By Tom Stephenson
We held our third racenight of the season at Laird International Raceway during the evening of Friday July 12th. Weather was warm, with cloudy skies and some sunny periods, perfect for fans and racers.
Drivers in all divisions put on a great show for the fans in attendance. We switched things up a bit on this race night; normally we have a 4 car dash, a heat and a feature in all divisions, but this night we opted to drop the dashed and add another heat in each division. Fans got to see more cars and more race laps.
The national anthems were once again sung by Factory Stock Driver, Rob Wagner. A few minutes after that, we got the races started with heat racing.
Service Rental Factory Stocks
Five cars were out for qualifying runs earlier in the evening. Fast qualifier was #51 Jamie Fox with a time around the 1/3 mile oval of 16.398 seconds.
In the first heat, the five qualifiers were joined by Jarritt Varcoe in the #67 car to make it six cars on the track. #52 Jon Diodati snagged the win, his first one in the factory stock division. #01 Jerry Ross was 2nd, Fox 3rd, Varcoe 4th, #21 Jacob Heimonen 5th, and #88 Rob Wagner 6th.
In the second heat, Heimonen and Varcoe were missing, leaving four cars to run the 8 lap race. Fox took the checkers this time, with Diodati 2nd, Ross 3rd, and Wagner 4th.
The “Run for the Flag” Factory Stock feature was a 25 lap event, consisting of 5 cars. Missing was Heimonen. The race ran caution free. Ross took the feature win, followed by Fox 2nd, Varcoe 3rd, Diodati 4th, and Wagner 5th a lap down.
Northern Fencing Super Late Models
Action in the Super Late Model Division was fast and exciting during the night. Fast qualifier was #50 Rob Hiiemaa with a time of 14.784 seconds.
In the 10 lap heat 1, eight drivers took to the track, including visiting driver Mike Sturgill from Onaway Michigan. Mike runs the Onaway Speedway and tries to get up to Laird once or twice a season. Sturgill didn’t disappoint fans and took a win in heat 1 in the #100sr Late Model. Goulais River driver #46 Dan Byrnes took 2nd place, #50 Rob Hiiemaa 3rd, #2 Zak St. John 4th, #21L Jake Irwin 5th, #3 Shawn Ritchie 6th, #100R Ron Raynor Jr. 7th, and #15 Randy Lapossie 8th.
In the second Late Model heat, the field was joined by #91 Keith King to make it 9 cars on the track. Sturgill wasn’t able to take another win for this heat, being beat out by Raynor and settling for 2nd. St. John was 3rd, Irwin 4th, Hiiemaa 5th, King 6th, Ritchie 7th, Lapossie 8th, and Dan Byrnes 9th with a “did not finish” (DNF) after suffering some problem on lap 2 of the race.
There was lots of action in the 20 Lap Late Model feature that included 9 cars. Six cautions were seen during the race, plus a red flag to do some track cleanup. The race took approximately 30 minutes to complete. Zak St. John took the win over Raynor 2nd, Byrnes 3rd, Hiiemaa 4th, Sturgil 5th, Ritchie 6th, and Lapossie 7th. Jake Irwin and Keith King both had DNF’s after suffering some damage in on track incidents.
NAPA Auto Parts Michigan Modifieds
Eight Michigan modifieds were out to qualify earlier in the evening. Fast qualifier was #77 Chase Wilson with a time of 15.176 seconds.
In their first heat, the eight qualifiers were joined by latecomer #28W “Diesel” Dave Wagner, out for his first ever run at Laird. Top spot in the race was taken by #84 Mark Laakso, #79 Roddy Bolduc 2nd, #77 Chase Wilson 3rd, #67 Jarritt Varcoe 4th, and #71 Jay McCoy 5th, Wagner 6th. Also started, but out before the first lap was complete due to a crash on the backstretch was #83 Sean Sikes, and #28 Mark Porpealia.
The second heat was a seven car event for 10 laps. Missing were Porpealia, who was done for the night after the incident in the first heat, and Sikes who was eventually able to put things together enough to show up in the feature. Added was #4 Michael Carbone. Laakso took the checkers again, Wilson 2nd, Bolduc 3rd, Varcoe 4th, McCoy 5th, Carbone 6th, and Wagner 7th a lap down.
Nine cars came up on the track for the Feature but during hot laps Chase Wilson suffered a trailing arm breakage, sending him into a spin on corner 1 and unable to start. Laakso made the hat trick with another win, Bolduc came up 2nd, Varcoe 3rd, Carbone 4th, #21 Josh Maitland took 5th, McCoy 6th, Wagner 7th, and Sikes 8th after leaving on lap 4 with problems.
Atomic Blonde Factory Fours
Four Factory Fours were out for the night, and were joined by two enduro cars (not scored) driven by #72 Randy Larrett and #82 Joey Wierzbicki. Fast qualifier was Jason Kern with a time of 18.533 seconds.
In heat 1, Kern finished first to the line, followed by #17 Caleb Foster 2nd, #42 Jack Lannigan 3rd, Weirzbicki (not scored), #88 Kayla Kurnell 4th, and Larrett (not scored).
Kern captured the win in the second heat as well, followed by Lannigan 2nd, Wierzbicki (not scored), Foster 3rd, Kurnell 4th, and Larrett (not scored).
Kern got his third win for the night in the Factory Stock 15 lap feature. Foster rang up 2nd, Lannnigan 3rd, Kurnell 4th. Weirzbicki finished unofficial 5th, and Larrett 6th after leaving the track on lap 12.
Intermission and other Fun
During a short break in action during the heats, fans saw 8 year old Emma Lapossie take to the track in a fine looking #88 Mini Wedge to spin a couple laps for fans to see. Mini Wedges will be running during the last two race events of this season.
During intermission, six full sized school busses came up onto the track and had a ten lap race. They were seen to go three wide around corner 1 and 2 without incident. Right rear wheels were also off the ground several times around those corners. Following the bus race, a couple of them stayed on the track and kids were invited to go for a ride in them around the track and into the pits. Lots of smiles.
Just following intermission there was a draw for three new bicycles. Brenda and Rick McLaughin won the first and will be making one of their grandkids happy this week. Six year old Cooper Rebbe, son of father Andy got the second one, and Norm Charette will be making his granddaughter happy as well with the third win.
We will be taking a week off here, with our next race scheduled for the evening of Friday July 26th, weather permitting. Gates open at 5:45, with racing starting at 7. Hope to see your butt in the bleachers!