THE VOKEY REPORT
By Dave Vokey
Walt and Pepin Take Checkered Flags at High Line
With just over a month remaining in the 2014 race season Barrie Speedway drivers were anxious to put on another stellar show for the crowd on hand on August 9 as part of the Dock 104.1 FM Night. The evenings big winners were #31 Rick Walt of Hawkestone and #91 Andre Pepin of Midland, as each driver captured a 30 lap feature win in the track's featured Wahta Springs Late Model division, further cementing their stature within the top 5 in the season long point standings. Walt, who would capture the win in the initial 30 lap race had to work diligently to find the front, finally taking the lead with 5 laps remaining after a game fight from ironically enough the 91 of Pepin, who had a night to remember of his own in recording the previously mentioned win along with a strong runner up showing. With four points nights remaining, defending track champ #10 Gord Shepherd of Oro Station continues to hold a 18 point advantage over second place #12 Dwight Brown of Beeton, while Walt sits third just 30 behind, with the feature win vaulting Pepin to fourth just 44 points in back of the division lead, and 2 slender markers in front of 2010 track champ #69 Al "Red Rocket" Inglis who completes the top 5.
In the first 30 lap feature it was Pepin who broke out to a two car length lead at the front of the pack, after gaining the advantage on pole sitter #49 "Flyin" Frank Davey from the drop of the green. On lap 5, it was Walt who was beginning to make noise near the front of the field after starting in sixth position on the grid, working to the inside of Davey for 2nd and completing a pass on the exit of turn two. Nearing the ten lap mark, it was Shepherd who began to challenge Davey for position, diving down to the inside of his fellow competitor out of turn two as the two drivers waged a solid door handle to door handle battle, with neither driver gaining a clear cut advantage. By lap 14, Walt had now found himself on the back bumper of race leader Pepin, having a brief look to the inside in an effort to find the point, with Pepin holding firm and able to momentarily maintain the race lead. A little further in back of the battle for the race lead, the 10 of Shepherd would finally make his way past Davey for 3rd, quickly leading the way for the 12 of Brown to follow into fourth in the running order.
It was on lap 22 the race suddenly hit a fevered pitch, as Walt would once again carve down inside Pepin for the race lead, with the talented duo waging a tough yet clean 3 lap wheel to wheel dice for the race lead, as Walt would put his #31 out front with a surge of power while racing into turn one. Over the duration, the best battle on track was the duel for 5th, as Davey and the 69 of Inglis had a fierce dice for that position, as Inglis has a couple looks to Davey's inside while racing down the backstretch, but was unable to make a potential pass stick. It was clear that once out front the race was division rookie Walt's race to lose, and the driver wouldn't disappoint, hitting all his marks along the way in capturing his division leading 9th feature win of the season by a slender 2 car lengths over Pepin at the finish. Shepherd, would get his night started under solid footing with a 3rd place effort, while Brown and Davey would round out the top five.
In the 30 lap finale to the evening, it was the 49 of Davey who took the initial lead from the outside pole position after powering past #44 Rob Bromley from the drop of the green. Quickly following the Davey progression on the outside line was the duo of Pepin and Brown, as they too would work past the 44 of Bromley to check into 2nd and 3rd respectively. On lap 5, the first caution of the evening in the division would appear as the 31 of Walt would make slight contact with the 10 of Shepherd while attempting an inside pass between turns 3&4. The result would see Shepherd back his car into the outside retaining wall on the exit of turn 4, as both drivers were summoned arrears for the restart deemed involved cars. On the restart, Davey was again quick to find the point, with a hard charge from Pepin on the outside momentarily coming to a halt as the driver had to fend off a strong challenge to the inside from the 12 of Brown who was attempting to wrestle away runner up positioning. The race's 2nd and final caution would fly on lap 12, once again for an incident involving Shepherd and Walt, as Shepherd got to the inside of his fellow competitor while racing out of turn two, with contact made between the pair on entry of turn 3 causing Walt to veer off towards the outside retaining wall as his sleek looking #31 Impala SS would see it's evening come to an abrupt end with front end damage.
On the ensuing restart, it was Davey and Pepin who waged an impressive dice for the race lead, as Pepin finally powered to the point after a solid two laps racing door to door with the 49 of Davey. Quick to follow the Pepin move was division rookie #00 Darryl St. Onge of Barrie, as the driver landed himself in second after also working past Davey while racing along the outer groove. On lap 18, it was the 12 of Brown who was beginning to make his presence felt, driving up inside Davey in turn two to take over 3rd in the running order, with the 10 of Shepherd attempting to follow that move to take over 4th, as Davey once again remained game and was able to momentarily fend off the Shepherd charge. Inside of two laps remaining, Shepherd would finally work past Davey for position, while at the front of the field St. Onge was closing the gap between himself and race leader Pepin with each passing lap. The laps would soon expire for the hard charging St. Onge however, as Pepin would march on to record his fourth feature win of the season by a slender margin over St. Onge at the checkered. Brown, would cap off a solid point night with a 3rd place showing, while Shepherd and Davey would complete the fast five.
The Triple Sick Skin Tattoo Thunder Car division would see a first time feature winner as #55 Shawn Goggins of Orillia would power his Pontiac Grand Prix to victory lane in the 30 lap main, in what was a landmark victory for the driver in his 5th season of competition in the division. The race would begin with #3 Jim Morrison would capturing the early lead, as outside pole sitter #7 Joel Hamilton would drift high in turn two, losing several positions along the way. Unfortunately, the Hamilton slide would halt the early momentum of point leader #00 Luke Gignac, as the popular veteran also would be forced to slow on track and got filed further back in the running order. On lap 4, it was #37 Robbie Sikes who took over top spot, after passing #11 Adam Misener along the inside of turn three, after Misener himself had taken the lead away from Morrison on lap three. Sikes, would break out to a marginal advantage at the front of the pack, with the 55 of Goggins now landing in 2nd after completing an inside pass of Misener while racing out of turn two. After a lap seven caution for a Morrison spin between turns 3&4, it was Sikes and Goggins who raced multiple laps side by side for the race lead, with Misener tucked in the pocket in third and #10 Jordan "Lil Gambler" Latimer now in fourth after making a hard charge through the pack along the outside line.
Goggins, would finally take over control of the point from Sikes after a hard fought battle and began completing laps of the one third mile tri oval just a shade over the 16 second mark, eventually opening up a two length lead over his fellow competitor Sikes who remained game in 2nd, while Misener, Latimer, and Gignac raced covered by a blanket in the duel for third. On lap 21, Latimer would finally find the necessary power under hood to relieve Misener of third along the outside line, quickly leading the way for the front running Gignac to follow and claim fourth in the running order. Over the duration, Goggins would remain strong on the front end, further widening his lead over Sikes as a half straightaway now separated the drivers inside of five laps remaining. Goggins, would cruise home to record his first career feature win, with Sikes also recording a season best with a 2nd place effort, as Latimer, Gignac, and Misener would comprise the remainder of the top 5.
Earlier heat wins were claimed by Goggins, Sikes, Latimer, and Gignac.
In St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock action, it was #10 Doug Butler of New Lowell who drives to victory lane in the 25 lap main. Butler, the current point leader in the division would record his fourth "hat trick" of the season in recording the win, further widening his point lead to now 47 over defending track champ #77 Mike Gettliffe of Orillia. The race would get started with #8 Paul Bogensberger Jr. taking the early lead from pole position, as the duo of #31 Gil Brooks and #41 Connor James would also slip under outside pole sitter #6 Josh Inglis to land in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the early stages. Promising upstart James would be quick to dispose of Brooks for 2nd, soon landing on the back bumper of Bogensberger Jr and taking over the race lead with an inside move between turns 1&2. By lap five, James had now broken away by a half straightaway at the front of the pack, with #09 Dean Curry making his way to 2nd after starting ninth in the 19 car field, as Bogensberger Jr, held third, with the duo of Gettliffe and Butler now racing inside the top 5 after both drivers would pass #06 Ryan Hardy to the inside of turn two. The race's first caution would appear on lap eight when the 31 of Brooks would spin in turn 2, thus wiping out the huge lead James had built up at the front of the pack.
On the restart, the young James and veteran Curry would battle for one solid lap wheel to wheel, with Curry clearing his counterpart along the outside line while racing into turn one on lap 10. James, would quickly fall back into the clutches of Butler in the dice for 2nd, with the latter completing an inside move in turn three to take over that position. Also putting on a charge towards the point was the 77 of Gettliffe, as he too would work past James for third, while a little further ahead Butler would take over the race lead with an inside move on Curry entering turn 3 on lap eleven. On lap 14, James would see his strong run at the front of the pack come to an sudden end when #57 Ryan Toon would attempt an inside move on his fellow competitor while racing for 4th around a lapped car in turn one. Toon, would make contact with James left rear, sending the talented wheelman crossways, as #24 Rick Butler was left with nowhere to go but pile hard into the back of James' Honda Civic, as Toon and Butler were summoned to the rear for the restart as involved cars, with James being unable to continue due to the rear end damage incurred. This turn of events set the stage for a Butler/Curry battle from the front row for the restart, as Gettliffe and #400 Justin Holmes now aligned row two, as Butler would move out to a single car length lead over Curry, with Holmes valiantly trying to work the outside of Gettliffe for third, while #1 Charlie Smith and Hardy were locked in a door to door battle for 5th a little further in behind. As has been the case much of the season, the #10 Nissan of Butler has proved tough if not impossible to pass, and that was the scenario that would play out here as Butler would close out the race with laps in the 16.5 second range, notching the win by three car lengths over division veteran Curry at the stripe. Gettliffe, would record his 4th podium in succession in finishing third, while Holmes and Smith would round out the top five.
Heat wins went to Butler with a pair, Curry, Holmes, #3 Randi Seguin, and #63 Jamie Cairns.
PIT NOTES ---------------------- As has been the case much of the season the new faces continue to stroll through the pit gates each week as #92 Connor Lethbridge would make his season debut in the St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock ranks. Lethbridge, the son of former area Late Model standout and Cascar Sportsman Series competitor Ron, would turn in twin 7th place heat race results to go with a 17th place feature feature finish while keeping a clean car under him the entire night, in what was an impressive debut for the Barrie youngster. Be sure to join us this coming Saturday August 9th as all three divisions are back in action as well as the one and only stop on the 2014 calendar for the AMS OIL Hurricane Midgets. Defending Barrie race winner and series champion #83 Jamie Bound leads a strong contingent of Hurricanes to the High Line, in a field that will also include former Barrie Speedway track announcer #53 Dave Bradley, who is coming off a strong 4th place result last Saturday at Peterborough Speedway. In the last race for the Hurricanes it was current second place point man #84 Richard Woodland who went to victory lane last Sunday at Kawartha Speedway, as #62 Rob McCall of Brechin finished 2nd, with Mike Bradley finishing up in third in the Bradley Brothers machine. With the Hurricanes expected to bring an approximate 30 car field to the tight confines of the High Line, this should prove to be another can't miss event. Pit gates open at 1pm, with spectator gates commencing for business at 5pm and green flag slated to drop at 6:30 pm sharp!!!