By: Tim Baltz

The 2024 season has been filled with excitement already and this night was no different. Close finishes and new winners highlighted Polite Sand and Gravel night plus a unique event for the DIRCcar 358 Modifeds.

A special 30 lap feature for the Street Stocks kicked off the night and veteran Todd Raabe would take over the lead with Sylvain Gauthier, Sam Reckzin, Stephane Philippe and Chris Hale right there to challenge. Raabe had a fast car and would drive away to a commanding lead, leading many to believe he would walk away to another victory. Behind him Sylvain Gauthier was doing everything he could to hold off many determined drivers, including veteran Jonathan Galipeau, who was starting to move to the front. With 10 laps remaining Raabe was well in front but that was all about to change as a few laps later, Francis Gauthier slowed with a problem in turn three ending his night. On the restart Raabe held the top spot but Jonathan Galipeau was on his way forward grabbing the third spot by lap 27, with a clear shot at the leader. On lap 27 the last yellow flew as Sylvain Gauthier broke in turn 4. On the final restart Raabe held the lead but Jonathan Galipeau was on his way to the front. On the final lap heading into turn three Raabe stayed low, while Galipeau got a big head of steam off the topside coming to checkers. At the finish both drivers would cross the line virtually even. Timing and scoring determined the winner by 0.084 seconds was Jonathan Galipeau, who collected his first ever Brockville win. Raabe crossed in second by inches with Stephane Philippe, Charles Marchand and Sam Reckzin the top 5.

The DIRTCar 358 Modifieds kicked of the first of two Sail Panel series races, with the winner of the series getting a guaranteed spot into the Outlaw 200 at the Fulton Speedway. Cornwall invader Corey Wheeler took advantage of a front row starting spot as he held the lead early over Lee Ladouceur, William Racine, Steve Bernier and Ryan Arbuthnot. The topside of the speedway proved to be fast and Wheeler led the charge as he pulled away from a quality field on this night. The caution flew on lap 5 as Matt Billings slowed with a problem in his return to the Modified ranks, but would be done early. On the restart William Racine would stay with Wheeler, but the veteran was not phased as he once again pulled away on the top side of the track, leaving Racine to run second with Steve Bernier third. Drivers started to settle into a groove which was good for Wheeler, who built up a solid lead leaving many to wonder if he could be beat as Racine, Bernier, Johnathon Ferguson and Arbuthnot all tried to keep pace. With 10 to go Jarrett Herbison slowed with a problem in turn 3 bringing out the caution. He would finish 11th at the checkered flag. On the final restart Corey Wheeler would once again fend off William Racine and pull away to score his first win of the season and third ever Modified win at Brockville. William Racine crossed in second over opening day winner Steve Bernier, Ryan Arbuthnot and Chris Raabe.

Adam Turner was the dominant driver at the start of the Suprenant Truck Shop Crate Sprint Car feature as he held the lead over points leader Josh Verne Jr, and Lee Ladouceur. Turner was in search of his first ever Sprint Car win and trying to become the first driver to ever win in 5 different classes at the speedway, but Josh Verne Jr had other plans. On lap 10 Verne ran down the leader and got by while Ladouceur closed in for second. As the laps clicked off Josh Verne Jr. kept getting faster and without the help of a caution flag, nobody was going to stop him. In the end, Josh Verne Jr. finally scored his first ever Brockville win after 13 wins and two track titles at the Can-Am Speedway. Ladouceur would get by Turner for second while Ryan Poole and Marc Surprenant completed the top 5.

The Eastern Ontario Vintage Stock car Club was up next making their second appearance to the speedway and not much changed at the start of the race. Veteran Randy Gaudet led early but Kingston Ontario’s Ian Gordon was not going away as he ran second in the 70/80 class. Behind them Pete Stapper was in a battle for the 50/60 win with Dexter Billings and Joey Hilts. Both divisions on track at once always brings up the excitement level as Gaudet had his hands full by the halfway point with Gordon who was searching for his first ever win. On lap 13 Randy Simkins sailed off turn 3 and 4 bringing out the yellow. After getting pushed off Simkins was able to rejoin the race. When the green flew Gordon would make his move as he challenged Gaudet for the race lead. On lap 18 headed for the white flag Gordon would make the pass for the top spot. From there Ian Gordon was not going to be denied as he scored his first career win. Gaudet crossed in second with Steve Billings, Kyle Grundy and Christopher Pryor in the 70/80 class. Behind them Pete Stapper was able to fend off Joey Hilts to win his 3rd straight series race in the 50/60 class. Dexter Billings, Tim Bailey and Tim Charland were the top 5.

The start of the 25 lap DIRTCar Sportsman feature saw a major pile up off turn 4 as Xavier Perrin’s car stumbled on the start and stacked the field up. Some drivers went to the pits to check damage but all were able to continue. Shane Stearns would lead the feature with rookie Dylan Moore, Michael Dillon, Gavin Eisele and Bobby Herrington doing battle in the top 5. Stearns had a great car but Gavin Eisele and Bobby Herrington were cutting through the field quickly as they made their way to second and third. The lead battle would then tighten up as Eisele closed in on Stearns for the lead while Herrington started to close in making it a three car battle for the lead. Stearns and Eisele were using the bottom lane and working it well, but Herrington found his car working great on the top as he closed in looking for second on Gavin Eisele. On the final lap Eisele tried to get by for the lead, but it was not going to happen as Shane Stearns ran a flawless race to score his first DIRTCar Sportsman win since August 3rd of 2022 at Brockville. As he crossed the checkers, he tangled with a lapped car and spun to the infield. Stearns was able to drive the car into victory lane. Behind him Bobby Herrington and Gavin Eisele made contact which caused Herrington to make hard contact with the wall, resulting in heavy damage. This allowed Dylan Kirkland to get by for third with Herrington 4th and Brennan Moore crossed in 5th.

The night was completed with a 12 lap Novice Sportsman feature and yet another first time winner graced victory lane. Blake Smith took the lead with Melcolm Banks right there with him to challenge as Cory Lambert completed the top 3. Smith is competing in his first full time season after a successful stint in the karting ranks. He led the way but Banks was not going away as he tried his best to close in on the leader to make a bid for the top spot. On lap 8 Cory Lambert would slide off the track bringing out the yellow. On the restart Banks challenged Smith for the lead but Smith would hold it as opening day winner Paul Donnelly would make his way forward, closing in on Banks for second. At the finish Blake Smith would drive on to score his first career win. Banks would fend off Paul Donnelly for second with Matt Mould and Patrick Kudrinko, who celebrated his birthday with a 5th place finish.

Next week a full program is in store as the DIRTCar 358 Modifieds will return to their traditional look plus the DIRTCar Sportsman, Novice Sportsman, Surprenant Truck Shop Crate Sprints and the Street Stocks will be back for a second straight week. Mobil 1 will be on hand as title sponsor. Racing begins at 6pm

DIRTCar 358 Modified Sail Panel Series- 30 laps

COREY WHEELER, William Racine, Steve Bernier, Ryan Arbuthnot, Chris Raabe, Johnathon Ferguson, Kyle Dingwall, Lee Ladouceur, Tristan Draper, Gage Morin, Jarrett Herbison, Kalen Draper, Chris Ferguson, Gavin MacFarlane, Dylan Evoy, Terry McClelland, Matt Billings

Heat Winners: Lee Ladouceur and Corey Wheeler 

DIRTCar Sportsman- 25 laps

SHANE STEARNS, Gavin Eisele, Dylan Kirkland, Bobby Herrington, Brennan Moore, Dylan Moore, Michael Dillon, Jessica Power, Tyler Stevenson, Kraig Handley, Tyler Stewart, Greg Brinklow, Matt Barbour, Madie Wallace, Nathan Lambert, Jordan Wood, Xavier Perrin

Heat Winners: Jessica Power and Brennan Moore 

Surprenant Truck Shop Crate Sprints- 20 laps

JOSH VERNE JR., Lee Ladouceur, Adam Turner, Ryan Poole, Marc Surprenant, Jamie Kay, Brett Horner

Heat Winner: Lee Ladouceur 

Eastern Ontario Vintage Stock Car Club (50/60)- 20 laps

PETE STAPPER, Joey Hilts, Dexter Billings, Tim Bailey, Tim Charland, Wade McAllister, Randy Simkins, Jeff Cledgett, Greg Hale, (DNS) Dwayne Emons

Heat Winners: Pete Stapper and Dexter Billings 

Eastern Ontario Vintage Stock Car Club (70/80)- 20 laps

IAN GORDON, Randy Gaudet, Steve Billings, Kyle Grundy, Christopher Pryor

Heat Winner: Randy Gaudet

Novice Sportsman- 12 laps

BLAKE SMITH, Melcolm Banks, Paul Donnelly, Matt Mould, Patrick Kudrinko, Cory Lambert, Damien King

Heat Winner: Melcolm Banks

Street Stock- 30 laps

JONATHAN GALIPEAU, Todd Raabe, Stephane Philippe, Charles Marchand, Sam Reckzin, Chris Hale, Francis Gauthier, Sylvain Gauthier, Thomas Reid, Nick Merkley, (DNS) Kyle Massey and Maxime Prevost

Heat Winners- Stephane Philippe and Sylvain Gauthier