|Date: 5/19/2010 8:36:53 PM|
RICK @ the RACES ( 14/15/16 May)
14 May Mohawk International Raceway (NY)
15 May Brockville Ontario Speedway (Ont)
16 May Cornwall Motor Speedway (Ont)
At last my daily work schedule combined with Mother Nature to give me a perfect weekend of racing. A nice 6-00pm finish from my Cornwall (Ont) work base on Friday allowed me to make the quick dash across the Seaway Bridge to Hogansburg (NY) and the Mohawk International Raceway. The season opener which I missed the previous week had to be cut short late because of rain and the second of the twin Modified features had to be postponed. This meant there were two big races for me tonight. In the first one, my friend and veteran racer Laurent Ladouceur of Alexandria (Ont) did a wild flip between turn three and four which brought red flag conditions. Laurent walked away from the wreck all OK, and was soon in the pits unloading his back up car for the next race.
Once restarted, Dan Jalbert charged away unchallenged to take the checkers. Most of the second Modified feature was led by Dale Planck until team mate and car owner Carey Terrance blasted past him to victory. In the other major divisions, Louie Jackson won the Pro Stocks and Chris Raabe the SPORTSMAN.
I'd been looking forward to the next two days on my agenda which were the season openers at the Brockville Ontario Speedway on Saturday and the Cornwall Motor Speedway on Sunday.
It was a little bit overcast on Saturday, but it was dry and things looked good. On my arrival there were plenty of cars waiting to fill the pits and as start time got nearer the grandstands became full of eager fans. I did my customary walk around the pits and chatted to many of my friends. Apologies if I miss anyone , but here's a few I recall. From the Sportsman ranks , there was Ralph and Tabatha Murphy (66) . 'Tabs' is one of the prettier faces you'll see around the pits and I'm always ready with my camera when a photo opportunity arises !
I then moved along and chatted to another Sportsman driver, Steve Barber (80). I have to say a big thanks to Steve, who is now the third driver to add the www.rickattheraces.com logo to his car. The others are, the aforementioned Tabatha and my friend Billy the 'Mohawk Express' Cook (M70) . It's a real nice gesture of you guys, and it really makes me feel good when I see what you have done.
The next person I spoke to was Modified Veteran Dave Heaslip (1). A couple of years ago he bought a car from the Parts Peddler Show in New York which he has now raced for the past two seasons. For some reason this car never 'delivered the goods' and these must have been Dave's least successful years. When I saw the black 'Parts Peddler' signed car in the pits, I thought the worst ! and he must be having another try at getting it sorted, but I was wrong. He told me he is now using an old car from a few years back which he won the MIR (formerly Frogtown Speedway) championship with and only the body panels are from the ill fated Peddler Car. It definitely went better and I won't be surprised to see the 'Slip' back in Victory Lane this year. Dave who is in his sixties also told me that this would be his final year of racing. My reply to that was 'Yeah, right ! Dave , I bet we will be having this same conversation next year '
I also chatted to another good friend of mine, Stephane Lafrance. 'Steph' is always willing to try out new ideas and after racing only part time in 2009 is back with a vengeance this year with a brand new creation. He was was having cooling problems and explained to me what he was doing to cure it. As for the man himself, he was sounding pretty bad and an was suffering the same Flu like symptoms that I've had for the past week. Lucky for 'Steph' I had some 'Fisherman Friends' in my pocket !
In the Modified feature we were all treated to a great race between Cornwall's Gage Morin (16) and Kingston's Tim O'Brien (88). As they went into the last lap it looked like O'Brien had the edge, but some how Morin found a way past while negotiating lapped traffic so took the flag.
The SPORTSMAN feature was another run away victory for Chris Raabe (01)
After the overcast skies at Brockville, the sun was out for Cornwall . An earlier start time ( 6-00pm) and the addition of SPORTSMAN to this years schedule will be an interesting change to what we have become accustomed to. As a staff member I usually arrive at 3-00pm but decided that because this was the opener I would get there even earlier.
As well as the new SPORTSMAN division there was an extra Modified feature too. The first of the 25 lappers was won young Matt Billings (74) of Brockville who has recently moved up from SPORTSMAN. He made history at last October's SUPER DIRT WEEK when he won that divisions biggest race on the 'Moody Mile' at Syracuse. The Cornwall win came in very similar circumstances to Gage Morins win the night before. After a race long duel with Tim O'Brien, lapped cars once more became the deciding factor. As the two of them raced to the flag, back markers came between. As the starter got ready to drop the checkers a big wreck took place, Billings passed the finish line first but O'Brien went over it backwards to claim second. Exciting stuff !
The second Modified feature was also exciting, but for different reasons. It all looked like Laurent Ladouceur had got it in the bag, but Kayle Robidoux (43) had other ideas. In the last few laps he powered his way through the field and after passing Danny O'Brien (7*) and Eric Gauvreau (22) he was soon on Ladouceurs back bumper. It didn't take him too long to get past and when the checkers fell it was the St Constant , Quebec man who claimed the honors.
The PRO STOCK feature was another victory for Joey Ladouceur, but the driver that impressed me most was Corey Wheeler (47) who showed he's got great potential and better things to come.
Most people ( me included) expected the SPORTSMAN feature to be Chris Raabe's third win , in as many nights, but once again it was lapped cars that changed the result. Raabe had a commanding lead, but instead easing off, and taking it cautiously he chose to press on and keep the hammer down. While passing a couple of less experienced drivers, metal hit metal and the inevitable happened. A big wreck occurred and the chance of a hat rick were gone. Long Time trier Chris Herbison (63) was there to take the Victory. He told me afterwards he'd been trying for a Cornwall feature win for 14 years.
PIC 1 Laurent Ladouceur flips at the MIR
PIC 2 Laurent Ladouceur's car after his flip
PIC 3 Dan Jalbert shares the MIR Victory Lane with his son.
PIC 4 Carey Terrance wins the second MIR Mod Feature
PIC 5 Chris Raabe shares Victory Lane with his car owner Perry Francis
PIC 6 Tabatha Murphy at the BOS
PIC 7 Steve Barber at the BOS
PIC 8 Dave Heaslip, Eric Gauvreau and Adam Moore at the BOS
PIC 9 Gage Morin and Tim O'Brien at the BOS
PIC 10 Gage Morin is joined in the BOS Victory Lane by his Grandfather Ron Morin
PIC 11 SPORTSMAN action at the BOS , Sheldon Hoogwerf (27) in trouble
PIC 12 BOS SPORTSMAN winner Chris Raabe in Victory Lane
PIC 13 Stephane Lafrance lines up at the CMS
PIC 14 Tammy Jalbert (95) and Matt Billings (74) in action at the CMS
PIC 15 SPORTSMAN action at the CMS
PIC 16 SPORTSMAN action at the CMS , Chris Raabe in trouble
PIC 17 Matt Billings in the CMS Victory Lane
PIC 18 Kayle Robidoux in the CMS Victory Lane
PIC 19 The Chris Raabe car after his CMS feature race wreck
PIC 20 Chris Herbison is joined in the CMS Victory Lane by his father.
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