Chatham-Kent Drivers Cruise To Buxton Wins On Opening Night

Eren Vanderiviere racing at South Buxton Raceway

Eren Vanderiviere (29) chasing Steve Shaw (17) in Sport Stocks feature – Photo by James MacDonald/Apex One Photo

Four Chatham-Kent drivers won feature races as close to 1,000 fans braved cold temperatures and windy conditions in Saturday night’s season opening action at South Buxton Raceway.

Blenheim’s Trevor Jones was a perfect three-for-three, capped off by winning the feature race in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods.

Jones took the lead from Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. on lap six and fended off challenges from five different drivers until the caution-plagued race was halted after lap 14 by the time limit, six laps shy of its scheduled distance.

“I had no clue,” the 16-year-old Jones said, when asked if he knew who was chasing him for the lead.

“I was just trying to hold the bottom, there was a lot of grip down there, I knew no one could get by me on the outside.”

As a 14-year-old rookie, Jones finished second to his older brother Shawn in the final standings and had two feature wins and six checkered flags in 2012.

Trevor Jones - Checkered Flag at South Buxton Raceway

Trevor Jones after Mini-Mod feature – Photo by James MacDonald/Apex One Photo

Last year, Jones finished a disappointing seventh in points with two checkereds and no feature wins.

“This makes up for all the bad luck last year, we lost two motors and had all kinds of things go wrong,” he said.

Merlin’s Jody Mason was running second when the race was halted, with Blenheim’s Elliott Wilton finishing third.

Jones won his heat and the dash earlier in the night while Chatham’s John Pinsonneault won the other heat.

Merlin’s Eren Vanderiviere took the lead with five laps to go and went on to win the Tirecraft Sport Stocks feature.

The three-time reigning points champion had just been bumped back to third after a restart with five laps to go when the caution waved for an incident with the front-runners.

Merlin’s Steve Shaw, who led the first 15 laps, was knocked out of the lead by Wallaceburg’s Gary Vyse, who was black-flagged for rough driving in making the move.

Vanderiviere inherited the lead when Shaw had to pit for a flat tire.

“I don’t think we had anything for him, even if we got there,” Vanderiviere said of chasing Shaw from the drop of the original green.

“I wasn’t happy with the way the car handled tonight, but we’ll take it … luck was on our side,” Vanderiviere said.

The race went green for the first 13 laps and Vanderiviere was making up ground on Shaw before the first of three quick cautions waved.

LaSalle’s Bob Visnjic, Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse, Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon and Kingsville’s Rob Young rounded out the top five, the only cars that finished on the lead lap.

Shaw, who was unable to return after the lap 15 incident, was credited with a ninth-place finish.

Vanderiviere and Shaw won the heat races earlier in the night.

Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford led all 20 laps of the Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Model feature.

“The car wasn’t 100 percent, I was just trying to stay consistent and run smooth, and I think that’s what helped me (win) tonight,” said Glassford, who led the Late Models with eight feature wins in 2013.

“It was the kind of night where you had to race the track, it got a little rough in spots,” Glassford said.

The track conditions were evident on the first lap when Glassford was following Mike Lewis through turns three and four when the Wallaceburg driver’s car suddenly jolted to the left and bounced up in the air.

“If Mike didn’t have that bad luck, he probably would have won,” Glassford admitted.

“If you hit a rut just right, it’s like hitting a curb in a parking lot,” Glassford said of Lewis’s misfortune.

Chatham’s Brad Authier made a last-lap surge but couldn’t get by Glassford.

“I saw him coming on the inside when the white flag, came out, and I thought, ‘this isn’t good, if he gets the right run he’s going to get me,’ ” Glassford said. “But we were able to hang on that last lap.”

Chatham’s Gregg Haskell, the two-time reigning points champion, finished third, as just three of the six starters finished on the lead lap.

Chatham’s Jim Jones was credited with a fourth-place finish while Lewis was fifth, nine laps down.

Glassford finished second to Authier in the heat.

Blenheim’s Jeff Schives led all 15 laps to win the Autotech Bomber feature.

A total of 12 cars took the green flag, the most in the two-year history of the introductory division.

Only three other cars finished on the lead lap, as Chatham’s Chris Ellerbeck and Ryan O’Hearn were second and third, with Blenheim’s Dylan Bonner fourth.

Leamington’s Joel Dick was the other feature winner, taking the checkered flag in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds.

Dick took advantage of lapped traffic to pass Chatham’s Eugene Hoekstra for the lead at the halfway mark of the 25-lap feature.

Chatham’s Louis Clements passed Hoekstra late to finish second.

Hoekstra built a good size lead while Dick and Clements battled for second through the first 10 laps until the leader caught some slower traffic.

Dick took advantage and went to the high side and passed Hoekstra when the leader was trapped by a lapped car.

“That was the difference, we could get around the lapped cars and he couldn’t,” Dick said of the short-lived battle with Hoekstra.

“It was clear sailing up top so I knew it was a safe pass and just out drove him.”

The only caution in the 25-lap feature came with nine to go but Dick quickly re-established his lead and breezed to the feature win.

Clements passed Hoekstra on lap 21 to finish second while Belle River’s Mario Toniolo was fourth and Merlin’s Brad McLeod fifth.

Dick won his heat race while Clements won the other heat and Hoekstra the dash.

South Buxton will induct its first Hall of Fame class in a pre-race ceremony this coming Saturday night.

Joe Atkinson, who built the race track in 1971, will be enshrined along with former drivers Larry Atkinson, Fred Chambers, Gord DeWael, Brent Gibbons, Gord Gotelaer, Don Hendricks, Al McCully, Jim Morlog and John Reynolds.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and racing begins at 7 p.m.

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