Fellow drivers look on as Paul Weeks removes the hood from his flaming modified car at Tri-Port Speedway Saturday

Fellow drivers look on as Paul Weeks removes the hood from his flaming modified car at Tri-Port Speedway Saturday

Action heats up at Tri-Port Speedway

PORT HARDY - Weeks follows heat race victory with rollover, car fire

PORT HARDY — For driver Paul Weeks, Saturday was an evening of peaks and valleys. And the drop from the former to the latter was steep.

Just a few laps after winning the first heat race in the Tri-Port Motor Sports Club stock car points series at Tri-Port Speedway, Weeks found himself upside-down in his harness after hitting the tire berm in turn three and rolling his modified racer during an exhibition run between heats.

Fellow drivers raced onto the track to help as Weeks managed to crawl from the driver’s door window, unharmed. But as soon as the men rolled the car back onto its tires, the engine burst into flame.

“I finally get a motor in, and this is what I do,” Weeks said after returning to the pits with the modified car that was back at the track for the first time in two seasons. “It was just me challenging the wall. I hit the back end and it swung the front around. That’s why the drivers don’t like the tires — you can’t just rub off them like a wall.”

In addition to general body damage, the car suffered a broken shock and broken steering rod. But the frame was intact, and Weeks felt he would have the vehicle up and running again soon.

“It’s mostly fiberglass and aluminum,” he said. “It’ll clean right up.”

Weeks’s other car was not as fortunate. His Chevy Nova, competing in the stock class and driven by Patrick Gullacher, blew its engine midway through the second heat. The car unleashed a plume of thick, white smoke just as it passed before the sizeable crowd along the main straightaway, and continued to smoke as it coasted through turn two and limped into the pits.

Daniel Hovey, the defending track champion, also saw his evening come to a premature end with a broken rear differential in the first heat.

Hovey was one of four drivers to pit within the space of a lap and a half. Gullacher overheated, Kevin Doucette suffered a flat tire and Justin Reusch had a flat and a hole in his radiator, which may have come from a rock that was driven through the radiator on the engine side by the fan blade.

That left Weeks and his modified to outduel Glenn Day and Brock Shore for the heat victory.

The rest of the night, however, belonged to Day.

First, Day won the second heat ahead of Shore and Doucette while Reusch continued to work on his radiator. Then, with Reusch back on the track and Hovey driving Shore’s No. 47 car for the 20-lap main event, Day held his line through three competition yellow flags and restarts to hold off Reusch by a car length for the victory. Hovey finished third and Doucette was fourth in the race.

Day’s success allowed him to close the gap between him and Reusch in the season points chase. Reusch still holds the top spot with 530 points, and Day sits at 513. Doucette (320), Shore (273) and Hovey (271) are well back in their battle for third position.

Drivers were scheduled for a doubleheader race weekend, but Sunday’s points session was halted after Shore spun out during the trophy dash and took most of the rest of the field with him. The remaining cars stayed to run a play day on the track.