THE VOKEY REPORT
By Dave Vokey
Pepin and St. Onge Claim Second Feature Wins of Season
On what was yet another picturesque evening for racing Barrie Speedway would kick off the second half of the 2014 season in fine style on July 12, as the evenings big winners were #91 Andre Pepin of Midland and #00 Darryl St. Onge of Barrie, as each driver would capture a 30 lap feature victory in the track's featured Wahta Springs Late Model division. Ironically enough, it would be both drivers second feature win of the season and first since the month of May, with Pepin's prior victory coming in the season opening event on May 10, while St. Onge captured his first career Late Model feature win on the May 24th card. The win for both drivers would further cement their stature within the top 5 in the season long point standings, as Pepin checks into 5th place just 44 points in back of current point leader and defending track champ #10 Gord Shepherd of Oro Station, while St. Onge currently sits in 4th place in the standings, just 7 points ahead of his fellow competitor Pepin, and 37 in back of Shepherd for the division lead.
In the first 30, it was Pepin and #69 Al "Red Rocket" Inglis who went wheel to wheel from the onset, with pole sitter Pepin finally breaking clear of Inglis entering turn 1 on lap three to assume control of the race lead. Holding down 3rd place in the early stages was #44 Rob Bromley of Orillia, with the 4th place car of #49 "Flyin" Frank Davey receiving early pressure for that position from #12 Dwight Brown of Beeton, as Brown would have a look to the inside of Davey midway down the backstretch but was unable to make the pass stick. Perhaps the early pressure from Brown would light a fire under venerable veteran Davey, as the former 4 time Thunder Car champ would work his way to Bromley's outside for 3rd entering turn one to advance further in the running order, leading the way for the silky smooth 12 of Brown to follow a short while later to claim 4th place. On lap 8, Brown would take over third from Davey with a sleek inside pass between turns 1&2, as leader Pepin was now free and clear of the second place car of Inglis by 3 car lengths at the front of the field. Nearing the midway mark, the man on the move was the 31 of Rick Walt of Hawkestone, as the talented pilot would work his way past Brown for 3rd with a low side pass between turn 1&2, after the hard charging Walt would begin the race in the ninth place starting position.
At the front of the pack, it was still Pepin who was firmly in control, holding a near half straightaway lead on the 2010 track champ Inglis, as Pepin was completing laps of the one third mile tri oval configuration in the 15.1 second range. Inglis, would soon find the 31 of Walt land on his back bumper a short while later, with the talented Inglis able to momentarily fend off the Walt charge. At this point in the race the best battle on track was the race for 7th, as #24 Leonard "The Bandit" Johnston and #79 Cory Horner waged an impressive dice for that position, with Johnston eventually prevailing and being able to hold off the pesky Horner. With three laps remaining, the 31 of Walt would dive down inside Inglis entering turn 3 to take over 2nd, while a little further in back the duo of Shepherd and St. Onge would work past the 49 of Davey advance to 5th and 6th respectively. At the front of the field, third year driver Pepin would remain calm and collected, hitting all his marks along the way with the 31 of Walt still lurking and able to slightly cut into the advantage Pepin had built up at the front of the pack. Pepin, would drive on to record the victory in the caution free affair by 3 car lengths over the oncoming Walt at the checkered. Inglis, would get his night kick started under solid footing with a 3rd place effort, while Brown and Shepherd would comprise the remainder of the top five.
In the 30 lap finale to the evening, it was the 79 of Horner who found the front early after gaining the advantage on the 44 of Bromley from the drop of the green. Also on the move in the early stages was the duo of St. Onge and Johnston, as the two former Thunder Car drivers would make their way under the 44 of Bromley to check into 2nd and 3rd respectively just a couple laps in. On lap 4, St. Onge would work his way to the inside of leader Horner in turn 2 to take control of the point, with the duo of Johnston and Brown alertly following that move to drop Horner back to 4th in the running order. On lap 8, Brown would find the inside of Johnston on the exit of turn 4 to take over runner up positioning, with the 31 of Walt also nearing the front of the field, as he too would pass Johnston to take over third place. The race's only caution would fly on lap 9, as Davey would spin in turn two after possible contact, with Davey coming to rest against the tire wall along the entry to pit road and sustaining some front end damage along the way.
On the restart, leader St. Onge would break out to a marginal advantage over the 12 of Brown who soon came under heavy fire from the 31 of Walt, as the latter would advance to 2nd place with a clean inside move entering turn 1. At the midway point, Walt was all over the back bumper of St. Onge for the race lead, looking both high and low to find a way past, as the sleek looking 00 of St. Onge held firm and was able to fend off the Walt challenge every step of the way. Just a little further in back of the St.Onge/Walt dice for the race lead, the 12 of Brown found himself locked in a duel with Shepherd for 3rd, as Shepherd would have a look to the inside in between turns 3&4, but was unable to make the potential pass stick. With just two laps remaining, there was a battle shaping up for 5th place positioning involving Inglis and Johnston, with Johnston having a brief look to his counterpart's inside out of turn two but was unable to find power under hood to work his way around the wily veteran Inglis. At the front of the field, St. Onge still had a mirror full of the 31 of Walt in the battle for the point, but St. Onge would show incredible poise in protecting the lower groove, fending Walt off at every opportunity, as St. Onge would drive on to record the win by a single car length over Walt at the stripe. Brown, would cap off a solid point night in coming home third, while Shepherd and Inglis would complete the fast five.
In Triple Sick Skin Tattoo Thunder Car action, it was the current point leader #00 Luke Gignac of Port McNicholl who recorded the win in the 30 lap main, marking the driver's 6th feature win of the season in just nine feature races. Entering the second half of the 2014 campaign, Gignac looks of have a virtual lock on the 2014 track title, holding a 70 point lead on his nearest competition #21 Desi Walt of Hawkestone, who would have a solid night of her own in finishing 3rd in the feature race. The race would begin with #3 Jim Morrison taking the early lead from the pole position, as #37 Robbie Sikes would make his way under #7 Joel Hamilton an inside move in turn two with to take control of 2nd place in the early going. The Sikes move would quickly lead the way for the duo of #55 Shawn Goggins and #22 Jason Elliott to also follow through under the 7 of Hamilton to take over 3rd and 4th respectively. On lap 3, Goggins would continue his charge towards the front, passing Sikes for 2nd with an inside move midway down the backstretch. After an early debris caution would appear, it was again Morrison who found the point after fending off a challenge from the 55 of Goggins along the outside line. Goggins, would eventually lose runner up position to the 37 of Sikes, who then quickly found his way to the race lead with an inside pass of Morrison in turn three on lap nine, with the duo of #11 Adam Misener and Elliott quickly following that progression to enter podium positioning.
At this point in the race the best duel on track was the battle for 5th, as Gignac and #64 Ryan Semple went to war for that position, with Gignac eventually taking the spot despite a valiant effort from Semple. On lap 10, misfortune would befell the 55 of Goggins who slowed along the front stretch with a flat left front tire, forcing the driver pit side and giving up his top 5 positioning in the process. With Sikes and Misener now aligning the front row, the ensuing restart wouldn't go well when Morrison spun out of turn 4, with #50 "Pistol" Pete Marquardt having nowhere to go but into the side of the prone Morrision Chysler 300 Z. This time on the restart, Sikes and Misener would wage a tough and clean two lap duel for the race lead, with Misener eventually clearing his counterpart, leading the way for an alert 22 of Elliott to follow and claim 2nd, with an inside pass of Sikes in turn three. It was at this point in the race Gignac was beginning to make his presence felt, working past Sikes for third right at the midway mark. At the front of the field, Misener was steadily pacing the field with laps in the 16.4 second range, holding Elliott at bay by 2 car lengths, as Elliott would then come under fire from the hard charging Gignac for runner up positioning. On lap 22, Gignac would execute a bump and run move on Elliott between turns 1&2 to take over second, quickly setting his sights on finding the back bumper of race leader Misener. The race's fourth and final caution would fly on the completion of lap 27, after Goggins would get some contact from #10 Jordan "Lil Gambler" Latimer, with Goggins going for a spin in turn two and both drivers summoned arrears for the restart. When the race went green, it was Gignac who quickly found the point from the outside line around the high side of Misener, with the third place car of Elliott now under heavy fire from the 21 of Walt. On the last lap, Walt would pull along the high side of Elliott entering turn three to take over that position , but it was clear that once out front the race was Gignac's to lose and the driver wouldn't disappoint his many fans in attendance en route to claiming the victory by three car lengths over Misener at the checkered. Walt, would turn in an impressive showing in coming to the line in 3rd, as Elliott and Sikes rounded out the top 5.
Four different heat winners came in the form of Gignac, Sikes, #55 Shawn Goggins, and #10 Jordan Latimer.
In the St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock division it was #68 Brandon Crumbie of Beeton who claimed his first feature win of the season in a fast paced 25 lap affair. For Crumbie the 2008 track champion in the division, the win would mark his first feature victory at the track since that championship season, with the talented driver having spent the last several season split between the Late Model and Open Wheel Modified ranks at various tracks throughout the province. The race would begin with an early duel between #6 Josh Inglis and #18 Tim Gagne, with Gagne eventually taking the lead from outside pole position with an outside pass of Inglis entering turn 1 on lap two. Also on the move early was #88 Jeremy McLean, as the driver would relieve Inglis of 2nd, quickly leading the way for the fast #28 Mustang of JP Rosevear to claim 3rd. Rosevear, would quickly pass McLean for runner up positioning, and would receive a further stroke of luck when leader Gagne slowed entering turn 1 with mechanical issues, handing the point over to Rosevear who soon found challenge to the inside from the #06 of Ryan Hardy for the race lead. On lap 11, it was Hardy's turn to experience difficulty, when he too would slow on track while racing out of turn two, quickly allowing the fast duo of Crumbie and defending division champ #77 Mike Gettliffe to pass him and advance to second and third respectively.
The caution would soon appear a short while later when Hardy would come to a halt in turn four unable to make it back to pit road to correct his ailing #06 Neon. The top 5 at this point would be made up of leader Rosevear, Crumbie, Gettliffe, McLean, and #57 Ryan Toon. On the restart, Crumbie was quick to power around the outside of Rosevear and into the race lead, with Gettliffe also beginning to work the top side of Rosevear while searching for 2nd, while a little further in behind Toon would claim 4th from McLean. After the 2nd caution period would come about, Crumbie again found the point, this time Gettliffe would slip under Rosevear for 2nd, quickly leading the way for the hard charging #57 VW Golf of Toon to advance to third. Crumbie, began to set a torrid pace at the front of the pack, completing laps in the 16.6 second range, keeping Gettliffe at bay by a single car length, with the best battle now a shaping up just outside of the top 5 at point leader #10 Doug Butler would pass #64 "California" Dave Crumbie for the sixth place position. Unfortunately Butler would begin to slip back in the running order, with a suspected left front tire going down with just a handful of laps remaining. On the last lap, Gettliffe would get a nose to the inside of leader Crumbie between turns 1&2, but as had been the case the majority of the night the #68 Mustang of Crumbie would really take a liking to the outside line, as the driver was able to hold onto the race lead, just edging Gettliffe by a half car length at the finish. #57 Ryan Toon would follow up a runner up showing one week ago with his 2nd podium in succession in coming to the line in third, while Rosevear and #3 Randi Seguin would round out the top 5.
As with the Thunder Cars, the Pure Stocks would not see a repeat heat race winner on this evening either as Crumbie, Toon, Doug Butler, #400 Justin Holmes, #09 Dean Curry, and #24 Rick Butler would claim heat race wins. The win for Rick Butler was his first career win in the Pure Stock ranks, a high water accomplishment on the season for what is a vastly improving race program.
PIT NOTES ---------------------- Be sure to join us this coming Sat July 19 as all three regular divisions are back in action as well as the one and only Barrie appearance for the Lucas Oil Can Am TQ Midgets. The Lucas Oil sponsored club are the fastest race vehicles that will take to the High Line this season, with several of the front runners quite capable of amassing sub 13 second lap times. Defending Barrie race winner and series champion #40 Mack DeMan leads a strong contingent of TQ drivers to invade the High Line, with DeMan having gone to victory lane in 3 of 5 feature races this season, including the most recent race last weekend at Sunset Speedway. Pit gates will open one hour earlier for this special event at 1pm, while spectator gates commence business at 5pm , with green flag slated to drop at 6:30 pm sharp.. If past years races involving the TQ MIdgets at Barrie are any indication this will truly prove to be a can't miss event!!!!!!!!