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Next Race: Thursday July 18th

Next Race: Thursday July 18th

Come on out and join us for the third night of the Laird Raceway Season! Thursday Night Thunder, July 18thth - FULL SHOW! No race July 11

More New Winners and New Drivers on Thurs July 4th

More New Winners and New Drivers on Thurs July 4th

Fast action, great competition, and few cautions were the highlight at Laird on Thursday July 4th.

What a Great Start to the 2024 Season

What a Great Start to the 2024 Season

The June 27th Racenight was the 25th Season Opener at Laird Raceway. Good sized crowd, a good car count, and exiting races!


More New Drivers and More Winners on July 4th
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7/7/2024

7/7/2024

Laird Raceway


More New Drivers and More Winners on July 4th

Racenight Recap for Thursday July 04, 2024

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We had another great racenight at Laird on Thursday July 4, 2024 with another full show of Service Rental and Sales Super Late Models, Lakeway Automotive Factory Stocks, NAPA Reyco Automotive Modifieds, Northland Autobody Factory Fours, and AIM Recycling Enduros. The night was sponsored by Laird Towing
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We had good attendance by fans again, perhaps a few less than the week before, with some likely opting to take in the American 4th of July fireworks show on the Sault waterfront instead of the races. We had a few more new drivers and cars show up too. Weather was a bit overcast but little to no chance of showers. Grounds were a bit wet here and there from the heavy rains the day before with the infield a bit muddy in places, quite evident when the Lawn Mowers raced during intermission.

Announcer Greg Brazeau did a quick interview with some of the Late Model drivers that were on the front stretch, then singer Annette Bouchard sang the American and Canadian National Anthems. Greg was joined in the announcer’s booth by Ron Caruso. Ron did a great job through the night for his first time announcing. Then racing got started…

Service Rentals and Sales Super Late Models:

In the Super Late Model division there were 6 cars out for qualifying. Chase Wilson ran the fast time for the second week in a row with a time of 14.154 seconds – compared to his fast time last week of 14.288 sec. We had one heat and a 30 lap feature in the Late Model Division.

All six were out for the 10 lap heat. The race ran fast and caution free. #01 John Ross and #826 Jordan Parniak led them off at the green. Ross rocketed out front, Parniak held close to the front for a couple laps then started falling back. #61 Dustin Jackson and #47 were in close pursuit of Ross. Lap 5 saw Jackson losing ground then he left on lap 7. Sims was unable to get up beside Ross to challenge. Ross carried the checkered flag, Sims 2nd, #77 Chase Wilson 3rd, #51 Jeremy VanHoek 4th, and Parniak 5th.

In the 30 Lap feature, all 6 were out again. The race got started with Ross inside and Parniak outside at the green. Both got off to a good start, a couple laps out front then Parniak was seen sliding a bit high coming out of corner 4, allowing cars behind to get by on the inside. Ross kept the lead with Jordan Sims right behind, and Dustin Jackson alongside Sims on the outside. On lap 5 Jackson slowed and by lap 7 had fallen back to 5th in front of Parniak.

The group ran nose tail for a few laps then on lap 10 Sims slipped up the track and Wilson took advantage for an inside pass to take up 2nd place. Again the group continued nose to tail with Wilson right behind Ross looking for a way around. Wilson made a few attempts for an inside pass as the laps continued, then on lap 22 got inside of Ross down the backstretch and into corner 3 & 4. Up the fronth stretch they went side by side, then entering corner 1 Ross cut down a bit and and the two collided, bringing out the caution. Ross was sent to the back
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Jackson had left the track after lap 21, leaving 5 to restart. Wilson restarted single out front with Sims inside & #51 Vanhoek outside row 2. Within a couple laps the cars were once again lined up nose to tail. For the rest of the race, Sims couldn’t get near Wilson. The race ended the front three were separated by about 8 car lengths. Wilson took the win, Sims 2nd, VanHoek 3rd, Parniak 4th, and Ross 5th. Wilson was interviewed on the front stretch by announcer Greg Brazeau post race, and handed out a few small checkered flags to kids standing at the fence line.

Lakeway Automotive Factory Stock Division:

In the Lakeway Automotive Factory Stock division we had 9 cars out for qualifying. Fast qualifier for the night was #4 Dale Tucker with a time of 16.056 seconds. #80 Brad Bibeau broke down before completing a qualifying lap and was unable to start the races for the night. The Factory Stocks had two 10 lap heats and a 20 lap feature.

Both Factory Stock heats ran caution free and fast. In heat 1, 9 cars took part. #57 Rick Ellis and #88 Rob Wagner led them off. Ellis was able to hold on to the lead for a lap before getting passed by #08 Daniel Bibeau. Right away Bibeau started opening a lead, with #51 Jamie Fox in close pursuit but unable to catch up. Bibeau took the checkers, Fox 2nd about ½ second behind. By the end of the race the pair had a quarter lap lead on third place finisher #4 Dale Tucker, #57 Rick Ellis 4th, #88 Rob Wagner 5th. Fourth to 9th place finishers were all closely matched, all finishing within 2 seconds of each other.

In heat 2 of the Factory Stock Division 9 cars were out. Ellis and Wagner started up front again. This race Ellis was able to lead 2 laps before being passed by Bibeau. Bibeau had another dominating performance. The top 4 finishing order was the same as heat 1, Bibeau with the win, Fox about 2.5 seconds behind for 2nd, with Tucker a half second further back in 3rd, Ellis 4th. Last weeks feature winner, #12 and Owen Brown 5th.

The Factory Stock feature was a 20 lap event, that also ran caution free. There were no cautions at all in the division for the night, with great clean and fast racing. The feature started similarly to the heats, with Ellis and Wagner front row; and Bibeau taking the lead within a couple laps. By the mid way point in the race it was Bibeau out front with a large lead, Fox 2nd, Tucker 3rd, and the three remained in that order until the end. Rick Ellis, #12 Owen Brown and #29 Xavier Carter battled for the next 3 positions for the mid part of the race. At the end, Brown had 4th, Ellis 5th, and Carter 6th. #88 Rob Wagner 7th, #77x Ed Lapish 8th, and #15 Andrew Givens had a DNF, leaving on lap 5. Givens had a bit of a hard luck night.

NAPA Reyco Automotive Modified Division:

In the NAPA Reyco Automotive Modified division there was an incident during a hot lap session before qualifying. involving #22 JP DelPaggio and #78 Jason Herrington. Before qualifying both drivers were busy in the pits; Herrington hammered out some body metal, and DelPaggio also was working on his car. Herrington was able to make it out for qualifying, and DelPaggio was a bit delayed but did manage to make some qualifying laps on his own just before qualifying ended. In total there were 7 cars out to qualify, with #01 Jerry Ross logging fast time of 15.497 seconds. Rookie driver in the division #20 Matt Lewis turned in second fastest time at 15.581 sec. We held two heats and a 20 lap feature in the division.

The first heat ran caution free with 8 drivers taking part. #7 Terrance Devon and #20 Matt Lewis started up at the front. Devon took the lead and kept it for all 10 laps for the win. The #22 of Delpaggio took 2nd, a half second back, #01 Jerry Ross pulled up 3rd, #20 Matt Lewis 4th, #84 Mark Laakso 5th, and #36 Jesse Bailey – another rookie in the division - took in 6th, a lap down. #78 of Jason Herrington and #15 of Chris Miller both left the track with 4 laps complete.

The second heat started with 6 cars, missing was Laakso and Miller. Again, no cautions. Devon and Lewis started front row again, with Devon taking the lead and winning the race. The #01 piloted by Ross pulled up second, about 2/10th of a second behind. Delpaggio was 3rd, Lewis 4th, Herrington 5th, and Bailey 6th.

Seven open wheel’s were out for the 20 lap feature, Laakso rejoined the group, but still missing was Miller. The race got underway with Devon and Lewis front row. Devon once again was out front quickly and ran a flawless race through lap 12 with #01 Jerry Ross working the outside for a few laps then was right behind for a few. On lap 12, the two were coming up on lap traffic of #36 Jesse Bailey, which slowed Devon a bit, allowing Ross to come up inside on the backstretch. They went around corner 3 and 4 side by side and made contact a couple of times coming out of the corner, they were still side by side coming up the front stretch, then Ross completed the inside pass on Devon taking the lead on lap 14. Third place runner #22 JP Delpaggio raced Devon for a couple laps and made an inside pass on Devon to move into 2nd on lap 16.

Coming out of corner 4 on lap 19, Delpaggio got a bit loose and Devon’s left front bounced up off Delpaggio’s right rear. On the final lap, Devon fell back to the back of the pack. Ross had increased his lead and took the checkered flag 3.5 seconds ahead of Delpaggio. #84 Mark Laakso snagged 3rd, Lewis came up with 4th – another great run for the rookie, Herrington 5th, Devon 6th, and Bailey 7th a lap down. It was a fast and exciting race to watch.

Northland Autobody Factory Four Division:

In the Northland Autobody Factory Four Division we had 16 cars show up in qualifying. Wyatt Dubois in the #166 was a first-time visiting driver from Ashton Michigan – near Indian River – welcome Wyatt! During the first race night fans will recall seeing twin 11 year old’s Jaxson and Ryder Byrnes out sharing the #46 car. During the week the family picked up a second car, the #31 which was being driven by Jaxson. During qualifying, Jaxson went over the bank on corner three, running into the tire bales in front of the pit grandstand. Jaxson was ok and the car was out in the heat race later. That wasn’t the end of the misadventures for the young guy though.

Fast qualifier of the 16 was Dyllen Sherrard, breaking the track record set just a week earlier by Shanna Harten, with a time of 17.265 seconds. Officials decided to break the 4 bangers into two groups for their heats – on heat for the faster cars, and one heat for the slower cars.

In the first heat, consisting of the 7 faster cars, the 10 lap heat went caution free. #94 Seth Ralph and #4 Kayleigh Tucker led them off. By the end of the first lap, first time driver #51 Kenn Schwarz had the lead from his second row start. Schwarz ran a fast race, with both #16 Dyllen Sherrard and #22 Shanna Harten working him on both sides. Schwarz was able to hold both off for the 10 laps and won the race. Sherrard took 2nd, just 0.13 seconds behind, Harten took 3rd. Tucker pulled up 4th, a bit further back, #21 Daryl Whitmell 5th, Ralph 6th, and #31 Jaxson Byrnes 7th.

In the second Factory Four heat 8 cars took to the track. The cars were led by #42 Jack Lannigan, and #6 Wayne Devon in the little Mini-Cooper. Caution flew for the first time in the evening right after the green with #22 Adam Lapensee spinning in corner 1. A complete restart followed.

On the restart, Lannigan jumped ahead of the rest of the field. Running behind Lannigan was Lapensee, #166 Wyatt Dubois in the truck, and Devon. On lap 2, Dubois got past Lapensee then at the beginning of lap 3 going into corner 1 with Dubois ahead, and Devon outside a bit behind them, Lapensee piled into the side of Dubois – running low in corner 1 sending Dubois into a spin up the track and Devon going up and off corner 2 to avoid them. Dubois was sitting at the top of the exit of corner 2 after the incident and was able to get moving but went pitside right away. Flagman Ron Schmidt had the black flag out, presumably for Lapensee, then Lapensee headed pitside as well - before he came by the flagstand to see the black. #13 of Logan Lavoy also left the track during the caution with a car issue. Devon was able to continue.

Five cars took the green then a couple laps later the caution was out again, this time for #8 Alex Lapensee who went sliding up off corner 4 and sideways down into the tire bales in front of the beer garden. Alex was shown the blag flag and left the track. He was obviously having handling issues through the race.

There were 4 cars left to run the final 5 laps. Lannigan took the checkered flag around the track (twice), Wayne Devon 2nd, #86 Tyler Mortimore (another rookie) 3rd, and #46 Ryder Byrnes 4th. The short 10 lap race took nearly 14 minutes to run from green to checkered.

The Factory Fours came out for their feature, the next to last race of the night. We were running ahead of schedule until then. Twelve cars were on the track for the green, with the faster group at the front, inverted, and the slower group behind them. Leading them off was #94 Seth Ralph, and #4 Kayleigh Tucker. At the green the group got around the track once, then at the beginning of the next lap Tucker slid up in corner 1 & 2, just off the track. Exiting corner 2 she slid down the track and tagged the back corner of #31 Jaxson Byrnes, sending Byrnes up into the last concrete barrier at the beginning of the backstretch guardrail. Byrnes went up over the guardrail and his car came to rest with the nose on the other side of the guardrail, with the tail on top of it. Tucker had come to rest up nearby at the guardrail. Jaxson was out of the car in a matter of seconds, apparently unharmed, but no doubt a bit shaken. The race was red flagged and track crews took a few minutes to retrieve the #31 with the Laird Towing flat deck. Jaxson and his parents Tianna and Dan walked down the track. The #31 car may be for sale if anyone is interested. Jaxson mentioned to someone that he might just stick with hockey.

After the cleanup delay, and some accompanying fireworks, the race got underway again for a complete restart with 10 cars remaining. Ralph led the first lap from the pole, then was passed on lap 2 by outside pole sitter #51 Kenn Schwarz. By lap 4 Ralph got passed by #22 Shanna Harten, and #16 Dyllen Sherrard, who both started row 2. Schwarz was doing a great job leading the race ahead of Harten and Sherrard. Harten made a couple runs up beside him, but fell back behind each time. The three continued most of the race nose to tail, with Ralph left further back. As they were completing lap 16 and coming up on some lap traffic, Schwarz ran a bit high coming out of corner 4, Harten moved underneath, the bumped, sending Schwarz to the infield. Schwarz ran up the track on the infield, along the Lawnmower track, and came back on track just before corner 1, still in third place. Harten had inherited the lead, with Sherrard right on her tail.

As they were coming down the backstretch, they were coming up on more lapped traffic. Harten might have been figuring her way around and came out of corner 4 a bit high, Sherrard dove down under her, passed her on the inside at the beginning of the front stretch and stole the win. Harten had to settle for 2nd, 0.3 seconds behind. Schwarz pulled up 3rd, Ralph 4th, #21 Daryl Whitmell 5th a lap down, #6 Wayne Devon 6th, and #46 Ryder Byrnes 7th – 4 laps down. The remaining cars in the race including Dubois, Lannigan and Alex Lapensee had left the race early with DNF’s.

AIM Recycling Enduro Division:

The AIM recycling Enduro’s had a single 15 lap feature at the very end of the night. Seventeen cars were on track for the race, with two of them not being scored because they didn’t have a scoring transponder onboard (or improperly placed). Once again it was mayhem, with cars spread around the track by the end of the race. Some spins, some breakdowns, lots of bumping. The #86 of Dylan Connolly repeated his win from the week before, way out front of the others. At the track it was announced that #44 Eric Sylvestre took 2nd, but a post race review by officials revealed that #721 Tehden McBride actually came in second. Tehden had a transponder onboard but it wasn’t properly registered in the scoring computer. When this happens, fans see a “HH” on the backstretch leaderboard. #44 Eric Sylvestre was third, #16 Dyllen Sherrard 4th, and #83 Jon Hill 5th (a lap down).

Note to Enduro drivers: The transponder signal strengths recorded on the scoring computer reveals that a few of you do not have your transponders mounted properly. Transponders need to be mounted under the car, on or near the back axle, with the transponder label facing down towards the track.

Intermission Activities:

During the intermission once again we watched a Lawnmower Race, courtesy of the Algoma Lawnmower Racing Association (ALMRA). As mentioned earlier, the racers had to contend with a muddy track, and the consequence was that a few broke down. The race winner was driven by Aaron Chapman with a spin in the mud right at the checkered flag. For information about ALMRA visit their facebook group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/101494564073784

Also during the intermission we had the well loved School Bus Race with 5 drivers taking part. A number of times in the 10 lap race we saw busses up on three wheels rounding the corner in front of the pit grandstand. Close to tipping I’d say.

Despite the cleanup delay during the Factory Four race, our night ended just before 10 pm.

Photos from the night can be found on our website under the “media” menu item - https://www.lairdraceway.com/gallery/

Due to the Laird Fair, and the RCMP Musical Ride, we skip a week at Laird. The next Thursday Night Thunder is set to be another full show, running on Thursday July 18th. Come on out and join us for more edge of your seat action!

Fans are invited to view the Laird Raceway Facebook page to get current news and updates including weather cancellations, announcements, and more at https://www.facebook.com/lairdraceway


Article Credit: Tom Stephenson

Submitted By: Tom Stephenson

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