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Written by Ken Keating – Photos by Illusion Photography (ISN)

May 19, 2013, Langford, BC (ISN) -The skies were grey for most of the day with rain threatening to wash out another event at Western Speedway but at race time the skies cleared and the Island Stock Cars, the SDL Bins, I.M.S. 4 Mini Stocks made their second appearance.

The OTRA Series plus the Keg Steakhouse & Bar Driver Challenge opened their season with two fifty lap Feature events. Trophy Dash winners were Brandon Steen in the Stock Cars, George Jenson with the OTRA Series, and Justin Woodske with the Mini Stock Series. Heat race winners included Matt Szauer with the Mini Stock, Duane Zeinstra with the OTRA Series, Chris McInerny with the Stock Cars, and Bart Smith and Aaron Wilkie in the Late Model Series.

Billy Stidston and Matt Szauer shared the front row as seven cars took the green flag for the start of SDL Bins Mini Stock Feature event. For the first eight laps, Szauer and Stidston ran door handle to door handle until Szauer managed to get clear of Stidston for the outright lead by lap nine. This race was very tight as Caleb Van Bree got into contention taken the second spot by lap ten with Justin Woodske also moving into the thick of things. On lap twelve Van Bree moved to the inside and took over the lead while Szauer remained in the second spot and Woodske and Stidston still racing hard. When the chequered flag dropped, Van Bree took the win followed by Szauer, Stidston, Woodkse and Alex Mouner rounding out the top five positions.

DSC08739Caleb Van Bree wins SDL Bins, I.M.S. 4 Mini Stock Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

James Miller had the pole for the start of the OTRA Feature event and grabbed the lead early followed by Joe Dardengo and George Jenson by lap five. Behind them Denis Morneau and Duane Zeinstra were driving their way into contention by lap fourteen often racing side by side. On lap twenty-three Miller still had the lead while Jenson, Morneau, and Zeinstra battled for position. On the white flag lap, Jenson spun out coming out of turn two while Miller drove to the chequered flag. Zeinstra got by for the second spot followed by Joe Dardengo, Jesse Dardengo, and Morneau finishing the top five.

DSC08747 (2)James Miller wins OTRA Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Rhett Smith and Chris McInerny shared the front row for twenty-five laps of racing for the Island Stock Car Series and before the end of the first lap, Dave Reside grabbed the lead followed by Shane Scott and Brian Clutchey. By lap twelve, Daryl Crocker moved up to run fourth with Kevin Knight moving up as well. By lap eighteen, Crocker and Knight passed Clutchey for third and fourth as up front Reside was still leading. Brandon Steen managed to get into the battle with Clutchey, Knight, and Crocker, but when the chequered flag dropped, Reside held for the win followed by, Scott, Knight, Crocker, and Clutchey holding the top five positions.

Murray Dyck and Rory Smith shared the front row for the start of the Keg Steakhouse & Bar Driver Challenge first Twin Fiftys Feature event with Smith grabbing the lead very quickly. Geoff Morris, who returned to the Late Model Series and announced his engagement, moved into the second spot but on lap sixteen the yellow came out as several cars made contact around turn three and four. When Bob Kuhn spun around everyone tried to check up, Sean Staniforth had a big tire rub on his car, Darrell Midgley had to replace a front fender before the second Feature, with a few other drivers taking evasive measures. Brandon Carlson hit a rock taking such action and punctured the oil pan on his Monte Carlo when he spun going through the infield. This caution turned out to be quite lengthy and eventually stopped the race while the Richlock Rentals Broom Crew cleaned up an oil spill left by the #14 car that went undetected for three laps. This also ended Carlson’s night very early. On the restart Smith again went into the lead followed by Morris, Darrell Midgley, Dyck, and Wade Bland by lap twenty. On lap twenty-seven Morris dove to the inside and grabbed the lead from Smith while the next three drivers battled hard for their positions. Once out front, Morris managed to get away by several cars lengths and went on to take this feature followed by Smith, Brent Morris, Bland, and Darrell Midgley rounding out the top five positions.

Geoff Morris wins Keg Steakhouse & Bar Driver Challenge – Race 1 Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Dave Hemrich and Otto Bahati led fourteen cars to the green flag for the last of two fifty lap Feature events for the Keg Steakhouse & Bar Driver’s Challenge race. By lap seven, Hemrich had the lead followed by Darrell Midgley, and Wade Bland in tight bumper to bumper racing. Over the next several laps the running order stayed pretty much the same with each driver trying to find an opening to grab the next position. On lap twenty-six, Bland was the first to find an opening taking the second position dropping Midgley back to third and one lap later Geoff Morris also dropped Midgley back a position moving up to run third. Up front, Hemrich had several car lengths on the field but the group behind started to reel him in by lap forty-two. On lap forty-four, Bland dove to the inside and went by for the lead and the rest of the top five still close running nose to tail. On lap forty-eight the yellow came out as Rory Smith’s #16 quit and came to a stop on the front stretch by Victory Square. The excess fuel caught fire in the exhaust pipe putting on quite a show and it was enough to get the fire crew out there in a hurry. Once Rory’s car was pushed clear, the field again bunched up for a double file restart and setting up a green, white, chequered finish.

Bland and Hemrich took the inside groove around the cone while Jason Tarasenko and Geoff Morris could gain the outside groove as they lined up for the flag. When the green flag dropped Morris quickly jumped to the lead and grabbed his second win of the night. Bland held on for second, while Darrel Midgley grabbed third, followed by Hemrich, and Jason Tarasenko rounding out the top five positions in a great exciting run to the flag. Morris said during the race interview: “I have no idea what happened. I couldn’t believe Hemrich stayed to the inside and I suddenly found I was in a position to take the win” after the comment “Crazy finish” Morris also took both ends of the twin fifties about two years ago on route to a Late Model Championship with the ASA Late Model Tour.

DSC08762 (2)Geoff Morris wins Keg Steakhouse & Bar Driver Challenge – Race 2 Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

The next event, at Western Speedway, is scheduled for May 25th with the Lordco Auto Parts Demo Cars, Demo Trucks, Figure 8s, and the Bombers. Also on this card is the return of Rockstar and California Kid, the big Monster Trucks for the first of two appearances for 2013 sponsored by Heritage Board Supply. Western Speedway also will feature a Total Destruction with about eight small pickup trucks like the Chevy S10s and the Ford Rangers.