By Doug Waller
Special to Black Press
Warm weather greeted both racers and race fans from all over Vancouver Island when they arrived at Saratoga Speedway on Saturday afternoon, July 3, for the grand reopening of Saratoga Motorsports Park and the Pepsi-sponsored race event featuring the always entertaining Old Time Racing Association ( OTRA) and the thunderous VIROC iMod modified race cars.
The evening also provided entertainment from the wickedly fast WILROC non-winged Sprint cars, the Ace Brewing Bomber car class and the Kyte Delivery Hornet A division cars. The evening began with a wonderfully sung, spine-tingling Canadian anthem by Amanda Hicks.
The Charlie Ackerman #24 won the Ace Brewing Bomber main while Calvin Chamberlain finished second in the 30-lap race. Darrel Larson brought home the third-place trophy in a clean race that entertained the fans.
Boston Larson driving in two classes back to back, the Hornets and Bombers, took the checkered flag in the Kyte Delivery Hornet A main event. Jen New finished second in her speedy #66. Colton Ohman finished third.
In the high horsepower to weight ratio VIROC Drywall iMod class main event, experience paid off for Geoff Morris winning his 30-lap feature event under summer eve blue skies. The patriotic red and white #8 of Brad Purdy finishing in second, 0.1 seconds faster than third-place finisher Pat Brown.
The OTRA always entertains with its classy 1930s classic bodies on top of modern-day race chassis. In the OTRA 30-lap main Troy Tarbuck averaged 132 km/h ran the fastest lap in 16.498 seconds and also wove through traffic to be the first to the checkered flag with Jamie Morgan 0.7 seconds behind. Doug Richens claimed third by finishing 1.5 seconds behind the winner.
In the evening’s big feature race of 12 WILROC non-winged Sprint cars, Gary Smith won in his 350 Chev powered 2006 Beast Chassis while clocking a 14.541-second fast lap midrace. Aaron Willison wove through traffic to capture a second place finish. James Miller in his 2008 XXX chassis finished third and ran the fastest lap of the race with a tire blistering 14.393 seconds on the 3/8 of a mile oval on lap 18 of the 35 lap feature race. That is an average speed of almost 151 km/hr. Now you know the rest of the story.
A surprise to many at the speedway was one of the new owners, Rob Leighton, was the driver of the Kyte Delivery Corvette pace car for most of the main events. So many fans expressed their gratitude to both Rob and Lee Leighton , the new track owners, at the opening ceremonies with a thunderous round of applause for their efforts with rebuilding the Saratoga Motorsports Park speedway.
The next race day is on July 10. The classes running that night will include the Ace Brewing Bombers, the Kyte Delivery Hornets and the Crash to Pass stockcars participating in great family entertainment racing. July 9 will be the Friday night Drifters. Check out the Saratoga Motorsports website at saratogaracing.ca and on Facebook to see all the images from the race events and the upcoming race schedule. Welcome back to the track.