Our second racenight of our 15th season was no disappointment to local race fans. We honoured a friend of the track, Roy Brockelbank who passed away last December. On hand at opening ceremonies on the front stretch were some of Roy’s family. Morgan Kent sang the national anthems and Gerry Liscumb Jr. took care of announcing through the evening in the absence of George Pinder.
Immediately after opening ceremonies, our Maitland Motors Factory Stock drivers held their heat race. Marty Devon was fast qualifier in the division. Seven cars took to the track and ran a quick race with just one caution. Brad Bibeau took over the lead from pole sitter Mark Porpealia on lap 3. The caution was displayed on lap 7 after Jarritt Varcoe, spun out of corner 4; he was sent to the back on the restart. Varcoe was working the car hard, trying to keep up with Bibeau and just drove it a bit too hard into the corner. Varcoe may also have been running with older tires. At the end of the race, it was Brad Bibeau taking the checkered, Porpealia second, and Devon third.
The Fewchuk family have been out at the track for a half dozen years now. For them, racing is a family activity. Rebecca was the first in the family to get started, beginning at 16 years of age. She has driven in the Factory Four division and was Laird’s first female track champion when she won the points championship in 2010.
Rebecca said, “I’m 22 now, so this is my sixth year racing. I’ve moved up to Factory Stock this year. I’ll probably stay at the back for a few weeks, just trying to play around with it; it’s not completely set up yet. I’m just getting comfortable in it. Towards mid-season I’ll probably begin to start at the front.”
The plan was to have Rebecca into the Factory Stock last season. They purchased the car from Billy See at the end of 2011. Rebecca said, “I took it out on the last night, just to see if everything was decent enough, then over that winter my dad fixed it up. I was supposed to take it out last year, but things just weren’t going right, so I drove my four cylinder at the beginning of last season and told my dad to take it out until it was good. Then when I was ready to take it I broke my wrist, and had surgery on it, so that ended my season. Now I finally get to drive it all year.”
Our racenight started under better than expected conditions. The temperature was slightly above 20 degrees, and it was warmer than expected through the evening. At opening ceremonies, we held a moment of silence for the friends we had lost over the winter; ex flagman Barry Myers, car owner Ted Brooks, Roy Brockelbank (father of Parker), and Jim Furkey (father of Cory and Chris).
We held a single heat, and a feature in all six divisions, with over 40 cars in attendance. Racing action got started with the Maitland Motors Factory Stock heat. Nine cars qualified in the Maitland Motors Factory Stock division, but only seven showed up for the heat. Brad Bibeau was missing from the rest of the evening, and Marty Devon missed the heat but was out for the feature. Also in the division we saw new drivers Dustin Jackson, Cory Bugyra, and Rebecca Fewchuk. John Hayes has also made a return to the track after an absence of a few years.
Buddy Palahnuk started out at Laird in the 2012 season and is still a rookie in the division. He got interested in racing after hanging out at the track. Buddy’s family purchased their car, a 1986 Mustang, from Walter and Anne Praysner. The car this year is the same as last year, but the family has obviously been spending some time working on it over the winter months. It will certainly be a contender in a Best Looking Car Contest.