With the recent news that Barrie Speedway has been sold and the future is unknown as to whether there will be racing in 2015 and beyond, it makes the previous season that much more important in the eyes of many drivers and fans.
Here are some of the moments that stood out….
Any win a driver can capture is special – but some wins are that much more special. For Rick Walt during the middle of summer, there was one of those extra special wins. The first feature didn’t go as Walt would’ve planned, with contact between him and a fellow competitor resulting in heavy front end damage to his ride.
The unique thing with Barrie, though, is they run a pair of features each night. Not willing to give up, the Walt Motorsports team went to work immediately to fix the damage and have the car on track for the second feature later that night. Mission accomplished.
Starting at the back with a car that had no front end on it, it seemed as though it’d probably be one of those get as many points as possible and move on nights. Yeah, that wasn’t the case. The car was a rocket and Rick Walt carved his way through the field, taking the lead just past halfway to score the victory.
The night showed just how much speed Walt had – which would equal eight feature victories in his rookie season – as well as the determination that was held by the entire team.
Not only my first win but my second and third, as well as being able to race with people like Justin Holmes, Doug Butler, Ryan Toon, Dean Curry, James Cairns, and Mike Gettliffe. All of whom I couldn’t keep up with before. It was a fantastic year and being able to bring home the Most Improved Driver award was the icing on the cake. I’m sure I’ve missed mentioning people and I’m sorry – Randi Sequin
One of the Mini Stock regulars at Barrie Speedway, Randi Sequin can always be spotted on the pits working on her car to get stronger. With added laps and experience, as well as some advice from others, she has continued to improve with each lap around the track. This year was no exception, as noted by her comment.
Winning Rookie Of The Year In the Pure Stocks. June 7th was my first top 5 in a heat… And July 5th was my first time getting back to back top 5’s in my heats, (5th and 4th). Actually, July 5th was my first top 10 in the feature (8th) Also my first blown motor… Blew up as i crossed the Finish Line.. Lol That was the night of the big wreck… (My first multi car pile up). Also, the fastest I have ever seen my crew work to get me back out there LOL – Paul Bogensberger Jr.
Rookie drivers are always fun to watch as you never know what to expect. For Bogensberger Jr., it was gaining experience and getting stronger with more laps under his belt, as noted by his comment.
Though beyond the pair of drivers mentioned here with their specific comments, the list of names that she mentioned just touches upon the level of talent in Barrie’s Mini Stock division. Sometimes the underrated group of the province due to not picking up wins at invitationals all over, there’s a solid six or seven drivers that can win on any given night, and run top-10 at any track in the province. They also know how to race close and clean with respect, having put on some of the best racing throughout the years.
On that note, there were a couple photo finishes throughout the year that stand out. There was Doug Butler barely edging James Townsend at the line to win the heat during the Garry Reynolds Memorial, followed by Andy Kamrath coming through the field in his heat to edge Ryan Toon at the line.
Unfortunately, the Garry Reynolds Memorial never got completed as a result of rain. Certainly a disappointment considering the timing of the sale of the speedway, however it shouldn’t be left on an unhappy note. The event was a great idea by APEX Motorsports to honor one of Barrie Speedway’s greats, and then got even better when they turned it into an event to remember all fallen racers. The amount of talent that showed up through the years to pay their respects, and the racing that they put on. The series of champions -Dwayne Baker, Mike Bentley, Dave Doucette, etc – that will forever be etched in history as winners of the event.
Though also, the effort that the track crew put in that night to try and get the show in despite the fact that the rain didn’t want to let up. While wet weather can be the more frustrating thing, it also can show the determination that a track crew can have.
There is also the party that happened after the racing was cal….Oh wait, that shouldn’t be mentioned.
Anyways, getting back on track, there were other close finishes at Barrie Speedway, outside of their regular divisions that ran there every week.
Jason Hathaway would prove early that he had the dominant car, searching for his second straight victory on the 1/3 mile oval. He would lead a good chunk of the first half, before heading down pit road mid-race. Restarting midpack, Hathaway would drive his No. 3 Rockstar Energy/Princess Auto/Fast Eddie Racewear Chevrolet back to the front, retaking the lead at lap 174. Hathaway then began to stretch the lead out, but it wouldn’t last as there’d be three cautions in the span of 44 laps, setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Hathaway would then run side-by-side with Fitzpatrick for the final pair of laps, with Hathaway getting the advantage at the line for the victory.
Not necessarily a photo finish, the OSCAAR Super Late Models also had a thrilling feature in June. Every fan loves a late race duel and that is exactly what the super lates delivered. The final 10 laps of the race featured an intense battle for the lead, with Kevin Cornelius and Andrew Gresel battling back and forth. In the end, it was Cornelius that would take home the victory for his first career OSCAAR Super Late Model feature victory.
“That’s it – Andrew Gresel, the kid right there can wheel a car,” Cornelius commented post-race. “That makes it easier when you’re racing a guy that you can respect like that and will give you the room to race cleanly. We did touch the odd time, but it was nothing serious and we both carried on. All the credit goes to him for that.”
By the way, huge praise for Amanda, Dan and the OSCAAR video team for posting all the races on Youtube. This will be one that fans will be going back to watch for awhile.
When a racing car cash right in front of me, I thought it might hit me but it stopped. I have a photo of the car in my photos – Tammy B.
Over the season, Barrie Speedway certainly had its hard wrecks that resulted in some cars receiving more damage than they would’ve liked to receive. Certainly not a moment that a driver wants to remember, but the thing that stood out was everybody kept coming back and kept fighting hard.
On that note……
My favourite memory was after rolling my car, everybody running to get her back on the track! I’m going to miss my home and my racing family – Desi Walt
There’s something that you got to remember with short track racing – anything is possible. Contact happens and that results in hits with the wall, and sometimes the combination can result in a car rolling over on it’s roof. That was the story the one night for Desi Walt in her heat as she ended up going for the roll. Thankfully, no injuries.
As Desi points out, though, there’s more to the story. As soon as the car was in the pits, between family and friends, work began to return the car to the track later that night to start the feature to at least get points. Once again, mission accomplished as the No. 21 car was in the feature later that night.
Racing is all about family. You have your family of friends that you end up creating by spending time together at the track. You begin your life going to the track as a kid with your parents, falling in love with the racecars. For some, that love eventually turns into driving – hence the huge list of second, and third-generation drivers to have hit the 1/3 mile oval of Barrie Speedway through the years.
Garry Reynolds is Barrie Speedway’s winningest driver of all-time and certainly holds a special place in the heart of many. For those who got to witness Garry race, and even now hearing stories of his success, they get to see the family tradition live on.
Reynolds’ grandson Jordan Latimer embarked on the full Thunder Car schedule at Barrie Speedway, set to make his own mark after winning a bunch in go-karts. You can officailly say that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree as Latimer quickly proved early in teh season that he knew his way around the track, running upfront, posting top-five finishes.
June 22, 2014. That is a date that the 14-year-old will forever have etched in his memory. That was the night that he got to visit feature victory lane for the first time in his career. Standing in victory lane, there was a couple tears to be had – tears of happiness for the young man, tears of perhaps sadness – no, couldn’t be that – but thinking of the history and meaning.
If this was indeed the final season for Barrie Speedway to host racing, there’s one known – fans got treated with a lot of great racing, and a taste of tradition and history this past season.