Saturday night’s racing at Saratoga Speedway was held under clear skies with a nip of fall in the air. It was the last visit of the season for the Island Dwarf cars, Motorcycles and Wilroc Lite Sprint cars.
The Sprint cars season point championship was up for grabs as only four points separated the top two cars heading into the 30-lap main event. Victoria drivers Matt Verhagen and Jeff Bird were only two with a shot at the championship.
Verhagen had the lead, meaning Bird had to place well in the nine-car race to have any chance to claim the title. The issue was decided on the 11th lap. Bird had chased down leader Duane Zeinstra and was attempting to pass the Black Creek driver on the inside coming through the dog-leg when his front right tire made contact with the #2 car, damaging his front end, sending him into the pits and leaving the championship in Verhagen’s hands.
Verhagen chased down Zeinstra but couldn’t overtake him and had to settle for second as Zeinstra cruised to the win.
Verhagen put the pressure on Bird right away as he qualified fastest with a quick 14.669-second lap to grab top points in qualifying, Bird returned the favour by winning the first heat. Zeinstra, who also serves as the speedway tech man for the Bomber and Crash to Pass cars, picked up his first of two wins on the night in the trophy dash while Victoria’s Chris Root won the second heat.
The Dwarf cars saw Jim Pridge the night’s big winner as he took 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 captured 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 went to Anthony Grey.
Both the IMCA Modifieds and Bomber cars ran their penultimate race of the 2012 season as they close out their season on Sept. 8. In Modified racing Tim Openshaw posted fast time with a quick 15.555 lap. Cumberland’s Kevin Noble, the defending point champion, won the heat race and main event with Parksville’s Pat Brown taking the trophy dash win.
Bomber cars point leader Stewart Lee assures himself his second point championship in three years after he posted 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 with Darrell capturing the second heat. Ryan Monks picked up his first win of the season with a impressive drive in the first heat.
PIT TALK The biggest two-day race event of the season goes rain or shine this weekend as the Canadian-American Demolition Derby invades the Black Creek oval … it will be a big weekend for Oyster River’s Chris Beaulieu as he goes into a double race in Edmonton as the points leader in the NPP Dirt Late Series in his attempt to match dad Jason as a series point champion … following this weekend’s racing the final race of the season (also rain or shine) at Saratoga on Sept. 8 will feature the IMCA Modifieds, Bombers, Crash to Pass, Hornets, Figure 8s and Roadrunners … tickets are now available at the speedway for the Oct. 20 awards banquet … tickets must be purchased before the last race of the season …
– Saratoga Speedway