A Fast Track Creates Exciting Racing to Close the 2023 Season

By Darren Derendorf
Special to the Times

The rains that fell in the Rainy River District on Thursday and Friday meant there was a lot of moisture in the racing surface at the Emo Speedway, creating what’s called a heavy race track, which means there’s lots of grip and fast racing! Even though there is plenty of grip on the track, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still tricky to drive, as it becomes easy to carry too much speed into a corner and slide up the race track. The heavy track provided plenty of action for Fan Appreciation Night and the final night in the championship battle. While the track provided the action, the Borderland Racing Association provided the appreciation with a discount on admission into the races, free cupcakes throughout the evening from the Batter & Cream Baking Company, and a half hour of giveaways during intermission!

In the first Emo Street Stock heat #24 Andrew Piilo showed how fast his car would be for the evening as he overtook three cars to take the lead by the exit of turn two on the first lap, but rookie #583 Nathaniel Keck put up a resilient fight on the low side of the track over several laps until Piilo was able to use the momentum of the top lane and pull away for the heat win. The second heat saw a return of local hot shoe Ron Westover in the #54 car that is normally piloted by Dean Kellar. It is worth noting that points in the Emo Street Stocks go to the car number not the driver, and Westover quickly reminded the field what he is capable of as he raced from last to 2nd by the white flag, but a block by leader #55 Tylar Wilson slowed Westover who dropped to 4th at the checkered flag. In the feature race the battle was on from the drop of the green flag as #3X Lyle Thompson and Westover were side by side for the opening laps ,with Westover eventually taking a dominant lead, and a 3 wide battle behind them for 3rd between Piilo, Wilson, and #33 Garett Gamsby. By lap 8 the drivers had found their preferred lines and were turning quick lap times, but quicker than most of the pack was the #38 of Steve Bruyere who started 9th and came home with a 5th place finish. With 2 laps to go Piilo had worked his way to first place, and despite a last lap charge by Westover was able to score his 2nd feature win of the season.

Feature Race Top 3 1) #24 Andrew Piilo 2) #54 Ron Westover 3) #3X Lyle Thompson

In the WISSOTA Midwest Modifieds as the drivers were coming to understand the track conditions the experience of a veteran driver proved to be the fastest path to the front as #99 Glen Strachan gained 5 positions to score 2nd place, while championship hopeful #14C Cody Ossachuk held the lead from the green flag to win the heat. Although he didn’t gain any positions during the race the #11X of Scott Thompson showed he would be a contender as by the checkered flag he had made up nearly a quarter track and caught up to the leaders. In the feature race Ossachuk and Strachan jumped to an early lead past pole sitter #59X James Lambert who fought for 4th place with Thompson. It quickly seemed like the drivers were going to lie and wait for mistakes to pick up positions, except for #3X Jesse Thompson who was fighting high and low for each position racing from 8th but spun and nearly flipped on the back stretch while battling for 4th bringing out the only caution of the race. On the restart Strachan was able to pull back out to a comfortable lead with #222 Bob Hammond behind him, farther back in the pack with only 2 laps to go a blown right rear tire spelled the end to Ossachuk’s day.

Feature Race Top 3 1) #99 Glen Strachan 2) #222 Bob Hammond 3) #11X Scott Thompson

As the WISSOTA Modifieds started their heat races the heavy track proved suit some drivers while others struggled. In the first heat race the #12P of Brandon Pelepetz was visibly faster than the field and gained 3 positions within a couple laps and took the win by nearly half a track and in the second heat race #15R Raice Westover used the holeshot to quickly build a lead over the field despite a hard charging #4JR of Cameron Brown who finished 2nd. Meanwhile the #99 of Brody Strachan pulled off track before the drop of the green flag and #85 Jeff Davis quickly dropped 4 positions struggling to make the car turn through turns 1&2 and pulled off track by lap 5. In the feature race the #66X of Denny Trimble jumped to an early lead but was swallowed up by lap 5 by the rocket ship of Pelepetz. Despite clean passes throughout the field the racing got a little too close for 4th place as there was a multicar pile up in turn 2 which brought out the only caution, and all the drivers pulled away from the incident with only one car going to the pits. On the restart Brown was able to make a quick move to more himself into second place where he would spend the next few laps chasing down and passing Pelepetz with 4 laps to go. Despite a valiant effort fighting through lap traffic, some of the handle had left Pelepetz’s car leaving him just shy of the victory in second place. Going 5 for 5 in Top 5 finishes was Davis who had found the set up for the track conditions and worked his way from the back of the pack albeit a couple laps too late to catch the winners.

Feature Race Top 3 1) #4JR Cameron Brown 2) #12P Brandon Peleptez 3) #15R Raice Westover

The Borderland Racing Association would like to say thank you to this week’s sponsor Jay’s Auto as well as each and every sponsor who help and support the racing community throughout the entire season.  The Borderland Racing Association would like to also say thank you to each and every fan who has come to the races this season, if it wasn’t for you and your support there wouldn’t be a speedway for the drivers to do battle on each week. Finally thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work and dedication all season long to make sure the track is prepared for fans and drivers alike. Unfortunately this brings an end to the 2023 race season but be sure to check out your favourite weekend warriors as they visit some of the other tracks in our area like Thunder City Speedway, Hibbing Raceway, and Lake of the Woods Speedway, for more details follow your favourite drivers and teams on Facebook or find more tracks and schedule information at www.wissota.org. See you in 2024 for another exciting season of racing action at the Emo Speedway!