DEMPSTER WINS BULLY HILL QUALIFIER
SETS ALL TIME CAREER VICTORY STATS
By Dave Cook, Media Officer
Grand Island names in bold
Brighton, Ontario, August 9, 2003. . . Defending Southern Ontario Sprints (SOS) driving champion Keith Dempster drove to a convincing victory Saturday night at Brighton Speedway and with his win he becomes eligible to enter the prestigious Bully Hill Vineyards Classic at Black Rock Speedway in New York State next month.
The Alton, Ontario racer now leads the SOS all-time win-list with a record 12 career wins. The victory was also his seventh career win at Brighton Speedway, three more than any other SOS driver at that track.
" I have to say that this is by far my most favourite track and I have always enjoyed coming here," he told a standing room only crowd following the event which was sponsored by the Trenton area Subway stores.
Finishing second was Warren Mahoney of Lefroy, Ontario while third place went to Phil Armishaw of Mount Hope, Ontario. Armishaw also drove to a career best with his third place finish.
"I was keeping up with Warren (Mahoney) but there was no way I could catch the leader. I didnít worry about that one. But I think I might have been able to move up on Mahoney if I had more time" said Armishaw.
Finishing fourth was Kingston, Ontario driver Justin Harris, who was making his racing debut not only in a powerful 600 horsepower sprint car, but on dirt tracks and on an oval speedway.
"My background is with go karts and on asphalt road courses. I decided to purchased this car from Joyceville, Ontario driver Rick Wilson and race sprint cars. I love it, I really enjoyed it tonight," said the 22 year old first time sprint car racer.
The 20-lap race over the one-third mile clay oval had three cautions and one complete race stoppage. The first caution came on the third lap when Jim Porter of Grand Island, N.Y. stopped on the track with mechanical troubles. The second caution was on lap six for the spinning car of Frank Baranowski of Hamilton, Ontario, while the third caution was on lap 14 when Tilbury, Ontario driver Kyle Patrick encountered mechanical troubles and came to a stop in the middle of the track.
The race had to be red-flagged at the half distance when Bob Crawford of Sutton, Ontario, crashed when a wheel collapsed causing his racer to turn onto its side and slide some distance into a water course which runs alongside the track. He escaped without injury.
Race veteran Dick Mahoney of Newmarket, Ontario started from the pole position to lead the first three laps but after the restart he was immediately passed by his son Warren. Dempster had pulled along side of Mahoney on lap nine, making the pass at the line . The race was flagged for the Crawford accident one lap later. At the restart Dempster again took the lead and gradually opened a gap over Mahoney.
"My car was getting loose with every lap. As the fuel load became lighter it just became harder to handle," said Mahoney at the end of the race.
The event, which was a Bully Hill Vineyards qualifier, was originally set as a co-hosted race by the Southern Ontario Sprints and the New England Sprint Car Club but the agreement fell apart at the last minute according to SOS President Peter Turford, without explanation from the New England group.
"An agreement had been reached between our club and the New England group that we would do this tonight at Brighton Speedway. We were told as recently as two weeks ago that we would have a full and active participation by their drivers.
"We learned from a web page notice posted on driver Mike Lauterbornís site that the New England group scheduled a race tonight at Whip City Speedway in Westfield, Massachusetts despite our agreement," said Turford.
Results: (all drivers from Ontario unless noted)
Heat One: 1. Kyle Patrick, Tilbury; 2. Jim Porter, Grand Island, N.Y.; 3. Dick Mahoney, Newmarket; 4. Warren Mahoney; 5. Paul Ballantyne, Brantford; 6. Frank Baranowski, Hamilton.
Heat Two: 1. Keith Dempster, Alton; 2. Phil Armishaw, Mount Hope; 3. Bob Crawford, Sutton; 4. Daryl Turford, Stratford; Justin Harris, Kingston.
Dash One: 1. Dempster; 2. Patrick; 3. Jim Porter; 4. Dick Mahoney; 5. Armishaw; 6. Crawford.
Dash Two: 1. Warren Mahoney; 2. Harris; 3. Ballantyne; 4. Turford; 5. Baranowski.
Feature: 1. Dempster; 2. Warren Mahoney; 3. Armishaw; 4. Harris; 5. Baranowski; 6. Ballantyne; 7. Patrick; 8. Crawford; 9. Dick Mahoney; 10. Turford; 11. Jim Porter.
Next Races: Saturday, August 16, Merrittville Speedway, Thorold, Ontario
Sunday, August 17, Gasport Speedway, Port Colbourne, Ontario