THE VOKEY REPORT
By Dave Vokey
Pepin and Brown Capture Checkered Flags at High Line
Despite a bleak forecast predicted for much of Central Ontario on July 19 the racing would continue at Barrie Speedway, and after two separate rain delays and lengthy red flag condition incurred in the first Thunder Car heat, the entire show would get completed after some hard work by staff members and drivers alike. The benefactors of the proceedings in the track's featured Wahta Springs Late Model division were #91 Andre Pepin of Midland and #12 Dwight Brown of Beeton, as each driver went to victory lane in a 30 lap feature race. With the win, Pepin would jump forward one position in the season long point standings to land in 4th place, while Brown would close the gap from 17 to 12 points between himself and the current point leader #10 Gord Shepherd of Oro Station. With just seven point nights remaining, Shepherd continues to hold the previously mentioned 12 point lead over Brown, with the division leader in feature wins #31 Rick Walt of Hawkestone sitting just 27 markers out of the lead. With the standings as close as they have been in recent memory, expect the action to be highly intense and competitive between these three drivers as the season progresses forward into the months of August and September, as the track looks to crown its 2014 champion.
In the first 30 lap feature, it was #49 "Flyin" Frank Davey who checked into the early lead from the outside pole position after gaining the advantage of #5 Mike "The Hulkamaniac" Langley from the drop of the green. Langley, would soon find challenge to his outside from #24 Leonard "The Bandit" Johnston in the battle for 2nd, with Johnston wrestling away the position with a high side move entering turn three on lap 3. An early caution would fly one lap later when Langley would spin in turn 2, thus setting the stage for a Davey/Johnston duel from the front row on the restart. When the race went green again, Davey and Johnston would battle for multiple laps side by side, as the 91 of Pepin sat comfortably in the pocket in third, with Brown and Shepherd running in 4th & 5th respectively. Approaching the 10 lap mark, the man on the move was #41 Taylor Holdaway, as the talented pilot would charge from his 11th place starting position to land in 6th, accomplishing most of his passing while taking to the outer groove of the racetrack. Holdaway, would quickly pass the 5th place car of Shepherd along the outside, quickly setting his sights on Brown in the race for fourth. On lap 12, Johnston would finally clear Davey along the outside to assume control of the race lead, as the 91 of Pepin would also work his way past Davey two laps later with an inside move in turn three.
Nearing the 20 lap mark it was Brown's turn to challenge Davey for position, as the former multi time Mosport Open Wheel Modified champ would advance to third with a clean low move on Davey while racing into turn 1. Just a little further in back of the Brown/Davey dice, the action was again heating up in the race for 5th, as Shepherd would complete an inside pass of Holdaway, with perhaps the many prior laps spent running the top side beginning to take its toll on Holdaway's tires. Shepherd, was soon quick to follow the Brown progression along the inside line to relieve Davey of 4th, once again setting his sights on Brown just ahead of him. On lap 22, Shepherd would dive down to Brown's inside between turns 3&4, with contact made between the pair sending Brown for a spin, as the rear end of his #12 Chevy would land on the hood of Shepherd after the tangle up, as both drivers took their place at the rear of the field for the restart. With Johnston and Pepin now aligning the front row, it was #69 Al "Red Rocket" Inglis and the 49 of Davey who checked in to form row number two, as Pepin would power into the race lead at the front of the field, with Johnston finding the inside line in 2nd, as Inglis would capture third, leaving Davey to fend off the challenge of the 31 of Walt for 4th, as the latter would capture that spot with an outside pass on the exit of turn two. On the last lap, Walt would dive down inside the 69 of Inglis while racing into turn three, as the two drivers set themselves to race wheel to wheel to the finish. It was clear once out front this race would belong to the 91 of Pepin however, as the driver would edge Johnston by two car lengths at the checkered. Inglis, would just nip Walt at the line in the race for the final podium position, with the 41 of Holdaway rounding out the top five.
In the 30 lap finale to the evening, it was #44 Rob Bromley who took the lead from the pole position, as the trio of Davey, Brown, and Inglis would all file through past outside pole sitter Langley who found himself trapped to the high side throughout the initial stages. On lap 7, the car to watch was the 10 of Shepherd, as the defending track champ would advance to 8th place after starting shotgun in the 12 car field, executing an outside pass of Pepin to assume control of that position. Shepherd, would soon land on the back bumper of Holdaway in the duel for 7th, with Shepherd completing an inside pass of his fellow competitor while racing out of turn two. On lap 12. it was the 12 of Brown who was beginning to make his presence felt near the front of the pack, passing Davey for 2nd with an impressive low move entering turn three, while at the same point in the race Walt would pass Inglis a little further in back to take over 4th in the running order. Right at the midway point, the hard charging 12 of Brown would take over the race lead, working to Bromley's inside while entering turn one to assume control of the point.
The race's first caution would fly on lap 16, when the 00 of Darryl St. Onge went around on the exit of turn 4. After another quick caution for a Pepin spin nearing the flag stand, Brown would power out front once again, opening a 2 car length lead over the 44 of Bromley, who soon came under fire from Davey in the race for 2nd, as the latter would take over that position. The Davey pass would quickly lead the way for the duo of Inglis and Shepherd to follow through under Bromley, dropping the pole sitter back to the 5th place position. On lap 21, Inglis would take over runner up positioning after passing Davey along the inside line, as Shepherd once again followed that move to assume control of third in the running order. Shepherd, would work his way by Inglis one lap later with a clean inside move as the duo raced into turn three. With the hotly contested battles going on in his rear view mirror, leader Brown was beginning to widen the gap on his competition with each passing lap, all the while completing laps in the 15.3 second range, now holding a near half straightaway advantage at the front of the field. Brown, would easily cruise on to record his 3rd feature win of the season, as Shepherd, Inglis, Walt, and Davey would comprise the remainder of the fast five.
In Triple Sick Skin Tattoo Thunder Car action, it was the current point leader #00 Luke Gignac who recorded the win in the 30 lap main. The win for Gignac was his 7th feature victory of the season, completing an amazing couple months for the long-time division veteran, who now looks to have a virtual lock on the 2014 track championship. The race would begin with #55 Shawn Goggins taking control of the point from the outside pole position, after pole sitter #7 Joel Hamilton would get crossways while approaching the flag stand on the opening lap. By lap 3, Gignac would work his way into the race lead from his 4th place starting position, passing Goggins along the inside line on the exit of turn two, as Goggins managed to hold the runner up position, with #64 Ryan Semple, #10 Jordan "Lil Gambler" Latimer, and #11 Adam Misener rounding out the top 5 in the early stages. Gignac, would open up a near half straightway lead at the front of the pack while completing laps of the one third mile tri oval configuration just a shade over the 16 second mark, as Semple would take second from Goggins after a hard fought battle, with a clean low pass on exit of turn two. The 10 of Latimer would follow that move one lap later to assume control of third place. On lap 15, it was Misener who was beginning to put on a charge towards the front of the pack, relieving Goggins of 4th with an inside move entering turn three.
The race's first caution would fly on lap 17, when Goggins and visiting driver #07 Dan Archibald would collide while racing for 5th, with contact made between the pair midway down the backstretch sending Goggins for a spin. On the restart, Gignac would break away from the 2nd place car of Semple by three car lengths to once again assume control of the point, as Semple checked into 2nd, with Latimer, Misener, and the 29 car of visiting driver Steve Cashmore now rounding out the top five. After a lap 20 caution came about when Hamilton and #21 Bill Walt collected between turns 3&4, Gignac would again break away from Semple by a single car length, with the latter narrowly finding the inside groove in front of Latimer entering turn one to maintain runner up positioning. Over the duration, the best battle on track was the race for 4th, as Cashmore would find the inside of Misener between turns 1&2 with the two drivers waging a tough, clean battle for that position in what was an awesome display of short track racing. It was clear this race would belong to the front running Gignac however, as the driver would easily record the win by 5 car lengths over a game Semple who recorded a career best 2nd place finish at the checkered. Latimer, would cap off a solid point night with a workmanlike 3rd place effort, while Cashmore and Misener would complete the top 5.
Earlier heat wins went to Gignac and Latimer with a pair each. In recording the "hat trick" for the second time this season, Gignac would increase his point lead to a near insurmountable 86 points over the 2nd place car of Latimer, with #21 Desi Walt sitting in third just a single marker back of Latimer. Speaking of Walt, the 5th year division veteran would go for a wild ride in the opening heat race of the evening for the division, as she would make slight contact with the 11 of Misener in turn two, after Misener got loose on exit of that corner. The result would see contact with Walt's right front and Misener's left rear quarter panel, sending Walt towards the tire wall at entry of pit road. As she tried to correct, Walt would veer off and make contact with #37 Robbie Sikes, as the two drivers crashed into the outside retaining wall very hard, with Walt's car sent for a barrel roll in what was a terribly scary incident. Thankfully both drivers would be fine, with the damage incurred proving terminal for Sikes' #37 Impala SS while the Walt ride would make it back out for feature time, after some hard work from several teams pit side, now with father Bill behind the wheel from which he would orchestrate a 6th place feature showing.
In the St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock division, it was another current point leader who found victory lane in the 25 lap feature, as #10 Doug Butler of New Lowell would capture his division leading 5th feature win of the season in his super-fast Nissan 240. The race would begin with #6 Josh Inglis moving to the point from pole position, as #88 Jeremy McLean began to work under #4 Barrie Moore for 2nd, a position he would eventually capture, dragging along the #28 of JP Rosevear along with him into third in the running order. McLean, would take the lead from Inglis a short while later, with Rosevear again following to land in 2nd, as Inglis was now trapped to the high side and in turn shuffled back in the field, as the quartet of #24 Rick Butler, #63 Jamie Cairns, #77 Mike Gettliffe, and Doug Butler all would make their way past. Approaching lap 10, Rosevear would pull along the high side of McLean for the race lead, and after a tough 2 lap battle the race's first caution would fly as #400 Justin Holmes went around on the exit of turn four. On the restart, Rosevear would quickly take over the point after working around the outside of McLean, with Gettliffe making an inside move on lap 12 while racing out of turn two to take over 2nd, as Doug Butler would follow that move one lap later, dropping McLean back to the 4th place position.
The race's second caution period would come about on lap 14, when #06 Rick Walt would make contact with #41 Connor James underneath the flag stand while racing just inside the top 10, sending James for a spin through the infield grass. On the restart, Gettliffe would give challenge to Rosevear's outside, with Butler, and last week’s feature winner #68 Brandon Crumbie racing nip and tuck behind that duo. It was on lap 19 the race would turn really interesting, with Gettliffe working around the outside of Rosevear entering turn three while searching for the race lead, as Butler put the race 3 wide to the inside of the same corner as Rosevear fell back to third. Gettliffe, and Butler would drag race side by side approaching the flag stand, with slight contact made between the pair entering turn one sending Gettliffe slightly crooked and Butler to the extreme high side, as Crumbie dove down inside both drivers to take over at the front of the pack. Crumbie, would continue to soldier on with the race lead over the next four laps, when on the last lap, Butler would catch up with his fellow competitor and execute an inside pass while racing out of turn two to take over control of the point. Butler, would capture the win over the 2008 division champ Crumbie by a half car length at the checkered, as Gettliffe wasn't far behind that duel in bringing his #77 Neon home in 3rd in what was a thrilling finish. #63 Jamie Cairns would bring his Cavalier to the line in 4th place, as #57 Ryan Toon would round out the top 5.
Earlier heat wins went to Butler with a pair to cap off a "hat trick" of his own, Crumbie, Toon, #24 Rick Butler, and #3 Randi Seguin.
PIT NOTES ------------------- With several cancellations at a number of area tracks, Barrie Speedway would see a number of new faces align the pits to compete in the evening's festivities. In the Wahta Springs Late Models, it would be #81 Britney Gresel of Sauble Beach who would take to the High Line for her first career start. Gresel, would keep a clean car under her the entire night in coming up with 11th and 12th place feature results, finishing on the lead lap in both 30 lap races despite electing to start at the rear of the field on the restarts. In the Triple Sick Skin Tattoo Thunder Car division it would be #29 Steve Cashmore of Freelton, #17 Tyler Liscum of Barrie, and #07 Dan Archibald of Innisfil who would make their first Barrie starts of 2014. Cashmore, would impress many in coming home with a 4th place feature finish to go with 2nd and 4th place results incurred in the heat races, while Liscum would bring his ride home in 7th place in the feature, after 4th and 5th place heat race finishes. Archibald, would drive to 2nd and 3rd place heat race showings, but wouldn't fare as well in the feature when a late race black flag after contact post-race under caution with Barrie regular #55 Shawn Goggins would negate top 10 results for both drivers. In the St. Onge Pure Stocks it was #1 Charlie Smith, #21 Ken Townsend, #87 Shawn Gerrior, and #36 Hudson Nagy who would all take to the Barrie track for the first time in 2014. Smith, the 2012 track champ in the division, would pilot his Neon to a tidy 6th place feature result after earlier twin 5th place heat race showings. Nagy, a Flamboro Speedway regular would also turn in twin 5th place heat race results to go with an impressive 11th place feature finish in what was the youngster’s first time seeing the Barrie track. Townsend, would pilot his Honda Civic to a 17th place feature finish in a deep and talent laden 25 car field, while Gerrior would bring his Neon home in 23rd, finishing 5 laps down after encountering some mechanical difficulties... Be sure to join us this coming Sat June 26 as all three divisions are back in action with pit gates open at 2pm, spectator gates commencing business at 5pm, and green flag racing slated for 6:30pm sharp.. With the season winding down gradually this should prove to be yet another can't miss event!!!!