Quesnelle A Winner Once Again at Barrie Speedway
Barrie Speedway would kick off the second half of its 2013 campaign in fine style on Sat July 13, and the action on track would prove to be highly intense and competitive in all three divisions on Canestoga Property Maintenance Night. The evening would feature a return to victory lane by 2011 track champ #57 Ron "The Dominator" Quesnelle of Penetang, who captured the 30 lap finale to the evening for the Wahta Springs Late Models. Quesnelle, who captured the opening feature race of the season but then hit a sudden 2 month dry spell, was chased to the line every step of the way by #14 "Hurricane" Thayne Hallyburton of Hillsdale, after Hallyburton went to victory lane in the first 30 lap feature race earlier in the card. With the win, Quesnelle narrowed the gap to point leader #10 Gord Shepherd of Oro Station, as 27 points now separate the drivers heading into this weekends action. Sophomore driver Hallyburton sits just 5 points further back of Quesnelle, on the strength of 5 feature wins this season, while 2009 track champ Shepherd currently leads the division with six feature wins in 2013.
In the initial 30, it was #44 Rick Meyer of Orillia who broke to the front early, after racing the first two laps door handle to door handle with #74 Roy Manary of Gravenhurst. Also making an early move towards the front was division sophomore #91 Andre Pepin of Midland, who made a daring three wide move out of turn two, splitting Manary and #5 Mike "The Hulkamaniac" Langley of Orr Lake to claim runner up positioning in the early stages. Manary, would eventually get shuffled back to 5th in the running order, as a hard charging #83 Ian Bourque of Newmarket passed him to the inside of turn 3 to move into 4th. The caution would fly early, when the field would stack up behind Manary, as #02 Shawn Murray of Alliston would turn Quesnelle in turn 3, with rookie contender #24 Leonard Johnston right in that mix as well. The result would see Murray collide with the outside retaining wall while trying to avoid the prone Quesnelle ride, with a broken wrist the outcome for the talented sophomore, thus ending his race night early.
On the restart, it was Meyer who moved out to a single car length lead, soon finding pressure to the outside from the talented Pepin, as the two drivers waged a tooth and nail battle for 2 solid laps, when Pepin finally found the point to the outside of turn 4. On the next lap, with Meyer still digging hard on the inside, he would run up on and inadvertantly turn race leader Pepin just shy of the midway mark. This turn of events would totally reshuffle the front row, to now include Bourque and Hallyburton, as Hallyburton would power to the point on the outside, after a hard fought 3 lap duel with Bourque, while further in back an alert 24 of Johnston would find the inner groove in 3rd in front of Manary. It was at this point in the race when the 10 of Shepherd began to make his presence felt, getting past Manary, and then Johnston with an outside pass in turn three to move up to 3rd in the running order. With leader Hallyburton now clear of the field by half a straightway with laps in the 14.9 second range, the 2nd place car of Bourque would come under heavy fire from Shepherd, as the latter would take over that position with a clean inside pass in turn one. Over the duration, Shepherd couldn't narrow the lead Hallyburton had built up at the front of the pack however, as Hallyburton would take the checkered by a half straightaway over Shepherd at the stripe. Bourque, would finish a solid 3rd to earn his 2nd podium of the season, while Quesnelle and Johnston would round out the fast five.
In the 30 lap finale to the evening, it was the 74 of Manary who moved into the initial lead, after gaining the advantage on the 5 of Langley from the drop of the green. Once again it was the 91 of Pepin who was quick to find 2nd along the inside of Langley, with rookie sensation Johnston progressing to 3rd, as fellow rookie Langley was now trapped to the high side. Also quick to find the front was the 57 of Quesnelle, as the longtime division veteran would dispose of Langley for 4th, with a smooth inside pass while racing out of turn two, dragging the 14 of Hallyburton along with him to enter top 5 positioning. Further in back of all this action, there was a great dice shaping up for 7th, involving the 10 of Shepherd and 83 of Bourque, as those two waged all out war for that position, with Shepherd eventually coming out the victor. On lap 4, the first lead change would occur, when the 91 of Pepin would power past Manary with an inside move in turn 4, while further in back Quesnelle would take over 3rd from Johnston. Quesnelle's charge towards the front would not end there however, as the driver would move past Manary on the outside of turn 2 on lap 6, with Johnston and Hallyburton now locked in a tooth and nail battle of their own for 4th in the running order, as Hallyburton would take that spot.
Approaching the ten lap mark, Hallyburton would slip down inside of Manary to move into 3rd, leading the way for Johnston to claim 4th just a short while later. The race's first caution would appear a short while later for debris on the track, with Quesnelle seemingly glued to Pepin's back bumper. On the restart, the hard charging Quesnelle would take the lead from the outside line, with Pepin landing in second while Hallyburton and Johnston waged an impressive dice for 3rd with Johnston looking game on the outside, in a duel eventually won by Hallyburton. On lap 18, Johnston would lose another position, as the 10 of Shepherd would relieve him of 4th place, when the caution again would appear a short while later when the 74 of Manary and 5 of Langley collected in turn 4, as rookie #44x Mike Meyer was also involved in the melee, sending all three to the rear of the field. This set the stage for Quesnelle and Pepin to once again battle from the front row, as Quesnelle quickly found the point, leaving Pepin in the clutches of Hallyburton in the race for 2nd, a spot Hallyburton would capture with a nifty inside pass in turn 4 on lap 21. The Hallyburton pass would soon open up the necessary room for Shepherd to relieve Pepin of 4th, after a intense battle with the pesky Pepin for three solid laps side by side. It was clear nobody was catching Quesnelle's Sunrise Toyota Camry however, as the driver would notch the feature race win by 3 car lengths over Hallyburton at the checkered. Shepherd would cap off a solid point night in finishing 3rd, while Pepin and Johnston comprised the remainder of the top 5.
In the Canestoga Property Maintenance Thunder Cars, it was #44 Dave "The Doucette" of Angus who survived a thrilling late race battle with #00 Darryl St. Onge of Barrie to take his second feature victory of the season in the 30 lap main. This division currently features the tightest points battle heading into the final two months, as division sophomore #39 Travis Hallyburton sits atop the standings, despite having not tasted a feature race win thus far in 2013. St. Onge, meanwhile used the solid 2nd place showing to tie defending track champ #10 Rick Walt for 2nd place in the season long point standings, just 3 points in behind Hallyburton, while Doucette by virtue of his win closed to within 12 points of the leader Hallyburton. Expect these four drivers among others to put on a heck of a show this coming week, as well as moving forward towards the close of the 2013 racing calendar.
The feature race would kick off with rookie stalwart #16 Bryan Penny of Barrie moving out front early, as #55 Shawn Goggins filed into 2nd, with Doucette advancing to third after a side by side battle with #21 Bill Walt. The wily veteran Doucette would soon find the 00 of St. Onge welded to his back bumper, as that duo would slip past the 55 of Goggins to claim 2nd and 3rd respectively. A strong run at the front would soon come to its conclusion for the game rookie Penny just shy of the ten lap mark, as the talented wheelman would slow out of turn 4 with mechanical issues, handing over the lead to Doucette in the process. Throughout the middle portion of the race fans could be excused if they envisioned 2007 and 2008 when on track rivals Doucette and St. Onge went to weekly war around the tight Barrie confines, as the two silky smooth veterans treated the fans on hand to a clinic of clean and tough short track racing for the next several laps. St. Onge, would really close in and look to the inside on Doucette while racing into turn 1 during this time, while Doucette was earlier to the throttle out of turn two, finding enough horsepower to keep St. Onge at bay.
Approaching the midway mark, the hard charging 39 of Hallyburton had found his way to 3rd, after a impressive dice with the 21 of Walt, while former track champs #12 Jim" Polish Prince" Belesky and #10 Rick Walt raced nip and tuck behind that duo. Belesky, would slip past the 21 of Walt for 4th in the running order on lap 15, after a hard fought battle for 2 laps side by side. The front running duo of Doucette and St. Onge was setting a torrid pace at the front of the pack, breaking away by half a straightaway, with St. Onge having a couple of brief looks to the inside of Doucette racing out of turn two inside of five laps remaining. They would parade to the checkered in this order, as Doucette would edge St. Onge by the narrowest of margins at the checkered. Hallyburton, would continue an impressive streak of podium results in coming home 3rd, while Belesky and #21 Bill Walt rounded out the top 5.
Heat wins went to Hallyburton with a pair, Doucette, and St. Onge.
In the St. Onge Recreation Pure Stock division, it was third year driver #400 Justin Holmes who took his brilliantly prepared Hwy 400 Transmission sponsored Mustang to victory lane for the first time in 2013. This division has raced 70 laps caution free in feature races covering the last three weeks, an impressive feat to say the least, in one of the most tightly contested divisions you will find anywhere in the province. The race would begin with #06 Ryan Hardy moving out front from the onset, getting the jump on rookie #83 Sean Sikes from the drop of the green. Hardy, would soon find a stern challenge to the outside in turn one on lap 3, as #71 Pete Gettliffe would take control at the front in his Rockwell Watches Sponsored Pinto. It was this point in the race when promising upstart Holmes began to make a name for himself, getting to the inside of #57 Ryan Toon in turn three to take over 3rd place positioning. On lap 4, Holmes would close in on Hardy in the race for 2nd, with Holmes capturing the spot with a clean outside pass in turn 3, leaving Hardy to now fend off Toon to the outside for 3rd. Also working his way towards the front was #77 Mike Gettliffe, as the former Thunder Car pilot had now entered the top 5 in his TMK Mechanical/ TSS Top Shops Sponsored Dodge Neon. Gettliffe, would soon work his way past both Hardy and Toon to take control of 3rd, with Holmes now hounding the elder Gettliffe for the race lead just a little further up ahead.
On lap 6, Holmes would make the winning move, again finding the outer groove to his liking, as he slipped past Pete Gettliffe in turn one to take control at the front of the pack. Gettliffe, would soon fall back into the clutches of son Mike, who made a stunning outside pass of his father and fellow competitor on the outside of turn 3, just shy of the midway point to take over second. Holmes, was increasing his lead over the Gettliffe battle with each passing lap at this point, as he was now clear by half straightaway at the front of the field. Not much would change over the duration of this one, as Holmes would easily cruise to the victory, by a wide margin over #77 Mike Gettliffe at the line. #9 Charlie Smith would come home in 3rd, with #10 Doug Butler and Toon rounding out the fast five. Unofrtunately the post race technical inspection would catch up with defending track champ Smith for oversize valves, negating his third place result, and bumping both Butler and Toon up one position, as #71 Pete Gettliffe would become the eventual 5th place finisher.
Heat wins went to Butler with a pair, Holmes, and #71 "Scrap Iron" Pete Gettliffe.
PIT NOTES ------------- Be sure to join us this coming weekend Sat July 20th for the first and only Barrie appearance of 2013 for the Lucas Oil Can Am TQ Midgets. These little devils will be the fastest vehicle of any sort to adorn the tight and tricky one third mile tri oval configuration this season, with many of the divisions front runners capable of sub 13 second lap times. 2011 Barrie race winner and former Cascar Super Series competitor #74 Rob Neely currently sits atop the point standings, with last seasons Barrie champ #40 Mack Deman currently in 2nd, roughly 60 points behind, while Wyoming resident #39 Corey Moseker sits third having gone to victory lane just last weekend at Flamboro Speedway. Last season's Barrie race was a caution free 25 lap affair that took just a few minutes to complete and featured passing all over the speedway.. THIS WILL PROVE TO BE A CAN'T MISS EVENT!! All three home track divisions are also back in action, with pit gate opening at 1pm, spectator gates commencing business at 5pm, and green flag slated to drop at 6:30pm sharp as all the action will be presented by the good folks at Industrial Commutator in Barrie.
A new face would take to the Pure Stock ranks for the first time in 2013, as #79 Nicole Podewils would make her first career Barrie start,, The highly talented Podewils would have to start shotgun the entire night but she wouldn't let that deter her penchant for impressive results, turning in 4th and 5th place heat results, go go along with a feature finish just outside the top 5 in a deep and talent laden 17 car field. The 02 ride usually campaigned by Shawn Murray would see Darryl St. Onge take the wheel after the Murray accident in the initial feature. St. Onge, only making his 2nd career Late Model venture would turn in an impressive performance is substitute duty, keeping a clean car under him the entire 30 laps while bring home an 8th place feature result.