By: Tim Baltz
It was a long winter and the staff and management at the Brockville Ontario Speedway gave the fans, along with the good people at Superior Cellular and Sound, plenty of racing with 7 divisions and six feature races on opening day.
Novice Sportsman went to work on the fast quarter mile and it was Matt Pruner leading the 12 lap event, over Dylan Moore and Maddie Wallace. Pruner had a great car but behind him Moore and Wallace had a spirited battle for second and third. On lap 6 both cars came together in turn four ending their great runs. Over the final laps, Pruner had a solid run going as Skylar Ladouceur and Cory Lambert closed in, making it a three car fight for the win. At the finish it was Pruner scoring his second career Novice Sportsman win. Cory Lambert and Skylar Ladouceur claimed the final podium spots.
The 25 lap DIRTCar Sportsman season opener is one that people will remember for a while. Brennan Moore has had a strong start to 2023, with his first career win at Can-Am two weeks ago. Moore took the lead from early pace setter Shane Pecore on lap 2 and began to pull away. Behind Moore two of the best in DIRTCar Sportsman were having a great battle for second. Shane Pecore, who was in search of his 100th career Sportsman win, was holding off 2-time and defending track champion Bobby Herrington for position. On lap 9 Herrington and Pecore tangled going into turn one, resulting in Pecore spinning out. Pecore would retire to the pits, while Herrington would remain in the second spot for the next restart, When the green flew Moore held the lead over Herrington, Dylan Kirkland, Shane Stearns and Greg Brinklow. On lap 12 Herrington would take over the lead and start to author a dominant performance. Over the remaining laps Herrington remained in control but Moore and Kirkland were putting on a great show for the fans for second. At the finish it was Bobby Herrington claiming his second straight season opener and 21st DIRTCar Sportsman win at Brockville. Brennan Moore held off Dylan Kirkland for second with Shane Stearns and Domonick Merkley filling out the top 5.
Lance Willix has had a great start to the 2023 season also in the DIRTCar 358 Modified ranks. The Theresa New York native invaded the Brockville oval and led the opening laps with Johnathon Ferguson, Ryan Arbuthnot, Jeff Sykes and Danny O’Brien right there to challenge. Willix, with opening day wins at Can Am and Airborne to start the season, had a strong car and was looking for his third opening day win of the year. On lap 12 that all ended as he slowed to the infield in turn two. This left Johnathon Ferguson in control of the field with Arbuthnot and 2012 track champion Kyle Dingwall in the top three. Ferguson was looking for his second win in as many nights, having won the 358 Modified opener at Mohawk on Friday night. The Prescott native was strong as he pulled away and stabilized a five car length lead as the laps clicked off. Ferguson’s car got stronger with 10 laps remaining and appeared was well on his way to the win, as Arbuthnot was not catching him. With 4 laps to go the big lead Ferguson had was gone as Terry McClelland blew a motor while running in the top 10. On the final restart it was Ferguson in control over Arbuthnot, Dingwall, O’Brien and Tristan Draper. Ferguson’s car appeared to be falling off as Arbuthnot began to reel in the leader. On lap 28 Ryan Arbuthnot was tired of running second as he drove by in turn 2, to take over the lead. From there Ryan Arbuthnot would cruise on to his 5th career opening day win and 3rd straight at Brockville. Johnathon Ferguson, Kyle Dingwall, Tristan Draper and Danny O’Brien completed the top 5.
In the 20 lap Surprenant Truck Shop Action Sprint Tour East Series opener, Mathieu Bardier would grab the lead and be the dominant car all night long, while Matt Billings, Adam Turner, Andrew Hennessy and Dale Curran tried to keep pace. Bardier was running a quick pace and was looking to end the race quickly. On lap 5 he had a new challenger as Dale Curran went to the extreme outside lane and started to go forward. Curran charged from 5th to third on lap 6 then claimed second from Billings a lap later and started to close quickly on the leader. At the half way point that all ended as Curran went off turn four and broke the front suspension. When the green flew Bardier once again continued his dominant run over Billings and Adam Turner. On this night Mathieu Bardier had a strong car as he drove away from former Modified stars Matt Billings and
Mike Bowman, to secure his 2nd career series win and 5th win at Brockville. Adam Turner and Andrew Hennessy completed the top 5.
Brandon MacMillan was making his return to the Mini Stock division in 2023 and wasted no time jumping to the front of the field. MacMillan took the lead on lap 5 from early race leader Hayden Brown with Marc Dagenais, Jamie Larocque and Max Steele completing the top 5. MacMillan held a comfortable lead but Dagenais and Hayden Brown stayed close waiting for a mistake. The remaining circuits of the 15 lap feature didn’t see much change for position, which made Brandon MacMillan happy, as he went on to score his first win since October of 2020 at Brockville. Marc Dagenais, Hayden Brown, Jamie Larocque and Dakota Boal came from the back of the field to finish 5th.
The two Vintage Modified divisions were combined into one race due to the car counts in each class, but the action was just as exciting in the 20-lap nightcap. Veteran Randy Gaudet led early, but Steve Billings and Jason Riddell were right there to challenge. With the laps clicking off at a rapid pace, it appeared Gaudet was on his way to another win. On lap 16 Gaudet’s front end broke allowing Billings to get by, however Jason Riddell was not so lucky, as he clipped Gaudet in turn 1 sending his car into a series of flips and the red flag was displayed. Riddell climbed out of the car uninjured. When the race resumed it was Steve Billings in control but Paul Billings, in search of his 5th career Vintage season opener, was right there to challenge. On this night, a Billings would win, but it was Steve taking the opener for a second straight year. Paul Billings finished second with Gavin Riddell third. In the 50/60 side teammates Mason Barkley and Pete Stapper battled for the win. Barkley would get by after the two drivers tangled in turn 2, resulting in a win for Barkley, with Chris Wilson and Greg Hale finishing third.
Next week six divisions take to the speedway, with the return of the PM Promotions DIRTCar Pro Stocks. DIRTCar 358 Modified and DIRTCar Sportsman, Trailer Pro Canada Crate Sprints Novice Sportsman and the season debut for the Street Stocks will all be ready to tackle The BOS. Racing begins at 7pm. For up-to-date information with results, news and points standings head to brockvillespeedway.com or give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
DIRTCar 358 Modified (30 laps)
RYAN ARBUTHNOT, Johnathon Ferguson, Kyle Dingwall, Tristan Draper, Danny O’Brien, Jarrett Herbison, Ryan Stabler, Jeff Sykes, Kalen Draper, Lee Ladouceur, Joe Banks, Chris Ferguson, Gavin Macfarlane, Doug Buzzell Jr., Sandy Macfarlane, Terry McClelland, Lance Willix, Corey Wheeler, Mike Evans
Heat Winners: Lance Willix, Ryan Arbuthnot and Johnathon Ferguson
DIRTCar Sportsman (25 laps)
BOBBY HERRINGTON, Brennan Moore, Dylan Kirkland, Shane Stearns, Domonick Merkley, Jessica Power, Tyler Givogue, Tyler Stewart, Dan Ferguson, Xavier Andrews, Michael Dillon, Xavier Perrin, Mario Dupuis, Kraig Handley, Jordan Wood, Dillon Breen, Shane Pecore, (DNS) Jonah Lewis
Heat Winners: Shane Pecore, Bobby Herrington and Brennan Moore
Novice Sportsman (12 laps)
MATT PRUNER, Cory Lambert, Skylar Ladouceur, Melcolm Banks, Nicolais Mayville, Maddie Wallace, Dylan Moore, Damien King, (DNS) Nathan Lambert, (DQ) Paul Donnelly
Heat Winners: Matt Pruner and Dylan Moore
Surprenant Truck Shop Action Sprint Tour East Series (20 laps)
MATHIEU BARDIER, Matt Billings, Mike Bowman, Adam Turner, Andrew Hennessy, Ryan Poole, Evan Reynolds, Cam McKinnon, Marc Surprenant, Dale Curran, Lee Ladouceur, (DNS) Brian Nanticoke
Heat Winners: Mathieu Bardier and Matt Billings
Mini Stock (15 laps)
BRANDON MACMILLAN, Marc Dagenais, Hayden Brown, Jamie Larocque, Dakota Boal, Jarrod Galway, Matt Boal, Jordan McNaughton, Mark Packer, Zach Lynch, Shawn Reid, Landon Slinger, Max Steele, Tyson Slinger, Nathan Joseph, Kevin Sabourin, (DNS) Colin Chisamore
Heat Winners: Hayden Brown and Marc Dagenais
50/60 Vintage (20 laps)
MASON BARKLEY, Chris Wilson, Greg Hale, Pete Stapper, Dexter Billings, Joey Hilts, Jeff Cledgett
Heat Winner: Greg Hale
70/80 Vintage (20 laps)
STEVE BILLINGS, Paul Billings, Gavin Riddell, Ian Gordon, Kyle Grundy, Randy Gaudet, Jason Riddell, (DNS) Wayne Riddell
Heat Winner: Randy Gaudet