There’s no better closer to a full night of racing than a big NASCAR-style last lap spin with cars careening through the infield grass as a rivalry is born, followed by a photo finish from a last turn pass.
The Vanguard Self Storage Late Model feature may have only been 25 laps, but oh, what a race it was.
Pole sitter Bryan Mercer, a veteran late model driver with numerous wins under his belt, looked poised to run away with the feature after handily winning both his heat races earlier in the night. Beside him sat Todd Delisle, another accomplished veteran who took the checked in one heat race and second in the other to a hard charging Craig Graham. Mercer jumped to the lead right off the start, but headed to pits after Bryan Sudsbury took a spin in turns 3 and 4 on lap 8. On the restart, Cory Horner pushed and bumped his way by Delisle for the lead. A number of caution flags came out as cars found their tires just couldn’t keep pace with the leaders, and on each restart, Horner got the edge on Delisle. As the race neared its end, Delisle tried to take Horner on the high side, but after scraping some more paint and not finding an opening, decided to take a run on the low side and got under Horner. On the last lap, going through turns 3 and 4, Delisle gave Horner a tap for good measure, getting by him but sending the 79 spinning in a cloud of smoke. With that, half the field went spinning in all directions, with Sudspury even spinning passed the finish line through the grass. The two leaders were sent to the back for a one lap restart. At the front, Sudsbury now sat first with Graham beside him. The two battled it out down to a photo finish where Graham was able to edge out last year’s champion and headed to the Dart Heating and Cooking Victory Lane.
The Vanguard Self Storage Late Models weren’t the only ones putting on a show: Jack Dallin made sure victory wouldn’t come easy for Bill O’Harra in the Parry Springs Renegade Trucks. They each had taken a heat win earlier in the night. Dallin sat pole for the start, followed by Andy McCann, O’Harra, and Tyler Junkin. Right off the start, O’Harra ducked low and pulled from third to first into turn 1, but Dallin kept tight on the bumper of the 6 truck. With only a few laps to go, Dallin pulled to the high side of O’Harra. As they neared the finish line, it appear either truck might take it, but O’Harra was able to keep enough speed through the final turn and took the checkered flag.
The Ontario Legends, a regular touring act at Peterborough Speedway, also put on a nail-biter feature race. Jason Robar headed for the lead from his pole start, but the yellow flag came out as Donovan Price and Cory Hayward tangled together going into turn one, busting up the font end of Price’s car while Hayward was sent backwards into a large tire beside the outer track barrier. As the race restarted, Robar and Wes Cuthbertson battled for the lead, but another caution came out as Andy Warbutton spun, going from third to the back, sending Duane Cinnamon and John Mann to into the outer barrier and out of the race as they tried to avoid the mess. Robar’s lead would only last a few more laps as Adam Cuthbertson took over at lap 10 with Matt Haufe and Nicholas Ledson close behind. Ledson took a spin on lap 19, but had no plans of staying at the back. Meanwhile at the front, Haufe tried to get around Cuthbertson on the low side, but the moved ended up spinning out both cars and landed them at the back. When the race restarted with one lap to go, Ledson saw an opening and jumped from third to first, sneaking by Dave Riopelle and Wes Cuthbertson for the win.
Earlier in the night, Warbutton scored two heat wins, jumping from fifth to first in heat 1 and dueling Haufe for victory in heat 3. Wes Cuthbertson took a solid win in heat 2, keeping the lead for the whole race. Ledson was able to fend off a fierce offensive from Adam Cuthbertson for a win in heat 4.
Chris Mulders had a strong run in the Peterborough Hyundai Mini Stocks. Starting second, it didn’t take him long to climp to the front. Ryan Babin had his work cut out for him, starting 9th, but had climped to second by lap 6. The two held a solid lead for much of the race, but Ryan Oosterholt charged hard up the field from 10th, landing in third place by lap 13. The whole field grinded to a halt as the red flag came out when Matt Boyce struck an infield concrete block after Brad Levalle sent him spinning in turn 3. Oosterhold tried to invade the leading duo on the restart, but couldn’t find an opening, finishing third while Mulders held his lead passed the checkered flag.
In the heat races, Ooosterholt took the win in heat 1 despite a hard charge from Peter Moore. Babin ran away with the win in heat 2 and took victory away from Levalle in heat 4. Brandon Hannah ran heat 3 in first from start to finish.
The Battlefield Equipment Rental Four Funs also put on a crowd-pleasing performance, showing all gathered that Canada’s toughest 1/3 mile oval is capable of running four-wide down the straights. Jeff Forsey Jr. turned his pole position into a lead for a number of laps, but relented to Griffin Powell after a few bumps from the #13. Neither driver could hold back the hard charging #79 of Ryan Oosterholt. Oosterholt had already taken two heat wins, but so had Powell. By lap 13, Oosterholt had the lead and held it to the end.
In Peterborough Speedway tradition, the King of the Hill event saw excitement as a number of spectators and racers decided to take their street cars to the track for time trials. After a tie between Noel Snow in his Honda Civic and Jack Dallin in a Mitsubishi Eclipse with times of 18.1 seconds, the pair hit the track for a showdown. Snow cut another tenth off his time for an 18.0, but Dallin pushed the eclipse to the limit and ran a 17.8, winning over a number of Honda Civics, Dodge Neons, and even a brand new hemi-powered Ram.