The past week started off on Monday morning with an 8-00 am appointment at the Cornwall Hospital for my monthly I.V.I.G transfusions (17/18 Sept) . It was the start of the monthly two day procedures, that I’m now getting used to. They were all done by Tuesday lunch time and I was ready to look forward to my racing plans for the weekend.
There were plenty of events to tempt me, but I chose one of my old favorites, the Apple Fest Weekend at the Brighton Speedway.
The program was packed with many divisions. but the big races that interested me were for the DirtCar Sportsman and 358 Modifieds.
There were two back to back DirtCar Sportsman series races taking place, one on Friday 21 and one on Saturday 22 . The Modifieds were also there on Saturday for the annual Apple Fest Shoot Out. My plans were to be there both days.
Before the weekend was upon us, the racing world was shocked and saddened to learn the news that another race driver had lost his life in a crash .
Greg Hodnett passed away following an incident at the BAPS Speedway in Pennsylvania (FKA the Susquehanna Speedway. near to Newberrytown PA) on Thursday night.
I don’t get to many Sprint Car races, as they’re not my preferred choice, but I’ve seen Greg race on a number of occasions. When I visited the Lincoln Speedway PA in 2008, he was the winner that night and I pictured him in Victory Lane.
R.I.P Greg Hodnett
When Friday arrived I set off mid morning for the Brighton Speedway and rolled into the track at around 3-30 pm.
The parking area was already filling up with cars and RV’s. My accommodation for the night was the “Impala Motel”. One night wont hurt !
I was about to do something I hadn’t done for at least three years ! That was to sleep in the car ! With no reasonably priced hotels in the area, I figured I could christen my Chev Impala.
Overnight sleeps in the car were a common thing for me in the past when I owned my Chev HHR, but up until now the Impala was yet to be tried.
The weather looked good for the two day show, apart from a risk of a bit of rain around 6-00 pm.
Sure enough, it came during hot laps, but only a little bit and by keeping the cars at a slow pace on the track, hardly any time was lost.
Friday nights divisions included the 4 Cylinders (Mini Stocks) Thunder Stocks (Street Stocks) Vintage Modifieds, Late Models and Sportsman.
DirtCar official Cory Reed was there as race director.
As mentioned earlier, I was there mainly for the Sportsman division, but the Vintage always grab my interest too.
The 4 cylinder Feature was first, followed by the Late Models.
Adam Flieler was the 4 Cylinder winner,
Local favorite Charlie Sandercock was the Late Model winner.
The Vintage Mods were on next, and their race was won by Kenny Polite. The same driver who won , the previous week at the Mohawk Nationals
The Sportsman race followed and was won by Brad Rouse who was chased over the line by Cody McPherson and Ryan Scott.
It was getting chilly , so I decided to miss the Thunder Stock feature and started heading back to the Impala,
The back seats were folded down and the bed was made up. That was it, until 6-30 am when I awoke.
On my first visits to the town of Brighton many years ago, I found it lacking in the normal creature comforts of the fast food chains. I was pleased to find out that there’s now a Tim Hortons and a few miles out of town beside the Hwy 401, there is a McDonalds.
Needless to say, once I was awake, I headed for Tims.
Once I’d hooked up to the internet, I saw that Friday nights 358 Modified DirtCar Series at the Fonda Speedway NY had been won by Stewart Friesen. The other round taking place on Friday night at the RPM Speedway, Quebec had been rained out.
I killed a bit of time, taking a drive into Trenton before getting back to the track, just after lunchtime.
On the program for Saturday, and joining the 358 Mods and Sportsman were the Late Models and Thunder Stocks once again, plus the addition of the Canadian Modifieds ( a bit like the IMCA Mods seen in the USA) .
The show began in the afternoon and with all the heats over before 6-30 pm it looked good for an early finish.
The 75 lap Modified race, the Apple Fest Shoot Out, was second from last of the Features so I was keeping my fingers crossed it would be over early.
Once again I joined the same gang of ‘Togs’ for the picture taking.
First of the Features was a 50 lapper for the Thunder Stocks, which I must admit looked very daunting . That many laps for those type of cars usually means a long drawn out race, but I was pleased (and surprised) how quickly and incident free it went. There were a lot of good drivers out there .
The winner was Justin Ramsay .
The 35 lap DirtCar Series race for Sportsman was up next , and quickly the cream rose to the top for this one.
James Freisan was the winner with Cody McPherson getting the runner up spot once again.
The previous nights winner Brad Rouse was third.
Next up was a 50 lapper for the Late Models, which seemed to suffer from one or two cars that found it too easy to spin out on the slick track. Winner was Sandercock once more.
The one I was waiting for, the 75 lap Apple Fest Shoot Out for the 358 Mods, was next .
When the checkers fell it was Lindberg, followed by Dingwall who passed Williamson on the last lap.
It was still before 10-00 pm , with just the Canadian Modified Feature to run, so I quickly made my exit and was on the road heading for home.
I was back home in Cornwall soon after 1-00 am .
I soon discovered on line that Tim Fuller had won the Super DirtCar Series at the Fonda Speedway NY, that night and the 358 DirtCar Series at Autodrome Drummond was won by Steve Bernier.
After a good nights sleep I was ready for my next little trip.
My ‘Tog” buddy Don Simpson was at my place soon after 12-30 , and it wasn’t long before we were heading to the Airborne Park Speedway at Plattsburgh NY.
The show started at 3-00 pm and we arrived just as the anthems were playing. Without wasting any time we were out on the middle ready to shoot.
As well as regular Airborne photographer, Dave Brown, we met up with Randy Mallett the official ESS photographer who was there for the Sprint Cars.
The program consisted of an open event for the Sprints, Sportsman and the domestic budget divisions.
The program moved along swiftly and before intermission there was a Canada V USA dash for the Sprint Cars.
Veteran driver Alain Bergeron from St Pie Quebec was the winner.
The Sportsman Feature was first, after the intermission and it turned out to be a very exciting race, with the winner in doubt right up to the last lap.
Adam Pierson took the checkers.
The Sprints were the next on track for their 25 lap Feature.
With very few stoppages, the race was run pretty quickly with Steve Poirier taking the Victory from Chuck Hebing with Matt Tanner third,
It wasn’t even 7-00 pm so Don and I , who were both quite hungry decided to miss the Super Stocks ( late Model/Pro Stock) and head for a restaurant on our way home to Canada.
By 9-30 pm I was back at my place to end another eventful weekend of racing.