PORT HARDY—The front of the pack was the only place to be last weekend as the Tri-Port Speedway Dustbowl lived up to its name.
A field of ten drivers took to the track over the two-day meet, one from as far as Fort MacMurray. Nathan Bonn, who has family in Woss, worked frantically for two days prior to the event with his team to prepare the number two for racing. And Bonn was no slouch behind the wheel, finishing fourth overall in weekend points.
But it was familiar faces on the podium as the locals held on to the top spots.
After timing in Saturday, the field was split into two tiers for a pair of trophy dashes and heat races before recombining for a main event.
With the track loosening up after the first few races, the home stretch was engulfed in plumes of dust, making passing a difficult prospect. This led to the organizers making the decision to water down the straight in order to improve visibility after the first set of heats.
After setting the order, the ten drivers took to the track for the 30-lap main event.
Cody Robbins moved up from the second row to lead the pack in the first laps with Jared Breitkreitz on his heels after starting in fifth. Glen Day also worked his way up the order from the back row, rounding Breitkreitz and restarting in second place after a yellow flag dropped on the fourth lap when the mini-stocks of Steven Demoe and Lanie Burroughs got tangled up and were forced out of the running.
Further down the order, Daniel Hovey and Brock Shore worked their way up and, when Breitkreitz was forced to pit on lap 5, the frontrunners became Robbins, Day and Hovey.
Day passed on the seventh to take the lead and a mistake from Robbins in the tenth made it Day, Hovey, Shore as Weeks was forced to retire. Engine trouble on the next lap put Shore out of the running as Ryan Doyle moved into third with Bonn on his heels.
A flat put Breitkreitz into the pits on lap 13 as Day looked comfortable at the head of the pack. On lap 17, Doyle pitted, leaving four to fight it out on the oval, the order standing Day, Hovey, Robbins, Bonn until Breitkreitz rejoined on lap 23.
No sooner did he rejoin than a flat dashed Hovey’s race and he limped out as Doyle came back on.
The order stayed unchanged for the final laps and Day took the checkered flag with Robbins and Bonn behind.
After a long night under the hood for most drivers, six of the ten were able to take to the track again Sunday for the second half of the weekend’s racing.
The extra wear on the track proved troublesome for many. In particular, turn two seemed unusually slick and caused problems for every driver at one time or another during the meet.
As the green flag dropped for the main event, Breitkreitz was on pole with Bonn on the bubble. Behind, Robbins and Hovey sat in the second row with Doyle and Day at the back.
Bonn took an early lead as Day went into second on the outside. By the midway point a series of issues at turn two had mixed things up with Day leading the pack and Hovey and Doyle chasing. Another flat for Hovey put him out of the running on lap 22 as Robbins moved up to take second ahead of Doyle while out in front Day never appeared threatened for the top spot.
Day took his fifth checkered flag of the weekend to a cheer from the crowd.
The crowd was cheering again soon after, as Hovey threw his car sideways across the line and pulled a donut under the stands for the fans.
There was a sizeable prize pool for the weekend after a donation from Linda Penner in memory of Don Penner, along with a stream of donations from the race fans in attendance over the weekend.
The drivers will be back in action in two weeks, with the next races scheduled for 6 p.m. on September 7.
STOCK CAR RACING
Car No. Driver
2 Nathan Bonn
4 Paul Weeks
5 Cody Robbins
7 Daniel Hovey
10 Lanie Burroughs
13 Brock Shore
15 Ryan Doyle
26 Jared Breitkreitz
44 Paul Weeks
77 Glen Day
92 Steven Demoe
Fast time: Hovey
Trophy Dash A: Shore.
Trophy Dash B: Bonn.
Heat 1A: 1. Day; 2. Hovey; 3. Shore.
Heat 1B: 1. Bonn; 2. Burroughs; 3. Demoe.
Heat 2A: 1. Day; 2. Hovey; 3. Shore.
Heat 2B: 1. Robbins; 2. Bonn; 3. Burroughs.
Main Event: 1. Day; 2. Robbins; 3. Bonn.
1. Day, 167; 2. Hovey, 136; 3. Shore, 104; 3. Doyle, 104; 5. Bonn, 96; 6. Breitkreitz, 92; 7. Robbins, 84; 8. Demoe, 56; 9. Burroughs, 55; 10. Weeks, (44) 42; 11. Weeks (4), 8.
Fast Time: Day.
Trophy Dash: Day
Heat 1: 1. Doyle; 2. Day; 3. Bonn.
Heat 2: 1. Hovey; 2. Day; 3. Bonn.
Main Event: 1. Day; 2. Robbins; 3. Doyle.
1. Day, 153; 2. Doyle, 121; 3. Hovey, 113; 4. Robbins, 103; 5. Bonn, 99; 6. Breitkreitz, 86; 7. Weeks (4) 8.
1. Day, 320; 2. Hovey, 249; 3. Doyle, 225; 4. Bonn, 195; 5. Robbins, 187; 6. Breitkreitz, 178; 7. Shore, 104; 8. Demoe, 56; 9. Burroughs, 55; 10. Weeks (44) 42; 11. Weeks (4), 16.
1. Day, 747; 2. Hovey, 512; 3. Shore, 441; 4. Breitkreitz, 388; 5. Doyle, 308; 6. Weeks (4) 229; 7. Bonn, 195; 8. Robbins, 187; 9. Weeks (44) 136; 10. Demoe, 123.