After a night of full throttle speed Saturday night involving the lightning quick non wing Sprint cars and the powerful IMCA Modifieds, this coming long weekend will see Saratoga Speedway transform into Vancouver Island’s biggest crash fest as the annual two day Canadian American Demolition derby invades the Black Creek oval.
Saturday night’s racing, sponsored by Napa Auto parts, was raced under clear skies with a nip of fall in the air. It was the last visit of the season for the Island Dwarf cars, Speedway motorcycles and the Wilroc Lite Sprint cars, with the Saratoga Speedway season point championship up for grabs. Only four points separated the top two Sprint cars heading into the 30 lap main event.
Victoria’s Matt Verhagen and fellow Victoria driver Jeff Bird went into the main event as the only two drivers that could walk away with the championship. Verhagen went into the race leading the point race, forcing Bird to place well in the nine-car race to have any chance at claiming the championship. The championship was decided on the eleventh lap as Bird had chased down leader Duane Zeinstra and was attempting to pass the Black Creek driver on the inside coming through the dog-leg portion of the oval when his front right tire made contact with Zeinstra’s car which damaged Bird’s front end sending him into the pits leaving the championship in Verhagen’s hands. Not content on winning the championship in that manner Verhagen also chased down the leader but couldn’t muster up enough of a challenge to overtake Zeinstra and settled for second and the 2012 point championship while Zeinstra would coast to the main event win.
The Dwarf cars event saw Jim Pridge as the night’s big winner as he took wins in both heat races and the 15 lap main event while Campbell River’s Stewart Lee got behind the wheel of a Dwarf car for the first time and came away a winner in his first race after placing first in the four-lap trophy dash.
The motorcycles also finished off their season with Joel Forth a double winner in the trophy dash and heat race while the main event win would go to Anthony Grey.
Both the IMCA Modifieds and Bomber cars ran their second to last race night of the 2012 season as they close out their season on September 8.
In Modified racing, Tim Openshaw posted fast time with a quick 15.55 lap however, Cumberland’s Kevin Noble, the defending points champion, took the win in the heat race and main event with Parksville’s Pat Brown taking the trophy dash win.
The Bomber cars saw point leader Stewart Lee assure himself his second point championship in three years after he posted the fast time then ran away with the win in the 20-lap main event. The Larsen brothers matched each other for wins as Darren took the trophy dash win with Darrell capturing the second heat win while Ryan Monks picked up his first win of the season with a impressive win in the first heat.
Extra laps…With cars expected from all over the Island and the Lower Mainland, this weekend will be the biggest two-day race event of the season as along with the Can-Am’s a big field of Crash to Pass cars is expected along with a full field of Hornet cars, Figure 8 cars and Roadrunners. The Can-Am cars are expected to have nine cars per team while the crashers will likely have the numbers bolstered by cars from Victoria and the Lower Mainland.
The Can-Am’s will run three novelty races Saturday night, a cat and mouse race, a backwards and cone race and a most laps win race which will see a couple cars from each team complete as many laps as possible while the remaining cars will stop at nothing to block each other in a outrageous hard hitting demolition race where anything goes. On Sunday night the two teams will face off in a last team moving demolition derby to determine the 2012 Can-Am champion.
The two day event is a rain or shine show with gates open both nights at 5:30 p.m. and racing set for 7 p.m.