After celebrating the career of the Polish Prince Jim Beleskey and some rough features last weekend, the drivers at Barrie Speedway are looking for a much smoother night on Saturday night that translate to less work during the following week. Tight quarters sometimes can produce some of the best racing, but can sometimes also produce carnage. Carnage was the theme for the Late Models last week as many teams have been replacing body panels and more this week.
With everything fixed and ready to go, though, fans should be in for some awesome action as this weekend it’s time for Mid Season Championship Night, where the drivers run longer features and the mid-season points leader is awarded for their efforts.
Wahta Spring Late Models
Last weekend, Rick Walt continued to show the speed that has made him a top contender to date this season, winning both 30-lap features. For Walt, it also marked his fifth feature win in the last eight nights and the second time this year that he’d done the nightly sweep. Starting at the rear of the field each week, Walt has proved that he can come through and pick up the win. With 20 extra laps for both features this coming week, Walt is defiantely the favourite going into the weekend for the victory.
After a fourth and a third last weekend, Gord Shepherd comes into this weekend leading the points by 16 points over Dwight Brown. Given the fact that Shepherd always seem to find his way to the top five in the features, Shepherd should without much reasonable doubt be the mid-season champion. However, if something does happen, Brown could sneak in and grab the crown. Shepherd has done well in avoiding poor finishes so far this year, with only two finishes outside of the top six in 14 features. Even though he got some heavy body damage on Saturday night in the second feature, he still came back to finish fourth – showing the qualities that have led him the championship before. Still, anything is possible.
Brown has been solid this year, picking up two victories on the season to date. However, three finishes of seventh have hurt Brown in the points. Still, Brown has impressed as this marks his first full season at Barrie Speedway after running Kawartha Speedway and Mosport the past couple of years.
Triple Sick Skin Thunder Cars
On Saturday night, Luke Gignac picked up his fourth feature victory and has finished inside the top four in each of the seven features this year. With that said and a 35 point lead over the No. 12 (Jim Beleskey/Rick Walt) heading into the weekend, Gignac will be your mid-season champion. Now wouldn’t it be stylish if he could celebrate it with a win in the 40-lap feature?
Speaking of Rick Walt, he made the jump to late model after winning the championship the past two seasons. Though with Beleskey’s back injury, Walt was asked to jump behind the wheel of his ride. Whether Walt will run the mid-season is not known at press time, however if he is in the field he will be one to watch. Walt has posted finishes of fourth and third the past two weeks.
Desi Walt is the most consistent driver this year – without a feature victory. Currently sitting third in points, the lone female thunder car driver has not finished worst than ninth this year, including three top-five finishes. Walt could easily become the fifth different winner in the Thunder Car division in this weekend’s 40-lap feature.
St. Onge Recreation Pure Stocks
After finishing second in the standings last year, Doug Butler is pulling out all the stops this year in an attempt to grab the crown, scoring a third place feature finish last Saturday night. With no finish outside of the top three to date including three wins, Butler looks to be on his way to holding the mid-season crown. He will enter Saturday night with a 17 point advantage over defending champion Mike Gettliffe.
Last Saturday night, Justin Holmes picked up his first feature victory of the season. Holmes missed the first month of racing due to injury, but has been strong since returning behind the wheel. Expect Holmes to once again be strong this weekend when the rubber hits the road.
Each week, Brandon Crumbie continues to get stronger and it’s been very evident the last two weeks with a fifth and a second place finish. Crumbie is no stranger to the division and a victory on Saturday night would be a welcome return to glory.