It was a busy weekend of racing this past weekend, with events planned at Brewerton Speedway, Can Am Motorsports Park and Brockville Speedway. The weather was perfect all weekend long, the racing was excellent, and it was good to see some familiar faces back at the track that I had not seen over the off-season.
My weekend began with a trip to Brewerton Speedway on Friday night. This track is one of my favorites, as the Big Block Modifieds always put on a great show. They have a weekly driver lineup that is filled with future Hall of Fame racers, and it is an exciting place to be on Friday nights. The Modified feature on Friday was as good as any I have seen, with Jimmy Phelps coming from the 16th starting position to take the win in the 35 lap Modified feature. Almost equally impressive was the run that Matt Sheppard had, coming back from problems in his qualifying heat and a 22nd starting spot to battle through the field to finish second. Ryan Bartlett and Joe August Jr. had career best finishes at Brewerton with third and fourth respectively, while opening night winner Ryan Phelps rounded out the top five. Jerry Lobdell Jr. won the IMCA Modified feature, Joey Garafalo won the Mod Lite feature, while Zak Petrie won the 4 cylinder Super Stock feature for the second straight night.
Saturday was going to be a really busy day. Brockville Speedway had a practice scheduled from 1 to 4pm, and then I was going to leave there, and head to Can Am Motorsports Park. The rain that we had over night on Thursday made the Brockville pit area a mess, and they decided to postpone the practice until Sunday. I did get over to Can Am though and had a great night of racing. The Modified feature was won by Chris Raabe. The win was the 100th open wheel Modified victory of his career, dating back to his Sportsman debut in 2005. Brian McDonald finished second, Zach Aubertine was third, Danny O’Brien was fourth and 358 Modified rookie Tom Conklin rounded out the top five. Brandon Hagan, Dylan Evoy and Dean Patterson finished on the Sportsman podium after a great battle in their 20 lap main event. Chris Thurston and Anthony Stockman rounded out the top five. Pete Stefanski was the Pro Street winner, Dale Caswell won the Late Model feature, Ray Bechler won the Thunder Car main event, and Tiger Chapman Jr. won the Mod Lite feature.
With Brockville practice getting postponed until Sunday, it set up for a full weekend of racing. There was a fantastic turnout of cars on hand as local race teams took advantage of a wonderful Spring day and shake their cars down before opening night. As much as I love racing at the other tracks, Brockville is home, and it was nice to get back to the track for the first time since the Fall Nationals last October.
This coming weekend is the season opening nights at Mohawk International Raceway and Brockville Speedway on Friday and Saturday night. Both tracks appear to have an incredible field of drivers lined up, and I am looking forward to seeing who will be on hand opening night at both tracks.
Cornwall Speedway will open the following week with a 100 lap Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified/Canadian National Series event, along with a full racing program on Sunday, May 20th. The following day, the Mr. DIRTcar 358 Modified Series teams will then travel to the other end of the province for a race at Merrittville Speedway, in Thorold, Ontario.
I took a few minutes on Saturday before the races at Can Am to talk to Josh VanBrocklin about his plans for the coming season. With Can Am no longer a DIRTcar sanctioned track, and VanBrocklin a solid contender on the DIRTcar Sportsman series, he was in a difficult situation. He will now race weekly at Mohawk International Raceway on Friday nights, and run Can Am most nights through the year.
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I look forward to seeing everyone at the track in just another week. I hope you continue to enjoy my weekly column, as always, any comments or suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.