After the first couple of attempts to kick-off the new season fell victim to Mother Nature, Peterborough Speedway was finally able to launch its 2018 schedule – Saturday, June 2nd – with the year’s first Summer Toonie Night, presented by Pepsi.
The hometown Late Models were first to hit the track for feature race action, with Steve Powell and Mark Gordon pacing the field for the 50 lapper. Gordon – who has raced provincially in a number of different divisions throughout his career – took an early lead from his outside front row starting spot, while as many as 5 challengers looked to wrestle the 2nd spot away from Powell. Former track champions Derek Lynch and Dan McHattie – along with previous Autumn Colours Classic victor Chris Mitchell – used the inside line to get around the #72 machine and set-off in pursuit of the leader. Another Late Model championship alumni – Amanda Balson – took over the 5th spot with 7 laps complete. The race’s only yellow flag waved just past halfway but even after the pack was re-racked, no one had anything for Gordon. Balson claimed the runner-up position with Lynch, McHattie and James Horner rounding out the top 5.
Qualifying heats went to Lynch, Mitchell, McHattie and Mike Wallace.
Kent Missons and Tiffany Vandebelt brought the Jiffy Lube Mini Stocks from the staging area for their 20 lap headline dance. Missons – wheeling his bright yellow #10K – took control and held a dominating advantage as he worked through some of the slower cars with a little more than a handful of laps complete. Ember Junkin moved into the runner-up spot was looking to catch the leader when the yellow flag waved for an issue on the back stretch with fewer than 5 laps remaining. Ryan Oosterholt used the restart to challenge the leader, but another yellow flag created a green, white, checkered finish that gave Missons the opening night victory over Oosterholt, Ryan DiBello, Gil Brooks and Ember Junkin in positions 2nd through 5th.
Junkin, Oosterholt, DiBello and newcomer Josh Bullen scored heat race wins.
Bill O’Hara and Ryan Oosterholt lead the way as the Trent Lakes Complete Plumbing Renegade Trucks came to the line for their first main event of the year. A yellow flag on the initial start brought the pack back together. At the controls of the machine that captured the 2017 track championship, Oosterholt took the lead on lap 6 and was the class of the field on the way to the checkered flag. Newcomer Jeff Dolley earned the runner-up spot, with Stephen Bierworth, O’Hara and another first-timer – Terri-Anne Whittern – taking 5th.
O’Hara and Oosterholt also picked-up preliminary round checkered flags.
The Trailers Plus Ontario Legends Series came to the line 26 cars strong, with Miles Tyson and Dave Riopelle showing the way for their 25 lap feature. Tyson took an early lead, with some excellent racing throughout the pack. Invader Alex McCollum – of Phillipsburg, New Jersey – claimed the top spot with 4 laps complete and caught the tail-end of the field a lap later. Peterborough’s tricky turn 2 proved to be a problem spot, as yellow flags for single car issues slowed the pace on lap 10 and 13. Another caution flew with just over a handful of circuits remaining, but McCollum was able to hold-off a late race charge by Riopelle in the tune-up for July’s Canadian Legends Asphalt Nationals. Matt Haufe, Kevin Foisy and Wes Cuthbertson completed the top 5.
Haufe, Foisy, McCollum and Riopelle won the Ontario Legends qualifiers.
With 20 laps to settle the score, John Lavalle and reigning track champion Jeremy Kelly introduced the crowd to Bone Stock racing at Peterborough Speedway. Kelly took control of the field early, with his brother Jake moving into 2nd spot. There was action all around Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval, with the leaders catching slower traffic with 6 circuits on the scoreboard. As the backmarkers battled for their own position, the front runners encountered cars running 2 or 3 wide in search for the opening night win. Just as they finished last year’s point standings, Jeremy Kelly held-off Sean Kennedy for the checkered flag. Ryan Oosterholt, Chris Tubman and Shawn Solomon rounded-out the fast 5.
Bone Stock heat wins went to Tubman, Malcolm ‘Pops’ MacDonald, Solomon, Oosterholt, Lavalle and Kennedy.
All race results are unofficial and subject to scoring review, as well as post-race technical and safety inspection.
Bullring Bullet Points: Ryan Oosterholt was a busy driver, seeing action in 3 of the 4 Peterborough Speedway regular racing divisions. The former Mini Stock and 4Fun track champion had a main event win to go along with 2nd and 3rd place feature finishes…Opening night car counts were strong in every division, with over 30 Bone Stock machines in the pits making it necessary to run a last-chance qualifier…The night’s 50/50 draw ticket 510825 for $1290 was unclaimed. The person holding that ticket has until midnight Friday, June 8th to contact the track at 705.743.5880 or the amount will be added to the prize awarded Saturday, June 9th.
Action at Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval continues Saturday, June 9th with the home track Battlefield Equipment Rental Bone Stock, Jiffy Lube Mini Stock, Late Model and a Super Stock qualifier for the upcoming Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa Motor Speedway. Also on the docket will be the 2018 debut for the Ontario Modifieds Racing Series, along with Kid’s Rides at intermission. Pit gates open at 2:30, with the spectator grandstands unlocked at 5:00 and the first green flag at 6:00.
Full schedule information, race results and track news can always be found at www.peterboroughspeedway.com, by liking Peterborough Speedway on Facebook and following it on Twitter. Fans can also download the free track Smartphone app.
Photo attachment: Morgan Amber Photography