If the last three years are any indication, patience will be the key in Saturday night’s Tirecraft Sport Stocks season championship race.
Patience, and running third in the late laps.
Crashes involving the leaders has allowed the third-place driver to win the last three Sports Stocks championship races – Grande Pointe’s Tyler Lozon the beneficiary the last two years and Merlin’s Steve Shaw in 2011.
Lozon went from third place to Victory Lane the last two championship races when Chatham’s Eren Vanderiviere and Shaw were involved in late-race crashes both years.
Last year’s incident came with eight laps to go in turn 2. In 2012, Vanderiviere and Shaw collided just a few hundred feet from the finish line.
In the 2011 championship race, Vanderiviere was battling Essex’s Gerald Martin for the lead when they tangled with eight to go, allowing Shaw to take the lead as he went on to win his sixth career championship race.
The Tirecraft Mini-Mods will also run their season championship race on Saturday, where, ironically, Steve Shaw Jr. went from third-place to Victory Lane in 2013 – after the race ended.
The apparent winner Denis DeSerrano, of Cottam, was penalized after the race for contact in taking the lead from Shaw Jr. four laps before the finish while second-place Blenheim’s Elliott Wilton was disqualified in post-race tech inspection.
Vanderiviere and Shaw will go into Saturday’s season championship race as the drivers to beat, again.
The once-heated rivalry between the two has been tame this year, but it wouldn’t take much to reach the boiling point with the championship on the line.
Vanderiviere is on the verge of a fourth straight division championship, as he takes a 52-point lead over Shaw into Saturday night, with points in the heat, pursuit and championship race counting towards the final standings.
Vanderiviere virtually only has to start the championship race to clinch the points title.
Vanderiviere’s six feature wins are one more than Shaw but his 11 checkered flags are one less than his rival.
But it will be more than just a two-man race as the next five drivers in line have all won at least one feature race this season.
Kingsville’s Rob Young has two feature wins, and will start in the second row beside Essex’s Doris Lajeunesse, who has one win.
Chatham’s Eric Vanderiviere won his second feature last Saturday and will start in the third row beside Cottam’s Tiffany Ellis, who picked up her first career feature win earlier this season. It will be the elder Vanderiviere brother’s first Sport Stocks championship race since his win in 2010 before he moved up to the Modified class.
Lozon, who also has two feature wins plus another two taken away in post-race tech inspection, will begin his quest for a third straight championship victory in the fourth row.
The top three drivers in the Tirecraft Mini-Mods’ standings have accounted for 15 of the 19 feature wins – with the other two drivers with wins not expected to be in Saturday’s race.
Blenheim’s Trevor Jones, who has already clinched his first points championship, has four feature wins. He has two wins and three second-place finishes in the last five features.
Chatham’s John Pinsonneault leads the way with six feature wins, including the last two.
Cottam’s Rob Quick has won five features but a run of accidents and breakdowns the last four weeks knocked him out of points contention into third place.
Pinsonneault leads Quick by five points heading into Saturday night and only has to finish within four positions of the Cottam driver to earn the front-row starting position beside Jones.
Blenheim’s Brett Hope has three feature wins but parked his No. 49 after a rollover three weeks ago. Hope’s commitment to his third year with the Buffalo State College Bengals’ hockey team also cut short his racing season.
Chatham’s Tim Mackenzie won the other feature in the Mini-Mods on May 24, subbing for Pinsonneault.
Shaw Jr. enters Saturday eighth in the points standings and will start from the fourth row as he looks for a second-straight championship race win.
The Westside Performance Plus UMP Late Models and Schinkels Gourmet Meats UMP Modifieds will run non-points races this Saturday after crowning their 2014 championships last week.
Ridgetown’s Dale Glassford, in the Late Models, and Leamington’s Joel Dick, in the Modifieds, both swept their division points title and championship races.
The Autotech Bombers will also run a non-points feature.
The 2014 season ends with the Canadian Fall Shootout, a two-day show next weekend.
The Late Models will be racing for a $3,000 winner’s purse and the Modifieds $2,000.
The classes will run qualifying heat races on Friday, Sept. 26, to set the line-up for Saturday’s ‘A’ Mains.
The Mini-Mods and the Ohsweken Crate Sprints will be the support classes on Friday, with the Sport Stocks also in action Saturday. The Mini-Mod and Sport Stocks will be racing for a $1,000 winner’s purse.
Information on admission prices, including two-day packages, is available online at www.southbuxtonraceway.com