Chris Hardy's modified car generates a glow under the hood while passing the starter's tower during a heat race at Tri-Port Speedway Saturday

Chris Hardy's modified car generates a glow under the hood while passing the starter's tower during a heat race at Tri-Port Speedway Saturday

Day turns night into another track title

PORT HARDY-Local stock car racer repeats points championship with strong showing in season finale at Tri-Port Speeway.

PORT HARDY—Glen Day enjoyed a solid night of racing while claiming his third straight track points championship at Tri-Port Speedway Saturday.

But his best race may have been the one he didn’t win.

Day bookended the season finale with victories in the trophy dash and the main event, and finished the season with 630 points for a comfortable win over runner-up Jim Swift (507). He seemed on his way to another win in the first heat race before he was tapped by Swift in turn two on the final lap and spun out, allowing Cody Robbins to slip past and take the checkered flag. Jared Breitkreitz also went past and took second place as both Day and Swift came to a stop at the edge of the infield, and Day recovered first to finish the lap ahead of Swift in third place.

After discussion between flagger Dan Stewart and the timing crew in the tower, the result was allowed to stand, as nobody could determine whether Swift made contact before reaching the centre post of Day’s car on the attempted inside pass.

That’s when things got interesting.

The eight-car field had been split into A and B heats for the first session, and after the drama of the first heat, Daniel Hovey jumped to a quick lead and ran away with the B heat in front of Paul Weeks, Chris Hardy and Brock Shore. But Shore was forced to withdraw for the evening with car trouble, and the seven remaining cars were lined up together for the second heat — with Swift and Day side-by-side in the front row.

But there was no payback or hijinks from the pair, just hard, solid racing that resulted in the season’s closest finish.

Day, running on the outside, grabbed a brief lead on the backstretch of the opening lap, but was unable to close the line and Swift dipped inside on turn three and moved ahead. Swift held his line throughout the 12-lap heat, with Day shadowing the entire way and Hovey and Robbins keeping within striking distance.

Then, after the white flag dropped to signify the final lap, Day set up wide going into turn 3 and made a hard drop to the inside, finding just enough daylight to push under Swift and move into a slender lead as the cars made the final turn to the checkered flag running door-to-door. But the tighter angle cost Day precious momentum, and Swift powered high out of the turn to regain the lead and take the flag by no more than the width of his bumper as the crowd roared its approval.

The main event was almost anticlimactic by comparison, though it did feature more position changes before Day crossed the line with Hovey second and Robbins third as Swift closed in fourth position.

With spectators chipping in money for an impromptu purse, the season then wrapped up with a three-man series of “grudge” matches intended to feature Day, Swift and Hovey, though Swift was ultimately forced to concede due to a series of flat tires. Hovey, a former track champion and Day’s shop teammate, took the final heat.