Chatham’s Brad Authier will be back to defend his mid-season crown in the Lube Tech/Great Canadian Oil Change UM Late Models, and Chatham’s Darryl Hoekstra will be looking for his second in a row in the Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds.
But the other two division titles will have new winners.
Chatham’s Randy McKinlay ran two classes last seasons and captured the Windride Transportation Sport Stocks mid-season crown.
Blenheim’s Shawn Jones is the 2011 and 2012 Tirecraft Mini-Mod mid-season champ.
McKinlay is only running in the Mini-Mod division this season while Jones moved up to the Modifieds.
Authier had the hot wheels in the Late Models at the halfway mark last year, as the mid-season victory was his fourth feature win in a row en route to a track leading seven for the season and second-place finish in the points.
This year, however, has been a 180-degree turn for the veteran Authier, who has been plagued by motor issues and is still looking for this first checkered flag, let alone his first feature win.
Chatham’s Gregg Haskell carries a commanding 115-point lead over Authier into Saturday.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford has won the last two features and three on the season and leads the class with seven checkered flag. Glassford, who has missed two race nights, is 134 points behind Haskell in third place.
Hoekstra made history with his first career feature win on mid-season championship night last year.
Hoekstra, in his first full season of racing in 2012, finished fourth in the standings and heads into Saturday second in the standings, just 11 points behind Chatham’s Brian Speelman and 44 ahead of Wallaceburg’s Drew Smith.
None of the top three, however, have a feature win this season.
Leamington’s Joel Dick leads the class with three feature wins, including back-to-backs on June 22 and 29 before last week’s rainout delayed his bid for three in a row. His six checkered flags top the division.
Two-time defending series champion Jim Dale Jr., who has been plagued by mechanical issues, enters mid-season sixth in points, 80 back of Speelman with 10 weeks left in the season to try and make up the difference in his bid for a track-record ninth career points crown.
The Sport Stocks class has been dominated by Merlin drivers Eren Vanderiviere and Steve Shaw, who have combined to win all seven feature races and 21 checkered flags.
The rest of the class has 12 checkered flags combined.
Vanderiviere, the two-time defending series champion, has won three straight and four features along with 12 checkereds.
Shaw, a four-time points champion, has three feature wins and nine checkereds. He is just 28 points behind Vanderiviere.
Last year, McKinlay took over the Sport Stock ride owned by his brother Rob in June, as his mid-season victory was his first feature win in the class, where he had driven periodically over his near 20-year career.
This year’s Tirecraft Mini-Mod class has been dominated by Cottam’s Denis DeSerrano, who has won four features and 14 checkered flags in the first nine weeks of the season.
His wins in the heat, crack-the-whip and feature on June 29 was his third sweep of the season.
The two-time champion leads Merlin’s Steve Shaw Jr. by 82 points and Chatham’s Rick Balasin by 87 heading into Saturday.
Rob Quick has been DeSerrano’s biggest challenge as the Cottam native has two feature wins and 10 checkered flags. Quick, however, sits 11th in points after sitting out one race night along with two DNS’s and two DNF’s in features.
Jones won three straight points titles and 23 features since 2010.
The Bombers will run its first mid-season championship since being added as an official class this season.
Jeff Schives leads Ryan Bonner by just eight points. Bonner has four feature wins and seven checkered flags while Schives has one feature win and five flags.
Boston Pizza is the night’s sponsor.
Next Saturday is the annual Don Hendricks memorial race for the Late Models.
South Buxton management announced reduced prices for Memorial Night races on July 27, as a result of last Saturday’s rainout after five races.
Regular prices are in effect this Saturday. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. and green flag waves at 7 p.m.