgan and Dan McHattie were swapping the 3rd and 4th positions lap after lap, with Morgan edging the all-time Kawartha Late Model win leader for the spot. Mercer would rebound to finish 5th, but no one was touching the lead duo. Lynch, who began his career at the age of 14 and has won at every level scored the win with Kimball tight on his tail as they crossed the stripe.

Grassroots Racing Series notebook: The car Derek Lynch wheeled into victory lane began its raceday with the #53 on its doors and roof. The former Kyle Donaldson campaigned Chevrolet was converted to Larry Crowe Sr’s #66 thanks to some hard work by Norm Mayhew of Mayhew Graphics…Mayhew, who is a former Kawartha Thunder Car feature winner and currently runs in the Pro Late Model division at Brighton Speedway was putting his father’s new McColl Racing Enterprises Thunder Car through its paces.

Next action for the Grassroots Racing Series will take place Sunday, June 15th and will include the Late Model, Thunder Car, Mini Stock/4Fun and Ontario Legend divisions, along with a ‘Call of the Wild’ open competition event and demonstration by the Kawartha-Durham Kart Club. Full details can always be found by visiting and clicking the ‘Grassroots Racing’ tab.

Prepared by: Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media

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