Back on track

Thunder Bay's Davey Simpson was back on the dirt tracks over the weekend in a season hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They loaded up the cars and were ready to race. Thunder Bay auto race fans are a special breed. They head south of the border for many races — World of the Outlaws, Sprint Car racing, NASCAR and of course to follow the local talent. To say this race season is weird is an understatement. 

So far, no fans in a COVID-19 era.

However, this weekend, local racers took to the tracks in Kenora and Emo, Ont., for fan-free races that were broadcast online. Special thanks to sponsors who fuelled these events.

Organizers from Emo Speedway thanked drivers and sponsors on on social media Saturday night, but stated they would not hold races next weekend.

“The board will meet and discuss our options for another race in the future,” organizers wrote.

Racers work so hard to get sponsors and to get cars together to put on a good show for the fans. It is sad that there were no fans, who ultimately pay the purse.It is only proper to thank the sponsors that have made this weekend’s racing possible. So thank you from all the drivers.

Each driver were allowed only three pit crew.

Thunder Bay’s Davey Simpson was the fire that ignited the return of Mosquito Speedway and he will made the best of his first race of the season. Simpson won the WISSOTA Midwest Mods feature on Saturday night at Emo Speedway.

“Usually we would have 25 races under our belts by mid July,” Simpson said on Friday. “We will race with no fans but I am glad to be racing. It is better than nothing. It is nice to get out of the boat.” 

Simpson was without his main rig this weekend.

“My car is stuck (in the U.S.) so I will be driving the #3D of Kyle and Kevin Montieth. I am OK with the border being closed as long as everyone is safe,” he says. “I know the fans pay the purse and it is very hard to race with out the fans. We do appreciate them, it is nice of the sponsors to sponsor this racing. 

“Even one weekend of racing is better than none at all,” he adds.

Kyle Montieth was not behind the wheel this weekend due to work commitments. Simpson will marry into the Montieth family later this  summer. It might not be the wedding all had hoped for but it is a good amalgamation of two local racing families. Best wishes sent your way.

Cole Chernosky also raced in the Mid West Modified division in Car #33c, finishing fifth. Before the weekend, he said he was just happy to be back.

“We have been waiting for the border to open, thankfully we are able to get behind the wheel and blow the dust off in Kenora,” Chernosky says. “I’ve never raced without fans, that’s for sure.”

On Friday at Lake of the Woods Speedway in Kenora, the feature winners were Paul Veert (Midwest Mods), Gary Feeleus (pure stocks) and Matt Chatyrbok (four cyclinder).In other results at Emo on Saturday, Darren Wolframe captured the Streets feature and Fort Frances’ Brady Caul won the WISSOTA Modifieds final.

Brady would like to thank his girlfriend Tanikka, his sister Lexy, his parents, Margie and Jim, as well as Corey Dobransky and all sponsors for all the support over the years. 

“I’ve been watching all the racing in superior the last seven weeks,” Caul said before the weekend. “It’s been tough sitting at home by this time we would have around 10 nights in, I was planning on the opener at Cedar Lake (Speedway).”

Stay safe, go fast, turn left and enjoy. Racing is back in a new way.

Johan Vass is a Thunder Bay-based writer. Reach her at jvass@tbaytel.net.

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