Story by Ken Keating – Photos by Illusion Photography (ISN)
July 7, 2013, Langford, BC (ISN) – Western Speedway was the host for a full program of racing with the Island Stock Cars, the Island Dwarf Cars, the SDL Bins I.M.S. 4 Mini Stock Series, and the Richlock Rentals Non Wing Sprint Cars running for the Canada Cup.
After a meet and greet on the front stretch, fans watched Dave Emmerson win the Trophy Dash for the Dwarf Cars, Matt Szauer in the Mini Stocks, Brian Clutchey in the Stock Cars, and Mike Haslam in the Sprint Car Series. Heat race wins went to Ryan Orchard and Shaun Watt with the Dwarf cars, Caleb Van Bree with the Mini Stocks, Brandon Steen and Brian Clutchey with the Stock Car Series, and Mike Haslam and Jeff Bird in the Sprint Car Series.
Wayde Heckford and Tovay Helgesen led eleven cars to the green flag for twenty-five laps of racing in the Island Dwarf Car Feature event. Heckford got away first and grabbed the lead followed by Mike Schott and Helgesen but by lap five Ryan Orchard passed for the lead dropping Heckford back to second. By lap eleven, Mike Meeres took the third spot as he was moving forward. Over the remainder of this race nothing changed too much as Orchard stayed in command. He carried on for the win followed by Meeres, Schott, Heckford and Helgesen. After a controversial call the last time here, Orchard went unchallenged once he gained the lead.
Ryan Orchard Wins Island Dwarf Car Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)
James Miller and Billy Stidston shared the front row for the SDL Bins Mini Stock Feature event with seven drivers taking the green flag. By lap seven, Matt Szauer had the lead followed by Alex Mouner and Caleb Van Bree but three laps later Mouner passed Szauer for the lead. The yellow came out a couple laps later as the close racing for second with Szauer and Van Bree caused the #18 to go around and placed both drivers to the back for the restart. Justin Woodske and Mouner were side by side for the resumption of green flag racing and Mouner quickly got the advantage and went back to the lead. Over the next several laps the two front runners built a good lead as the other drivers fought for positions. Mouner held off Woodske’s challenge to take the chequered flag as Van Bree and Szauer fought back for a third and fourth spot respectively.
Alex Mouner Wins Mini Stock Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)
Forty laps marked the distance for the Feature event for the Island Stock Cars led by Wayne Hart and Brandon Steen on the front row. Steen grabbed the lead early as Shane Scott and Rhett Smith moved into the second and third spot respectively. On lap twelve, Smith passed Scott for the second position and began to reel in the leader. On lap twenty Smith tried to go low but couldn’t quite make it stick and while the front runners were battling for the lead Scott moved right up to challenge both drivers. On lap twenty-two Smith moved to the outside and ran door handle to door handle with Steen with each driver taking their turn at leading a lap. On lap twenty-eight, Smith finally completed the pass and took over the lead. On lap thirty-three, Scott also made the pass and took the second spot from Steen. Smith built a good lead and went on for his first win in a Stock Car followed by Scott, Steen, Dave Reside, and Brian Clutchey rounding out the top five positions.
Rhett Smith Wins Island Stock Car Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)
Mike Haslam said: “Driving these cars is a blast” when referring to the Richlock Rentals Non Wing Sprint Cars and he along with a couple other drivers must have had a real blast as fourteen of them lined up to take the green flag for thirty-five laps of racing and a Feature win and the Canada Cup on the line. Matt Verhagen and Wayde Heckford shared the front row and it was Verhagen that got the jump early and went into the lead with Heckford and Mike Haslam behind him. By lap five, Haslam took over the second spot as Lance Wade also moved up to the fourth position. By lap fourteen, Jeff Bird was on the move taking over the fourth position and two laps later took the third position. On lap twenty-six, Bird had just made the pass darting to the inside of both Haslam and Verhagen for the lead but before completing the lap the yellow came out as Heckford’s car quit and he rolled to a stop at the end of the front stretch. On the restart, Verhagen jumped back to the lead as Haslam then claimed the second position back getting by Bird. Verhagen wiggled just a bit but was still able to hold the lead as the laps were running out. On lap thirty-three Verhagen, Haslam, Bird, and Mark Stuart were about as tight as you could get as they fought for every square inch. On the last lap Bird gave room and slapped the wall with a rear tire and at the chequered flag took the win ahead of Verhagen, Haslam, Stuart, and Heckford in one of the most thrilling finishes seen in this Series. Jeff said: “I needed a wing to hold me on that turn” when asked about slapping the wall and still taking the win in the wingless sprint. Jeff does have major wins in both the Winged Sprints as well as the Wingless cars and in this race they got all the bugs out that has plagued Jeff somewhat this season.
Jeff Bird Wins Canada Cup and Non Wing Sprint Car Feature event – Photo by Illusion Photography (ISN)
The next event at Western Speedway is the Wednesday Night Fever event with the Steve Copp Construction sponsored Hornet cars on July 10th. The next regular Saturday event is scheduled for July 13th that will feature the Eve Of Destruction event with the Lordco Auto Parts Demo Cars,/Demo Trucks, the Bombers, and the Mini Figure 8s. As an added bonus fans will be treated to a Bus Jump with Josh ” The Crusher” Beckel doing the stunt, Boat Races, Total Destruction, and some more fireworks.