Coming into the season, everybody knew that we’d have a new champion as last year’s champion Nicole Podewils was running a part-time schedule. So who would it be to take the reins and run with it?
So far, one month into the season, Eric Yorke has the early advantage. Yorke leads the Mini Stock standings by 38 points with two feature wins. The other two feature wins went to Gary Jones and Warren Paxton, which neither is running the full 2012 Sunset Speedway schedule. Jones is running the full schedule at Sauble Speedway while Paxton is running a part-time schedule.
The season would start off on May 5th with Sauble Speedway regular Gay Jones starting on the pole in his VW Rabbit after winning both heats, and then going on to win the feature. It was also a night that showed the strength of both Dan Britt and Warren Paxton, too, as they both won both of their heats. Part-timer Paxton finished second, followed by Rob Krystal, Doug Butler and Dan Britt. Yorke would start his season with a sixth place finish.
On the second night of the season, Paxton would win both of his heats while Flamboro Speedway regular Brandon McFerran would score his first Sunset Speedway Mini Stock heat win. Last year’s rookie of the year James Low would lead early, before being passed by Yorke on lap four. Yorke would lead the remaining laps to score his first ever career feature victory. Britt finished second, followed by Paxton, Krystal and McFerran.
On the third night of racing, Yorke would win both of his heats while both Mike Robinson Jr. and rookie Tyler Dickson would score their first ever career heat wins. Due to the high car count, there’d be a B-Main and Harold Noseworthy would come home victorious. In the A-Main, Rory Collett would start pole due to mechanical problems the first two weeks and would lead early. Collett would lead till lap 19, when Yorke would make the pass and lead the final six laps. Collett would home second, followed by Rob Krystal, Tyler Johnston and Robinson Jr.
On the fourth night of racing, Robinson Jr. and Collett won both of their heats, showing that they both have strong cars for 2012. Rob Gibson would start on pole and lead early after his previous mechanical issues. However after the first caution on lap eight, Gibson quickly dropped through the field, handing the lead over to Collett. Collett would lead till lap 13 when he was passed by Paxton, who had taken the previous weekend off to race at Peterborough Speedway. Paxton would lead the final 14 laps of the 25 lap feature to win over Yorke, Britt, Collett and Dickson.
Master of Consistency: Dan Britt
He did it last year and he looks to be doing it again. While Dan Britt may not be finding victory lane each week, it’s his consistency that will lead him to a solid finish in the points. So far this year, he has finished in the top five in three of the four features. The third night of racing he finished eighth after being involved in two cautions, including one when he was spun by Tyler Dickson.
Surprise!: Mike Robinson Jr., Tyler Johnston and Tyler Dickson
After having a rough year last year, Mike Robinson Jr. came into this season looking for a solid season. He so far is off to a good start as he has surprised some people by finishing in the top six in his four features, including a pair of third place finishes. He also scored his first heat win on May 19th, backing it up with two more on May 26th. Heading into fan night, the fans are pumped up to see Lightning McQueen running well.
Last year was Tyler Johnston’s first year behind a Mini Stock and needless to say, it was a year of learning. This year, he is putting those lessons to use as he has finished seventh, eighth, fourth and eighth in the features this year, along with a couple of second place heat finishes. His first heat and feature win are getting closer with each solid run.
Tyler Dickson came into this season as a rookie. However, he had been around the track for a while, helping out other drivers, including Super Stock competitor Paul Maltese. So far this year, he has surprised people by scoring his first ever heat win and finishing top 10 in his feature starts.
Mechanical Gremlins: Rory Collett
If it wasn’t for two nights of mechanical issues in a row, Rory Collett easily could be higher on the standings. He started the year off with having problems the first two nights. However, he came back and finished second on May 19th and fourth on May 26th while winning a pair of heats. If he keeps it together in June, he could make that his stand out month. He currently sits 10th in points, 69 points out of the top five.
Bad Luck: Rob Gibson & Harold Noseworthy
Coming into the season, Rob Gibson was excited about his chances for this year. However, it hasn’t been a kind season for the driver of the No. 3. On the first night, he would suffer mechanical problems. He would finish eighth in the feature on the third night. However, his bad luck would bite again with a hard wreck into the outside wall on the fourth night. If he can put the car back together and escape the bad luck, he may be able to rebound.
Another driver excited coming into the season was Harold Noseworthy, however it has been a mixed bag of results so far. He opened the year off with a solid 10th place finish. On the second night, he would be involved in an early caution when he spun Stephen Wilson. Then after a rain delay, his front tire would fall off, ending his night. On the third night, Noseworthy wouldn’t have a good heat effort, therefore having to run the B-Main. He would prove that he has a strong car in the B-Main, though, as he came home with the win. In the A-Main, Noseworthy came home with a 12th place finish after starting at the back. On the fourth night, Noseworthy would spin on lap five due to contact from Tyler Dickson. He would finish the race in 13th.
Scary Fire: Lisa Wells
Rookie Lisa Wells brought forth the scariest moment of the season when her car caught fire on the backstretch on the third night of racing. There’d be no injuries and she had her car back out for the fourth night of racing. On her night back, she ran up in the top five in both her heats while finishing 14th in the feature.