PORT HARDY—A half dozen cars started the stock races at the Tri-port Speedway last Saturday, but none of the six finished the night unscathed as the drivers pushed the vehicles to the limit.
The lineup included four regular drivers at the track; Daniel Hovey, Glen Day, Brock Shore and Paul Weeks. The veterans were joined by newcomer Jared Breitkreitz in his second full outing and a rookie car which changed drivers throughout the night to let a few potential drivers get a little time in the seat.
Hovey set the pace at the time-ins, clocking the fast time for the night as the drivers set the order for the first race.
The first yellow flag of the night dropped one lap into the Trophy Dash as Day went off into the tire wall on turn one. After a little help from Shore, Day limped out to the pits and was replaced by Breitkreitz.
Breitkreitz fared little better, pulling out on his second lap with a broken ball joint, the damage keeping the driver busy on mechanic duty until the main event.
On the track, Shore held off the remaining drivers to take the win in the Trophy Dash.
Day rejoined the lineup for the heat races, and the field was joined by the rookie car which started from the back of the pack to take some pressure off the novice driver.
Shore took the first heat, beating out Day by less than a car length with Hovey taking third. Hovey’s car had noticeable damage to the front inside wheel by the end of the heat. News filtering up from the pits suggested that his car had suffered a similar fate to Breitkreitz’s but was still handling “not too bad,” according to the driver.
The second heat saw Shore take his turn in the pits after slamming into the fence out of turn four while Weeks, who started at the front, took first place in the heat, with Day taking second and Hovey third.
The race organizers allowed some extra pit time before the main event in an effort to get all the cars on the track. Down in the pits, the drivers showed their camaraderie as the more mechanically experienced drivers took over work on Breitkreitz’s car to get the newcomer back up and running.
As all six cars lined up for the 25-lap main event they were joined in the pits by Laurie O’Connor with his Harris modified racer in tow.
While O’Connor got suited up the green flag dropped to start the finale at the Speedway.
The four regulars jumped to the front early on and held their order until Shore pulled in to the pits to deal with a flat before rejoining and scrambling to make up for lost laps.
Early front-runner Weeks’ night came to an premature end as he was forced to retire with Hovey and Day leaping past the stricken car to battle for the lead.
Hovey’s damaged front quarter continued to worsen, the frame bending out after a collision, but the driver was able to hold his line and his lead.
O’Connor joined the rest of the field for the remaining laps, putting on a display for the fans in his souped-up modified while going wide of the competitors.
After Shore lost his hood and continued with his improved-airflow version, Day threw a tire and had to pull off for a quick replacement.
The repair left Hovey in the clear to take the top spot for the night, while Shore battled back for second.
Newcomer Breitkreitz’s trouble-free finale earned him the third place for the race.
Hovey remarked after the race that the car had been handling fine despite the damage to the inside wheel. As for the damage to the bodywork, “I guess I stuck my nose in where in didn’t belong,” he joked.
As for O’Connor, he quipped that his impromptu appearance came after the driver was “heading home from Port Alice and just needed a shot of adrenaline.” Another consideration was putting the car through its paces after having some work done under the hood.
O’Connor, who regularly travels to the U.S. to compete, took advantage of the opportunity to open the engine up and check its performance ahead of an upcoming event and to give a little extra display for the fans who came out to the races.
The drivers will reconvene in two weeks at the Speedway for their annual Filomi Days show, with organizers hoping for an expanded field of cars.