Saturday, May 31st Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval hosted the first of this year’s 3 Toonie Admission/Fan Appreciation Nights, presented by Pepsi. The Ontario Modifieds Racing Series – powered by Torque Builders Inc. joined Peterborough Speedway’s Battlefield Equipment Rental 4Fun, Paul Davis Systems Thunder Car, Earl Ireland Auto Sales Late Model divisions, along with the Ontario Legends for a hot night of action.
Qualifying heats rolled to the line with the Battlefield Equipment Rental 4Fun machines the first to take the green flag. Willow Barberstock with a pair, Jeff Scott and Ray Schroer earned a trip to the Dart Heating and Air Conditioning victory lane. 8 lap preliminary rounds for the Paul Davis Systems Thunder Cars went to Fedelle DiBello, Howie Crowe, Anthony DiBello and Brad Lavalle.
Ontario Legends ran a quartet of 10 lap heat races, with Jaret Stewart, Matt Haufe with a pair and Duane Cinnamon picking-up the wins. Chris Mitchell, surviving a late race challenge from Ryan Kimball and 2013 track champion Craig Graham took the Earl Ireland Auto Sales Late Model heats, while Rob Warnes with a pair, Nick Lees and Rick Warnes claimed the Ontario Modifieds Racing Series qualifying rounds.
After an on-track autograph session at intermission, feature race action got underway with a 20 lapper for the Battlefield Equipment Rental 4Fun teams. Marilyn Junkin and Scott Brooks brought the field to the green flag.
Kenny Ohno Jr. and Willow Barberstock jumped out early and took control of the field. The event’s first yellow flag appeared with 4 laps complete, when the rear bumper cover came off Ohno’s #29 machine. Barberstock and Brooks brought the field back to green, but the yellow was out again a lap later, with contact in the 3rd turn. Daniel Williams – making his first career start – went around in the 4th turn to bring out another yellow, with 7 in the books. Barberstock was able to use the lapped machine of Williams as a pick to take a 10 car length lead with 13 complete. Even a red flag with 19 laps recorded couldn’t keep Willow Barberstock from claiming the first win of her career. Matthew Vanderbelt, Marilyn Junkin, Colin Parkes and Bill Carr completed the top 5.
The Paul Davis Systems Thunder Car feature was next to hit the grid, as Tom Podd and Kevin Hinds brought a dozen machines to the stripe, but a grinding wreck in turns 3 and 4 saw the #4 of Andrew Swindells sustain serious damage, while the #14 of Steve Mayhew left the track on the hook.
On the restart, the 3rd and 4th place runners of Donny Beatty and Dan Price looked for spots at the front of the field, but couldn’t make the move successfully. 4 laps were complete when Hinds was pinched into the outside backstretch wall and briefly rode the concrete on 2 wheels before landing back on all 4. Price was the leader with 8 complete, while Howie Crowe worked the outside line to perfection to move into second spot. A yellow flag for debris slowed the pace with 12 in the books. Beatty used the opportunity to lead pit-side to replace a flag left front tire. Crowd favourite Dan Price would bring the field back to racing speed, with Crowe on his outside flank. The #09 of Price held off a late race charge from both Anthony and Fedelle DiBello to record his first career main event win. Howie Crowe and Andrew Swindells were 4th and 5th at the stripe.
It would be a 25 lap affair to settle the nights action for the Ontario Legends, with Jaret Stewart and Matt Haufe at the front of the field. As the leaders rolled-up on the tail of the pack, the cars of Dave Riopelle and Duane Cinnamon made contact on the exit of the second turn, with both drivers sent to the rear for the lap 7 re-start. Close to a half a dozen machines were involved in a wreck with 8 complete that would necessitate a red flag. Defending series champion Nickolas Ledson and Haufe ran side-by-side for close to 6 laps, until encountering slower cars at the rear of the field. Haufe would use the lapped cars to his advantage and took the top spot, holding on for the win. Ledson, Stewart, Bill Mason and Riopelle finished out the top 5.
The Earl Ireland Auto Sales Late Models were set to do 25 laps next, with Craig Parry and Craig Graham starting from the front row. After a couple of weeks where luck wasn’t on his side, Graham would jump out to the early lead, bringing Chris Mitchell in tow. 11 laps were complete when Ryan Kimball muscled past Parry to take 3rd spot. Yellow conditions were on the speedway when Adam Cuthbertson and Derek Lynch came together on the exit of the second turn. Both cars took their position at the tail of the field for the re-start. It was a spirited battle throughout the pack and when a late race spin by Jack Horner created a green-white-checkered finish, Chris Mitchell would use a bump and run to get past Graham for the win. The defending champion would cross the line second but voiced his displeasure with the winner; as did 3rd place finishing Ryan Kimball. Parry and Cuthbertson rounded-out the top 5 finishers.
Randy Hollingsworth and Bill Burrows would pace the field of Ontario Modifieds Racing Series runners to the green flag. There were a couple of laps complete when the yellow was displayed for Rick Warnes, who had slowed on the front stretch. The original 20 lap race distance would flash by quickly, as Mike Poulton was chased around Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval by twin brothers Alex and Nick Lees. Nick Lees used the inside line in the 4th turn to take the lead on the re-start, with Rob Warnes in tow and Poulton slipped back to 3rd. Simultaneous incidents for Hollingsworth and Alex Lees created a 5 lap shootout for all the marbles. Nick Lees would hang on for the win, over Rob Warnes, Poulton, Chad Strawn and Bill Burrows.
Bullring Bullet Points: Carl O’Connell may have paid just a toonie to get into the show, but he left with $793.00 in his pocket after winning the 50/50 draw…1987 Late Model track champion Derek Lynch – who began his racing career at the age of 14 – made his Peterborough Speedway return, driving the Larry Crowe Sr. owned #66 machine. While he is quite familiar with the layout of the tight, tricky bullring on Mount Pleasant Road, west of the Liftlock City, Lynch saw his ride for the first time when he climbed into the driver’s seat and recorded an 8th place finish aboard the unknown piece.
Action returns to Peterborough Speedway Saturday, June 7th with Battlefield Equipment Rental 4Fun, Peterborough Hyundai Mini Stock, Parry Spring Service Renegade Truck and Earl Ireland Auto Sales Late Model racing. The Ontario Modifieds Racing Series will also be on hand for their second show of the year.
Fans can always find the latest news at www.peterboroughspeedway.com or following the track on Facebook or Twitter. You can also download the free Peterborough Speedway app on your Smartphone.