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Two days of top-level racing over the long weekend at Saratoga Speedway

By Pat Monsigneur
The Battle at Black Creek racers and fans gather for “Fan fest” on the front stretch. Photo by BlackWolf Photography, Campbell River

By Pat Monsigneur

Special to Black Press

Saratoga Speedway presented the second annual “Battle At Black Creek” featuring Late Model, Street Stock, iMod, and Dwarf Cars.

Canada Day weekend spectators were treated to two full days of dramatic racing action that saw on-track penalties handed out, one racer removed from competition, and a rare reversal of finishing order due to official score-keeping and telemetry software error!

The two-day program provided two feature races for each class, including two 75-lap Street Stock mains, and two 125-lap Late Model battles. The contest opened with Dwarf Cars setting the tone racing a virtually caution-free 20-lap main. #16 of Dan Scott from Black Creek came oh-so-close but couldn’t quite crack the top three as #3 Zack Zeinstra kept Scott on his back-bumper to the finish line, taking third place. It was Brad Struck #52 in second with Joel Brooks #21 at the top of the podium.

In the 25-lap VIROC iMod feature, #78 Dave Emmerson got it done beating local favourite Chris Beaulieu #91 by 0.300 with Brad Purdy #8 following in third place. The 75-lap “Street Stock” feature didn’t disappoint. The close racing saw a significant collision ending the night of #61 Nolan Perry resulting in a full-track red flag. It was during the red that the scoring telemetry error occurred and kept Beaulieu incorrectly off the lead-lap. Although he muscled his car from the back to the front twice, when the 75 laps were complete the automated system had the #91 in fourth place. It was #20 Kyle Wade, #27 Kale Woodske and # 67 Billy Coles from Pentiction scoring 1-2-3. Immediately following the end of competition the race-director and telemetry operator called the speedway’s general manager to the control tower for consultations. Two hours later it was clear that Beaulieu had won the race, placing Wade in second-place (a heart breaking decision as it would have been Kyle’s first ever stock-car win)! The race order was corrected the next morning making it official.

The first 125-lap “Late Model” feature completed the first half with 16 cars entered including local talent #22 Jeff Lee, #50 Dwayne Zeinstra, and after a 12-year absence from the Black Creek oval: #28 Nick Wiesselmann. In the end it was the #16 of Rory Smith crossing the finish line first before veteran racer Kurt Rompaine’s #55 and the #41 of Spenser Carlson.

On Saturday Round 2 began with an extended 25-lap Dwarf Car feature race. The heat from the blacktop added to the excitement providing more grip to the already significantly rubber laden racetrack. Brad Struck #52 nailed it for the win with Mike Haslam (#17) finishing second and Brayden Aumen (#88) in third.

During the VIROC iMod second feature, Friday’s winner Emmerson found himself watching from the infield after being parked after lap 12 for driving that was too aggressive for the race director and flagman’s liking. Other incidents saw both stop-and-go and rolled black-flag warnings handed out by veteran flagman Ted Dimtrov but the race concluded safely and it was the weekend’s “Glacier Valley Homes Pole Award” double-winner Cayden Smith #1 on the podium for a well deserved feature win. Mike Haslam (#22) captured second and Beaulieu crossed the line in third place, just 0.020 behind, before jumping into his “Street Stock” for the next race.

That would mark the end of the fun for Beaulieu as he was DQ’d for a safety infraction at lap 42, setting the stage for local drywall man and perennial hard-charger #16 Brendan Moore to take the checkered flag ahead of Kale Woodske and Wade.

The big show of “The Battle At Black Creek” Canada Day Weekend impressed everyone! Three stories unfolded; first Kurt Rompain brought his 55 in for repairs during a caution, which would cost him dearly at the tech-pad later due to the installation of an illegal tire during the stop. After a spectacular display of racing, Rory Smith won back-to back Battle Of Black Creek trophies and the third story was rookie Late Model driver Dwayne Zeinstra of Black Creek who wheeled his way to a second-place finish in front of his home town fans while Kyle Cottam grabbed a third place finish with his #4 Chevrolet.

Next week its the “Quinsam Sprint Car Classic” which is the third contest in the new “Northwest Sprint Car Tour.” Tickets are still available for both these events; to reserve yours go to: