Pilkey Returns to Victory Lane
Friday, August 11th at Delaware Speedway saw 4 divisions racing including the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models, Ontario Legends Series, TransAxle V8 Stocks and Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks. The evening’s program saw 8 feature races as the Late Models ran triple features in an tempt to make up lost races earlier in the race season.
Group qualifying sessions set the starting lineups for the night with the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models up first to run the 3 minute round. Current points leader Branden Verhoeven topped the speed charts with a 20.124 just ahead of Scott O’Connor’s #23 machine. In TransAxle V8 Stock qualifying it was Barry Watson adding to his points lead with a quick time of 21.820. The Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks 3 minute session was topped by Jeremy Schinkel, who was making his first start of the season. Craig Cole and Jordan Morris were second and third quick in the session for the Bone Stock division.
The Ontario Legends Series first of two heat races started the evening’s program with the 10 lap event going green to checkered with no issues. Josh Indig was able to capture the win over Brandon Thurlby after a late race pass. The second Ontario Legends Series heat race started with Josh Indig on the pole position beside Roy Janisse. Indig was able to checkout on the field by half a straightaway and win the race as Brandon Thurlby trailed behind, just ahead of Ray Janisse.
The Case N’ Drum Oil late Models first of three 25 lap feature races kicked off the night’s feature racing program as Branden Verhoeven and Scott O’Connor started on the front row and led the field to the green silk. Verhoeven would lead the opening 6 laps before a caution flag came out for debris on the race track. Verhoeven would maintain the lead after the restart as Scott O’Connor was freight trained back to the 4th position. Brady Smith charged up to the 2nd spot as Wayne Pilkey pressured from behind. Verhoeven would go on to win the event over Smith and Pilkey, adding to his points lead.
Jeremy Taggart and Nathan Taback led the field to the green flag for the first TransAxle V8 Stock feature with Steve Book and Steve Arrand in the row behind. The battle up front was intense as drivers battled side by side 2 and 3 wide. Nathan Taback stuck to the outside of Jeremy Taggart for many laps and even bounced his #46 off the wall, white walling the tires. On lap 12, Barry Waston took the top spot just before the race’s first caution on lap 13 as Jeremy Taggart went around off of turn 2. The restart allowed Steve Arrand to get the race lead with a power move on the high side, however Waston would not let him get away. With just 2 laps to go, Watson pounced as Arrand made a mistake and slipped up, taking the race win. Steve Book, Nathan Taback and Cody Payne rounded out the top 5.
Ron Proulx and Jordan Morris started on the front row for the first Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stock feature, a 25 lap event. The race went green flag in the early stages as Ron Proulx continued to pace the field. Craig Cole took the lead early on as Jordan Morris trailed in the third position. The caution came out on lap 19 as Devon Bloemendal and Jeremy Schindel tangled and the #9 car went around. The restart allowed Derek Moesker to join the battle for the win as he shot out of a cannon on the restart and quickly into the 2nd spot. Moesker would mount several charges on Cole, however he would not be able to get there and have to settle for 2nd. Craig Cole would hold on for the win with Ron Proulx 3rd, Jordan Morris 4th, and Bill Brekelmans rounded out the top 5.
The Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models were up next for their second 25 lap feature race with Wayne Pilkey starting on the pole beside Brady Smith. Brady Smith got to the lead early but he was not able to get away as the field stayed nose to tail throughout. Branden Verhoeven made a charge up to 3rd position as Ray Morneau Jr. stuck to his tail and worked behind him. Brady Smith continued to pace the field through the middle portion as Wayne Pilkey searched high and low for a way around. With just 1 lap to go Pilkey would get a great run off of turn 4 and get to the inside of Smith. Pilkey would win the event as Smith would be forced to settle for 2nd and Branden Verhoeven 3rd.
Manuel Ferreira and Shawn Fucile led the second TransAxle V8 Stock feature to green with lots to live up to after the incredible first race. Barry Watson took the lead early on in the race as the field followed behind and looked to end his streak of wins. Steve Book ran 2nd in the opening segment but would fall to 3rd after getting very loose, allowing Steve Arrand to advance to the runner up spot. Watson would go uncontested for the win doubling down on the evenings program ahead of Steve Arrand and Steve Book.
Joe Kicks and Don Hamilton led the Fire & Iron Custom Metalwork Bone Stocks to the green for their second feature event. The field raced 3 and 4 wide right away before Kassy Howard’s #59 machine went into the outside wall and onto its roof down the back straightaway. Howard’s car slid from the centre of the back chute to the middle of turn 3 while upside down before coming to rest. The driver was able to walk away uninjured, a estimate to safety gear in modern racing. Derek Moesker took the race lead before halfway as Bill Brekelmans followed behind him. On lap 14, Jay Chappell, who had been running in the top 5, lost a wheel and hit the outside wall hard. The red flag came out immediately and then the yellow, resetting the field for a quick run to the end. After the restart Craig Cole would make a charge into the 2nd position and get into a rhythm as Moesker continued to lead. With just 2 laps to go Moesker slipped up the track and Cole made a move to the inside and would go on to win the race. Moesker would settle for 2nd ahead of Ben Davey who rounded out the top 3.
The Ontario Legends Series 25 lap feature started with Bryan Batty and Bill Mason on the front row. The race would go green in the opening half as Indig and Thurlby battled hard up front. Josh Indig would be able to open up a sizeable gap before the caution came out for a spun car on lap 16. On the restart Brandon Thurlby would take the race lead before losing it on lap 21 to Josh Indig. On lap 23 the caution came out again, setting up a dash to the finish. Brandon Thurlby would use the high side to steal the win in a thrilling finish, forcing Josh Indig to settle for a runner up finish.
The final race of the evening was a 25 lap event for the Case N’ Drum Oil Late Models with a field of hungry drivers. Wayne Pilkey started on pole, fresh off his win in the previous race. Brady Smith would get the jump and move to the inside line right away as Wayne Pilkey pressured from behind. In the middle portion of the event Ray Morneau Jr made an inside pass on Branden Verhoeven for the 3rd spot as Jake Hooker looked on from the 5th running spot. With less than 10 laps to go Wayne Pilkey would get a great run and move to the race lead, leaving Smith in the bridesmaid spot once again. Pilkey would go on to win his second straight race as Smith and Morneau Jr rounded out the top 3.
The next event at Delaware Speedway is a doubleheader weekend with a full weekly program running on Friday, August 18th and the world’s most powerful short track cars, the ISMA Supermodifieds making their only Canadian stop on Saturday, August 19th alongside the Open Wheel Modifieds and Lucas Oil Canadian Vintage Modifieds. Full event info and tickets can be found on www.DelawareSpeedway.com
By Ryan Dyson