Haslam Wins Strawberry Cup

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

June 16, 2013, Langford BC. (ISN) – Speedway hosted the two day Strawberry Cup event on Friday and Saturday with the OTRA Series, the Island Dwarf Cars, the Richlock Rentals Non Wing Sprint Cars, and the Winged Sprint Cars making for a truly open wheel extravaganza all leading to the Strawberry Cup with the Non Wing Sprint Cars on Saturday.

Ryan Orchard, James Miller, Guy Barrett, and Duane Zeinstra picked up Trophy Dash wins while Mike Schott, George Jenson, Guy Barrett, and Matt Verhagen and Chris Root picked up Heat race wins. The Old Timers Heat saw Jesse Dardengo hit the front stretch wall hard doing a lot of damage to his car and ending his night after racing close with James Miller. Joe Dardengo avoided disaster after climbing the tire of Marc Parkinson’s car going through turn one and two. Joe headed for the wall but gathered it up and kept going without a crash or yellow flag.

Seven Dwarf cars lined up to take the green flag for a twenty-five lap Feature event. Mike Schott got out to the early lead followed by Dave Emmerson and Ryan Orchard. On lap ten Emmerson passed Schott for the lead and one lap later Orchard also got by Schott and took over the second spot. Schott would not go away or give up and on lap twelve reclaimed the second spot. Emmerson checked out and took the chequered flag followed by Schott, Orchard, and Tovay Helgesen rounding out the top four positions. Dave said he is lucky to drive the car that has the most wins ever in Dwarf Car competition.

Steven Dardengo and Roger Beck shared the front row for the start of the OTRA Feature event scheduled for twenty-five laps. Dardengo got out to the early lead as George Jenson, Duane Zeinstra and Dennis Morneau were in a tight battle for the second, third, and fourth positions. Jenson touched another tire and had to back off a bit as Morneau, Dardengo, and Zeinstra went three wide going through the corner. On lap six Zeinstra took over the lead and built a good lead. Morneau and Dardengo continued to fight hard for position while Jenson and James Miller were bumper to bumper just a ways behind them. Zeinstra went on to the win followed by Dardengo, Morneau, Jenson, and Miller rounding out the top five positions.

Duane Zeinstra winner OTRA Feature event both June 14 & 15th – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Mike Haslam and Cam McClean led a field of thirteen cars to the green flag for forty laps of racing with the Richlock Rentals Non Wing Sprint cars. Mike Haslam took the early lead followed by McClean and Chris Root with these three breaking from the rest of the field a bit. By lap eight Mark Stuart moved up to run fourth as Jeff Bird moved into fifth just as theyellow flag came out as Shane Woolcock spun out on turn three. On the restart, Stuart quickly took the third spot and by lap eleven passed for second. On lap seventeen, Bird entered the pits after the early challenge for the top five. On lap twenty, Stuart made the pass and took over the lead with McClean chasing him through for the second position. Over the next several laps, Root tried everything to get by Haslam by going low, then high but couldn’t make it stick and Haslam continued to shut the door. By this time Marc Parkinson had moved into that race and on the very last corner got too close spinning Root around on turn four. Stuart grabbed the win followed by McClean, Haslam, Matt Verhagen, and Lance Wade rounding out the top five positions.

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Mark Stuart Winner Dwarf Car Feature event June 14th – Photo by (Barrie Goodwin)

Seven cars took the green flag for twenty laps of racing with the high powered winged Sprint cars led by Wade Bland and Guy Barrett on the front row. Bland got out to the early lead followed by Barrett and Scott Aumen. By lap eleven Aumen put all kinds of pressure on Barrett for the second position running right on the bumper. Barrett and Aumen then started to put all kinds of pressure on the leader as the laps were winding down. With only four laps to go, Barrett went low, Aumen went high squeezing Bland in the middle as they headed for turn three and three wide. Barrett came out with the lead while Aumen came with him in second and the race was on. Aumen tried his patented slide job through turn one and two with the tires smokin, and again through three and four. The white flag was in the air and as these two drivers entered the final curve for the chequered flag Aumen was on the outside with the tires still smokin and blasted by for the win in a great finish for both of these talented drivers. If this is a sign of things to come for Saturday’s show, fans are in for a great treat with even more cars expected. This race only lasted just under five minutes.

Scott Aumen wins Winged Sprint Car Feature June 14th – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Day 2

The fans at Western Speedway were treated to the great voice of Jenny Rhodes as she opened the race program with O’Canada, a warm evening and then great racing as the Dwarf Cars, OTRA, the Winged Sprint Cars, and the Richlock Rentals Non Wing Sprint Cars running for the Strawberry Cup. Trophy Dash wins went to Dave Emmerson in the Dwarf Cars, Larry Joyce with OTRA, Mike Haslam in the Non Wing Sprints, and Guy Barrett in the Winged Sprint Cars. Dave Emmerson won the Dwarf Car Heat race while Kail Beck grabbed the win with OTRA, Guy Barrett won the Winged Sprint Car Heat, and Joe Dardengo and Chris Root won in the Non Wing Sprint Car Heats.

Guy Barrett Winner Winged Sprint Car Feature June 15th – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Tovay Helgesen and Bob Greenaway shared the front row for a twenty-five lap Feature event for the Dwarf Car Series. Ryan Orchard grabbed the lead very quickly followed by Mike Schott and Helgesen. By lap two, Dave Emmerson moved into the fifth spot and was working hard to get into contention. Up front Schott was trying hard to get by Orchard and ran side by side for a couple laps. By lap ten Emmerson had moved up to the third position but a ways back of the two top runners. Over the next several laps nothing changed in the running order but on lap twenty Schott and Orchard traded the lead back and forth with each driver using the inside lane to make a pass. Going through turn one, they somehow got together allowing Emmerson to come out with the lead and the race under the yellow. With a green, white, chequered finish Emmerson was declared the winner but with some controversy between the other two competitors who ran a very competitive race from start to finish. Dave invited Orchard to Victory Square and gave him the Feature event trophy and stated: “This is not the way I wanted the win”. but it did officially give Dave a clean sweep of the night for winning the two previous Dwarf Car races.

Dave Emmerson & Ryan Orchard June 15th – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Father and son Roger and Kail Beck shared the front row for the start of the OTRA Feature event with Kail taking an early lead but under pressure from George Jenson. On lap two Jenson made the pass for the lead while Duane Zeinstra was on the move from well back in the field and taking the third spot on lap six and made the pass for second one lap later. On lap eleven Zeinstra moved into the lead and started to drive away from the field. He cruised the remainder of the laps taking the chequered flag followed by Jenson, James Miller, and Kail Beck rounding out the top four positions.

Twelve Non Wing Sprint Cars lined up for thirty-five laps of racing for the prestigious Strawberry Cup led by Matt Verhagen and Cam McClean on the front row. By lap three, Chris Root drove to the lead followed by McClean and Mike Haslam. By lap six Lance Wade moved up to the second spot with Haslam still in the mix. By lap nine Haslam moved up to the second spot with Root dropping back to third. Over the next several laps nothing changed in the running order. On lap nineteen Mark Stuart moved into contention running in the third position and the front runners closing in on lapped traffic. On lap thirty-three Haslam dove to the inside of Wade for the lead and using a slower car to advantage took over the lead and then drove to his first ever win in a non winged sprint car and captured the Strawberry Cup Feature event. Wade, Stuart, and Jeff Bird rounded out the top four positions.

Mike Haslam Wins Strawberry Cup June 15th – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)

Paul Verhagen and Nick Wood led seven cars to the green flag in a Feature event for the Winged Sprint Car Series scheduled for twenty laps. Verhagen led early but on lap four Guy Barrett took over the lead and began to run up a good lead. On lap six Scott Aumen took the second spot and a ways to go to reel in the leader. On lap eighteen, Aumen was right up on the leader and started to put pressure on Barrett for the lead. On the last lap Aumen did try to make a run but couldn’t quite make it stick as they come out of turn four. Barrett completed a clean sweep for the evening winning his previous races. Aumen, Matt Mansell, and Verhagen rounded out the top four positions in yet another sub five minute event. All winners received their trophies from Winter and Lori dressed in gowns courtesy of Victoria Bridal Boutique.

The next event, at Western Speedway, is opening night for the Steve Copp Construction sponsored Hornet Wednesday Night Fever event scheduled for June 19th. The next regular Saturday night event is June 22nd that will feature the second race of the Keg Steakhouse & Bar Driver Challenge, The SDL Bins I.M.S. 4 Mini Stocks, OTRA, the Hornets, and the Island Stock Cars. The Stock Cars will be competing for the Billy Foster Trophy and scheduled for 100 laps on Hall Of Fame Night with many of the Hall Of Fame drivers honored.