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It was a Very Impressive Season Finale at Laird

It was a Very Impressive Season Finale at Laird

We held our 2023 season finale Mike Parsons Memorial Weekend on Friday Aug 25 and Saturday Aug 26. Click here to read more...

Our 2023 Race Season is Complete!

Our 2023 Race Season is Complete!

Thanks to drivers and fans for making the 2023 Race Season an outstanding success. See you in 2024.

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Thursday Night Thunder Just Keeps Getting Better!

Racenight Recap for Thursday August 10, 2023

Racenight Recap for Thurs Aug 3rd

Racenight Recap for Thurs Aug 3rd

Competitive Racing, Packed Grandstands, and Great Weather. Couldn't ask for anything better at Laird International Raceway...

Racenight Highlights - Friday August 3rd, 2018


Laird Raceway

Racenight Highlights - Friday August 3rd, 2018

Racenight Highlights – August 3, 2018
by Tom Stephenson

Our 4th racenight of the season began under sunny skies and seasonably warm weather. It was a perfect night for racing at Superior International Motorplex.

We held our qualifying session, then there was a short drivers meeting in the pits, and opening ceremonies followed. Track announcer Spanky Robinson asked for a moment of silence to pay respect to Donald Varcoe, father to track promoter Donnie Varcoe Jr. Donald passed away on July 22nd. Annette Bouchard sang the national anthems and the racenight began with Four Car Dashes in the Late Model, Factory Stock, and Michigan Modified divisions.


The Super Late Models were first out for their four car dash. The green flag flew and on the first corner Dan Byrnes spun in corner 1. Byrnes had an issue, and left the track for the restart. After a quick 4 laps, our fast qualifier for the night, Josh Ware in the 21K took the win, followed by Steve Baraluk in the #15, and Ron Raynor in the #100.

In the Late Model heat, Byrnes and Baraluk were both absent. Ware and Raynor were joined by Dustin Jackson in the #61, and Rob Hiiemaa driving the black #21 instead of his regular #50 for the night. The 10 lap heat ran caution free and once again Ware was at the front, followed by Raynor in 2nd, Jackson in 3rd, and Hiiemaa 4th.

The Late Model feature was a 40 lap event. Baraluk and Byrnes were back out, and the field was joined by Kevin Errington in the #94, bringing the field to 7 cars. The green flew and before a lap was completed Steve Baraluk spun out of corner 2, requiring a complete restart. Four laps in, and Baraluk spun again out of corner 2 and nearly collected Errington. Errington had to dive down into the infield on the backstretch. Baraluk, with handling problems left the track. The race resumed and under green, Errington left the track on lap 11, possibly due to damage incurred running into the infield earlier. Caution was out again on lap 18 with a spin out of corner 4 by Byrnes, who then left the track leaving 4 cars to duke it out during the last half of the race. Josh Ware maintained the lead through the entire race. Rob Hiiemaa fought hard with Dustin Jackson for second and eventually took it on lap 33. By that time though, Ware had opened up a sizeable lead and Hiiemaa didn’t have enough time to catch up and challenge before the end of the race. Ware posted another win, making it a hat-trick for him for the night. Hiiemaa was 2nd, Jackson 3rd, and Ron Raynor 4th.


We had a pretty good turnout in the Michigan Modified division with 10 cars qualifying, and a couple more at the track. Josh Maitland was driving the #40+ but wasn’t out for qualifying or the heat but made it into the feature. Ted Ritchie came out too, but didn’t have his timing transponder on the car for qualifying. In the Four Car Dash, Nick Kozak took checkers with #84 Mark Laakso 2nd, #6 Kevin Oicle 3rd, and #28 Mark Porpealia 4th..

Eight cars were out for the Modified heat. #21 Jake Irwin led the pack at green. Kozak ran second for the first couple laps then was passed by Porpealia on lap 3. Mark Laakso got past Porpealia to take over second place on lap 7. The race ran caution free to the end of the 10 lap heat. Irwin took the win, Laakso 2nd, Kozak got past Porpealia for 3rd, Porpealia was 4th, #01 John Ross 5th, #11 Ted Ritchie 6th, #88 Randy Lapossie 7th, and novice in the division #4 Michael Carbone 8th.

Twelve Michigan Modifieds were out for their 40 lap feature. Without doubt it was an exciting race. On the start, the cars didn’t make it around the first corner. John Ross and Michael Carbone were front row, with Nick Kozak and Jake Irwin second row. In corner 1, Kozak and Ross went for a spin. A quick cleanup and we had a full double file restart. This time cars made it around to the backstretch on the first lap before there was mayhem. Kozak, Irwin and Ross got tangled. Kozak’s car had heavy damage to the front and was towed off. Irwin’s car was loaded onto the flatbed hauler, and Ross left the track under his own power. After cleanup, the third attempt at a start was successful. #84 Mark Laakso led the first two laps before being passed by #7 Josh Ware. On lap 13, caution was out. The #11 of Ted Ritchie ended his night in the grass inside the beginning of the backstretch, while #40+ Josh Maitland was spun backwards further down the back. Maitland was able to restart.

Caution was back out on lap 23 with a #6 Kevin Oicle and #71 Jay McCoy spun in corner 3. McCoy restarted at the back. Oicle, restarting third, jumped the start and caution was out again for a restart. Oicle brought out the caution two laps later with a spin on corner 2. He was sent to the back on the restart, Maitland left the track during the caution with 23 laps completed. On the restart it was Ware leading #84 Mark Laakso, #28 Mark Porpealia, and #4 Corey Carbone. By lap 30, Oicle had moved up to third, behind Ware and Laakso. On lap 31, Porpealia spun on corner 4 bringing out the caution for the last time during the race, Porpealia restarted at the back. At the finish, there were 6 cars left on the track out of the original 12. The race, including the cautions and cleanups took a full hour to complete. Josh Ware took the win, Laakso 2nd, Oicle 3rd, Carbone 4th, Porpealia 5th, and #88 Randy Lapossie was 6th.


In the Factory Stock Division, we had 7 cars out for qualifying; the #88 of Gerald Archer was one of those out for qualifying but had problems and was unable to complete a lap. Josh Maitland in the #69 was also out, but had a problem during hotlaps with an engine or rear end that blew up, spilling oil onto the track in corner 1; Maitland ran in the #40+ modified during the night. Fast Qualifier for the night was Jarritt Varcoe. Out for the first time this season were #51 Jamie Fox and #08 Daniel Bibeau. The Factory Stock Four Car dash was won by #26 Buddy Palahnuk, with Fox 2nd, Bibeau 3rd, and Varcoe 4th.

In their 10 lap heat, Palahnuk and Bibeau fought for the front position for the first couple laps. Bibeau won out. Caution came out once on lap 3 with Varcoe making a spin through corner 1 and 2. After the restart, Archer dropped out after 6 laps complete. Bibeau led the remaining laps for the win; Palahnuk took 2nd, Fox 3rd, Varcoe 4th and #52 Jon Diodati was 5th.

The 20 lap Factory Stock feature was caution free and fast paced with an elapsed time of just 6 minutes. Gerald Archer, with car problems during the night wasn’t able to make the feature. Palahnuk from the pole led the first 4 laps, with Bibeau fighting for it. On the 5th lap, Bibeau took over the lead and maintained it to the end to take the win. Palahnuk maintained 2nd until lap 7 when Varcoe took over second spot to the end. Palahnuk finished 3rd, Fox 4th and Diodati was 5th.


Rob Wagner driving the #88, was our fast qualifier in the Factory Four division for the night with a time of 18.214 seconds. Four Cylinder races for the evening consisted of an 8 lap heat and a 15 lap feature.
In the caution free heat, #12 Anthony Manarino led the entire race to take the win. Wagner moved past #42 Jack Lannigan during the race to finish 2nd. Lannigan finished 3rd, #59 Andrew Premo finished 4th, and #95 John Mignacca finished 5th.

The Factory Four feature was also caution free, with a finishing order identical to the heat; Manarino, Wagner, Lannigan, Premo & MIgnacca; 1st to 5th respectively.

A photogallery for the night is on our website at

OUR NEXT RACENIGHT will be held on THURSDAY August 16th. On that evening we are having a regular show with 4 divisions running and will feature 30 Lap events in the Northland Autobody Factory Stock, and Great Lakes Bus Tours Factory Four divisions, with $600 & $250 to win respectively. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

Article Credit: Tom Stephenson

Submitted By: Tom Stephenson

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