On Saturday night at Barrie Speedway, the track officials would try and get in a full night of racing with multiple attempts at drying the track, though would unfortunately have to call the Garry Reynolds Memorial short with rain continuing to fall.
Before the rain took over the show, though, there was some exciting racing on track for the fans that certainly will be remembered for weeks to come in the form of three Late Model heats.
2014 Barrie Speedway Track Champion Gord Shepherd would take the win convincingly in the first heat. Shepherd has won the championship at Barrie three of the past four seasons and did so this year with seven feature victories. Shepherd has also started off his Short Track Playoff season on a high note as he finished sixth in Sunset Speedway’s 125 lapper last Thursday night. Sunset Speedway regular Thayne Hallyburton finished second, which marks no surprise as he ran the full Barrie Speedway schedule in 2013, winning eight features. Barrie regular Frank Davey finished third, followed by Sunset regulars Nick Goetz and Gary Elliott. Mike Langley and J.P. Josiasse rounded out the field.
The second heat would feature a series of excitement as they actually ran the majority of the heat in the sprinkling rain. The first caution would fly on lap two when Shawn McGlynn would go around in turn one, with Travis Hallyburton and Marcus Keeler following suit. Then on the restart, Darryl St. Onge would cut down on Rick Walt through both ends of the track, resulting in a cut right front tire for Walt. The third and final caution would fly on lap three for McGlynn going around once again.
Sunset Speedway regular Taylor Holdaway would take the victory after starting the heat from the back of the field. Holdaway is off to a spectacular start in the Short Track Playoff season as he won the Canadian Limited Late Model Championship 125 on Thursday night at Sunset Speedway. He also won Sunset’s year-end 100 lap feature to finish second in points. 2014 Sunset Speedway Rookie of the Year Hallyburton finished second, followed by St. Onge, Scott Beatty, Keeler and McGlynn. Notably, this was Keeler’s first official late model start (besides running the mechanic’s races at Barrie) as he is normally crew chiefing for Shepherd.
Below is the video as posted by Ridge Road Racing of the heat.
The final heat would go to Tim Watson, whom isn’t a familiar name with younger fans across the province of Ontario. Watson is the father of 2013 OSCAAR Super Late Model Champion Brandon Watson and can normally be seen on the pit box, crew chiefing for his son. Barrie Speedway regular Rob Bromley finished second, followed by Allan Inglis and Andrew Kamrath; Kamrath was running Rick Walt’s back-up late model, along with his Pure Stock on Saturday night. Roy Monary and Jack Horner would round out the field on-track. Mike Brown had started the heat, though found pit road early as a result of mechanical issues.
If the feature would’ve ran, here was the planned line-up with the dice roll of six – Bromley, Travis Hallyburton, Thayne Hallyburton, Holdaway, Watson, Shepherd, Davey, St. Onge, Inglis, Johnston, Beatty, Elliott, Keeler, Monary, Langley, McGlynn, Horner, Josiasse, Walt, Brown and Kamrath.
With the Garry Reynolds Memorial in the books, the late model drivers will turn their round to the third round of the Short Track Playoffs – the Velocity 250. A 100 lap feature lies ahead for the stars of the late model division in their return trip to Sunset Speedway. Taylor Holdaway will be looking to keep the win streak going, but Mike Bentley will be looking to spoil the party after finishing second. Brandon Watson posted a third place finish in the 125 lapper last Thursday, but it is unclear as of press time whether he’ll be in attendance. Other favourites to watch will be Tom Walters, Sean Cronan, Scott Beatty, Jason Parker, Ryan Kimball and Nick Goetz as they try to repeat their solid performances from Thursday. Then there’s Jason Witty, Chris Morrow and Dwayne Baker who are looking for redemption after dropping out of the race early as a result of either mechanical issues or a wreck.