Peter Muloin spins out into the infield during Saratoga Speedway action on Saturday. Photo by Fernando Pereira

Memorial Races at Saratoga Speedway honour former drivers

Saturday night was Memorial Night at Saratoga Speedway as local racers competed for trophies for two former racers who passed away form cancer but the night turned into a night of nutrition as no fewer than two blown motors.

Two motor issues; two with internal issues and one broken axle highlighted the night’s racing. After being rained out May 13, the IMCA Modifieds competed for the Darrell Wardrope Memorial Trophy honoring the former Modified driver who lost his battle with cancer in February and it had Oyster River’s Chris Beaulieu capturing the 40-lap race which was an emotional race for the drivers as many of them were close personal friends with Wardrope.

The Bomber cars were competing for the 10th annual Brian Sullivan memorial in honor of the popular Bomber racer who also passed away from cancer. The 2017 winner was Port Alberni’s Charlie Ackerman.

The Modified night started with 12 cars but by the time the green flag fell for the 40 lap main, they were down to eight cars after Brad Kotscherofski blew his motor and Jeff May, Mike Dionne and Don Hallgarth were unable to make the race after problems plagued their cars.

After a bumper-to-bumper heat race with Beaulieu and Travis Stevenson was won by Stevenson, the main looked to be the same but contact with another car and being spun out in another incident put Stevenson a lap down to Beaulieu who won uncontested followed by Matt May, Peter Muloin, Jamie Flemming and Stevenson.

The Modified season began with a four lap trophy dash which had Flemming winning his very first Modified race followed by heat race wins for Beaulieu and two race wins for Dano Bryant.

The Bomber car 30 lap main was down to six cars after motor problems for Darrell Larson forced him to park his car for the night event and it saw the second blown motor of the night come on the sixth lap. Gary Marcus had his motor let go leaving a field of five cars to battle it out with Akerman back racing Bomber cars after a number of seasons away from the sport. Akerman went uncontested, winning the Brian Sullivan trophy ahead of Chad Taks, Boston Larson, Muarry Degraag and Devon Degraag.

Earlier Bomber races had Taks winning both the four-lap trophy dash and eight-lap heat race. The Road Runners were the third class filling out the night of racing and their night began with a four-lap trophy dash which had Garrett-Ann Rosner win her first ever Road Runner race. It also saw Terry Guest challenging Rosner for the lead on the fourth lap when he spun off the track and ended his night.

The rest of the Road Runner races belonged to Kevin Hack who won the eight-lap heat race then held off a strong surge from Ryan Guest to win the 15-lap main event by half a car length in the night’s closest finish with Austin Hack finishing third ahead of Rosner.

This Saturday night serves up the fifth race of the season for the Hornets, Mad Max, Crash to Pass and the Road Runners and they will be joined by four self loading Fearless Logging trucks for the annual speedway truck rodeo.

Heading into this weekend’s action, the season point races have close battles in all classes with Mike Jenkins sitting on top in the Crash to Pass division 14 points up on Scott McLellan and 25 up on third place Dan Kemp. In the Road Runners, defending point champion Ryan Guest has a slim seven-point advantage on Austin Hack with Kevin Hack only 28 back of Guest. In the Hornet car point races, Brandon Carter sits alone in first in the B division, 33 ahead of Michael White. The A division has Ryan Jensen in first, 17 points up on Carter Hintz and 26 ahead of Luke Dixon while the Mad Max division is the track’s closest battle as Danielle Antonik is only two points up on second place Damon Dunn.

This year’s truck rodeo will feature four trucks who will compete in two events to crown a winner. The first event will be a car toss and the two trucks tossing their cars the furthest will then compete in a race to see who can tear the motor out of their car the fastest. The fastest will be declared the 2017 Truck rodeo champion.

Guest talk…Point standings in the speedway’s other two classes has Beaulieu 54 points ahead of Stevenson and Muloin for top stop followed by Matt May 58 back and Flemming 74 back and in the Bomber points standings, Akerman is 21 points up on Taks followed by Boston Larson 49 back; Muarry Degraag 50 back and his son Devon is 64 back…… paving of a major section of the infield will be done in time for Saturday night’s racing.