2017-07-20 / Sports

Kinross Speedpark Season Hits Halfway With Fourth Race; Next Race July 23

By Erich T. Doerr

The Kinross Speedpark’s eight race 2017 championship season reached the halfway point Sunday, July 9, as the best short trackers from the Eastern Upper Peninsula, northern Ontario, and the northern Lower Peninsula raced in pursuit of the checkered flag. The day’s feature races saw an interesting split as American racers claimed both ABC Stock Cars competitions while the Canadian competitors took the modified and four cylinder races.

The feature in the four cylinder class had the deepest field of the day at 13 cars and was one of the most competitive. The race came down to a battle of Neon versus Neon, as Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario racers Brent Fewchuk in his black-and-red #3 and Anthony Mannarino in his black-and-blue #12 went at each other in the closing laps. The two encountered lapped traffic on the final lap, offering Brent Fewchuk the opportunity he needed to pull off the winning pass on the final corner of the final lap. Brent Fewchuk, as it turned out, would have won the race even without his white flag lap heroics as Mr. Mannarino was disqualified after the race. The disqualification promoted Canadian Soo heat race winner Rebecca Fewchuk up into second place, with Dafter’s Kyle Clement taking third. Jack Wieman, early leader Ken Fewchuk, Jon Diodati, four car dash winner Rob Wagner, Ben Cushley, Brandon Williams, and John Wieman completed the top-10. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan racer Don Dangler, Jr. was the day’s fast qualifier and led the early stages of the feature but his #15 was sidelined by a mechanical gremlin while still running third that relegated him to 11th just in front of Gillian Howard. Megan Hayes won a heat race, but retired early from the feature with a mechanical problem. The Fewchuk siblings are atop the points standings after half the season, with Brent holding a 21-point edge on Rebecca for the number one position.

The ABC Stock Cars B-Division saw Elmira racer John Lowery II turn in an impressive run in his blue #2 Chevrolet Camaro. Mr. Lowery started his charge by winning the four-car dash, then swept his competition by winning both the heat race and the feature. The racing itself wasn’t as lopsided as the box score might indicate. Kinross resident Chris Brady started on the pole in the feature and led much of the race before Mr. Lowery slipped past him for the win. Goulais River, Ontario’s Buddy Palahnuk was the last car to finish the feature, in third place. Mike Corbett, Chris Ogden, and Jacob Heimonen took fourth, fifth, and sixth, despite watching the finish from the sidelines.

Michigan drivers finished 1-2-3- 4 in the ABC Stock Car A-Division feature, with Kinross’s own Tony Rankin taking the win in his blueand back #8 Chevrolet Camaro. Mr. Rankin won his heat race earlier in the day, then held off Petoskey’s Brandon Carson to win the main event with fast qualifier Dennis Aho of Sault Ste. Marie taking third and Boyne City’s Keith McBee in fourth. John Carter took fifth as the best of the Canadian racers; he led the early portions of the race before Mr. Rankin made the winning pass. Tod Furguson, four car dash winner Jason Praysner, Grant Howard, and Larry Young, Sr. were next across the finish line. Heat race winner Keenan Spurway placed last after an accident in the opening laps. Race three winner Dennis Aho maintains a five-point edge on Mr. Rankin in the A-Division championship battle. While they both competed in the A-Division race Sunday, Mr. Carson leads the B-Division point standings over Mr. Carter by five points.

In the modified division race for the track’s fastest, purpose-built racers, Canadian Soo racer Dustin Jackson avenged his runner-up run last time out by besting all opposition to win his heat race and the feature. Mr. Jackson’s win was far from easy as reigning track champion

Tim Aho returned for his first race of the season and won the fourcar dash. In the feature. Mr. Jackson started mid-pack and had to race up through the field, leading to a several lap side-by-side dogfight for the top spot with Tim Aho before he finally prevailed. Barbeau racer Josh Ware took third place despite getting knocked for a literal loop while running second early in the race by B.J. Marcoux, the eventual fourthplace finisher. Mike Babcock, Mike Wieman, Mark Laakso, and early feature race leader Mark Porpelia completed the field. Leila Uhlman, heat race winner Michael Evans, Jr., and Dean Eggart were unable to start the feature. Mr. Jackson’s victory allows him to lock down a strong 43-point lead atop the standings in front of Mr. Porpelia, who holds the second spot by just one point in front of Buddy Gray IV after the Petoskey competitor missed Sunday’s race.

The Speedpark’s next races will be this weekend Sunday, July 23. Admission will be $5 for adults, seniors and students. It will be free for children 11 and younger.

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