Saturday night showed fan appreciation night is about much more than cheap admission and a chance to get up close with the drivers and cars: the drivers put on quite a show for all to see as a first time winner fended off some tough challengers in the late models, a rivalry developed in the Four Funs, and The Renegade Trucks changed lead no fewer than seven times.
It’s been a long wait for Steve Foster, but patience over the last seven years paid off as he took home his first Vanguard Self Storage Late Model victory at Peterborough Speedway, Canada’s Toughest 1/3 Mile Oval. Though he started pole in the main event, it was no easy run to the checkered flag. The first challenger was Craig Graham, but he was no match for a hard-charging Cory Horner who came from ninth to second in just a few laps. His momentum couldn’t take the #71 car on the outside and some nudging from behind couldn’t unsettle Foster enough to give Horner an opening. Then Kelly Balson gave a run for the front, pulling under Horner but unable to find a way around Foster.
Earlier in the night, Mike Wallace was showing everyone his #27 was dialed in as he handily won the first heat with Foster trailing back in second. In the second heat it was Craig Graham that jumped to the front and held on to the end, a move Horner repeated in heat 3 and Bryan Sudsbury repeated in heat 4.
In the Paul Davis Systems Thunder Cars, Saturday night was all about Donnie Beatty and his flying #40. Andy Ford gave Beatty a hard run in the first heat, driving Dan Price’s #09 racecar, but he later dropped back to third as Craig Scott pulled his car into second place behind Beatty. After some mechanical troubles in the first heat, Matt Spence dominated the second heat despite pressure from Beatty. In the 20 lap feature race, it was Beatty on pole. Spence was able to climb from fifth to second in only two laps, but Beatty had already opened up some distance on his lead, too much for Spence to reel in. With only two laps to go, Spence’s right front wheel began belching smoke and slowing him down. With Ford closing in on him, Spence kept the gas pedal down and finished second with Ford hot on his heels.
Joe Craven jumped into the lead at the start of the first heat in the Battlefield Equipment Rental Four Funs, but James Townsend chased him down and took the win. The second heat proved to be a battle between Ryan Oosterholt and Griffen Powell. Powell tried to find a way around Oosterholt, but had to settle for second place. In heat 3, it was John Carr to the front, only to have Ray Schroer snatch the lead away, who in turn was passed by Townsend who ran way with the lead. In one fell swoop, Powell jumped from fourth to first in heat 4, stay in front through to the end. Andrew Massey was looking for a feature win, splitting the leaders for a successful 3-wide bid for the lead in turn 1. Behind him, a rivalry was developing as Craven, unable to get by, bumped Rob Gosse out of the way. This move earned Craven a spot a the back where Gosse retaliated and spun him out on the restart. In took him a few laps, but Craven was able to catch up to Gosse and give him a final spin before getting black flagged from the race. Up front, Powell found a way around Massey, holding onto the lead for the win.
The Hurricane Midgets touring series made one of its regular stops at Peterborough Speedway, bringing nearly 30 cars onto Canada’s Toughest 1/3 Mile Oval. Jamie Bound ran away with the lead in heat 1 with Brian Woodland and Kelly Summers in pursuit. Rob McLean and Jesse Brown had a good start in the second heat, but got tangled, opening the door for Rob McCall to shoot into the lead on the restart, a position he held through to the end. In the B Main, Brian MacDonald defended his lead with Jaike Haywood Robert Summers trailing in second and third. The feature race ground to a halt shortly after it began as a half-dozen cars got into each other coming out of turn 2, bring out a red flag as Dave Burrows ended up in the outside wall and Haywood got t-boned. McCall jumped to the front on the restart, only to have another yellow come out as Lorne Van Dusen, Lawson, Shawn Gardner, and Ryan Brown all went for a spin along the back straight. When the racing got back underway, it was McCall to the front again, but Bound was in hot pursuit. Bound tried numerous times to get around the leader, but had to settle for second with Woodland trailing in third.
As Bill O’Harra took the lead in heat 1 of the Moi Parry Spring Service Renegade Trucks, the battle for second place was heating up as Tyler Junkin tried to pull by Jack Dallin on the high line. The pair seemed locked side-by-side for several laps before Junkin’s #41 Cadillac spun away in a cloud of tire smoke. After disappointment in heat 1, Junkin jumped to the front in heat 2 and held on until the checked flag came out. The feature race proved to be an exciting match. Stephen Bierworth took the lead off the start from his second place starting position, but his truck got loose and dropped back, only to have Dallin spin out on the front straight and give the lead over to O’Harra. Junkin pulled to the outside of O’Harra, only to have O’Harra give his rear end a nudge and send both cars spinning to the back of the pack. This put Bierworth back in the lead, only to get passed again by Dallin, who in turn was later passed by Junkin, who then drove his #41 to victory.
It wasn’t just cars racing around Canada’s Toughest 1/3 Mile Oval Saturday night as children took to the track on their bicycles. After some confusion about where exactly the finish line for the 3 to 6-year-olds was located, it was Jack Russel who sprinted by the checkered flag first. In the 1-lap 7 to 9-year-old class, it came down to a photo finish as Michael Marsh edged by the race leader at the last second. For the 10 to 13-year-olds, Garret Oh ran away with the lead, handily fending off all challengers.