- July 30 - South Buxton Raceway by Sam Holbrooks


ODLMS: Oakes Leads Late Models Back to Buxton After Nine-Year Hiatus

By Mike Bennett

SOUTH BUXTON, ONT. – July 30. It took nine years for the Ontario Dirt Late Models to race at South Buxton Raceway, and if you asked the near capacity crowd, they’d love to see them back again this weekend!

Greg Oakes of Franklinville, N.Y., led all 30 laps to win the ODLM’s inaugural South Buxton event Saturday on the track’s 40th anniversary night.

A total of 28 late models from across Ontario and western New York state joined South Buxton’s own Windride Transportation UMP Late Models – and they gave the fans their money’s worth with five exciting preliminary races leading up to the thrilling ‘A’ main.

And even though he led from the drop of the green to the wave of the checkered, it was no Sunday drive for Oakes.

“It definitely was hair raising,” Oakes said, as the race went caution-free for the first 18 laps as the leaders had to deal with lapped cars for more than a dozen circuits.

“We got into some heavy lap traffic but fortunately we were able to roll on the bottom, keep the car straight and stay out of trouble.”

If dealing with the traffic wasn’t difficult enough, Oakes was getting heavy pressure from Blenheim’s Andrew Reaume and Lee Gill, from Lafargeville, N.Y.

Oakes said he knew he had company, but had no idea who was on the tail of his No. 22 machine.

 “I had a guy keeping an eye on things for me but I didn’t dare look at him with so much going on the race track,” he said of his spotter.

“He was trying to tell me that they were closing in … so I was kind of happy to see that first caution so we could get out of that mess,” Oakes said.
On the restart, the front runners finally had open track but no one had anything for Oakes.

Reaume was able to close the gap a couple of times but couldn’t mount a challenge as he settled for second.

Ridgetown’s Adam, West moved up one spot when Gill exited with mechanical issues and equalled his best ODLM finish with a third. West finished third at Cornwall in 2009.

Chris Ross, of Charing Cross, finished in fourth following a second-place finish to Gill a week earlier at Brighton Speedway. Greg Belyea, of Sterling, rounded out the top five.

Although it was Oakes’ first trip to South Buxton, it didn’t take him long to adapt to South Buxton’s unique ‘D’-shaped oval.

“Mercer (Raceway Park) is somewhat like this, it’s the same shape but it’s quite a bit bigger,” Oakes said of a similar track in Pennsylvania.

“This place is definitely racy,” he said of South Buxton.

“You can run all over the track. That’s all you can ask for … give me a race track that you can race side-by-side.”

Despite heavy rain in the area Thursday and Friday, the track began drying out during the ODLM heats. The surface remained dry-slick after getting watered down during the intermission.

“I like the dry-slick. We’ve been really working on our slick set up and it seems we really shine,” said Oakes, the 2008-09 series champion.

“I heard some guys complaining about how slippery it was, but the bottom line, we only had about three cautions and the racing was pretty good. I had no problems,” Oakes said.

While Oakes succeeded in his South Buxton debut, the third-place finish was as rewarding as win to West in his first ride at his familiar track in a late model.

 “It was great,” said West, a two-time winner at South Buxton in the Southern Ontario Sprints.

“I drove the track kind of like I do the sprint car … just kept it straight on the bottom and it worked out well.

“The car might have worked better if I would have went up high but I kind of chickened out and just kept it in line … and if guys wanted to pass me, they’re were going to earn it around the top.”

West said he has not had a good season in his sprint car, which included suffering a broken nose when a large piece of clay crushed the window screen into his visor. He also crashed and finished 16th in last week’s ODLM race at Brighton.

“The way the year has gone between the stock car and sprint car, I was happy to the checkered flag at the end of the night,” he said about his rash of DNFs.

“It’s just been a brutal year. We’re fast every where we’ve been. We’re still encouraged or else we would have pulled the plug a long time ago.

“But this is our potential, running third and hopefully we can keep it the rest of the year.”

The four-event ODLM series concludes with back-to-back dates at Brockville on Saturday, Aug. 20 and Cornwall on Sunday, Aug. 21.
South Buxton Raceway
Saturday, July 30 Results
Includes driver’s car number in brackets and hometown.

Ontario Dirt Late Models
1. Greg Oakes (22) Franklinville, N.Y.
2. Andrew Reaume (88) Blenheim
3. Adam West (92) Ridgetown
4. Chris Ross (18R) Charing Cross
5. Greg Belyea (25) Sterling
6. Jeff Dayman (7D) Crystal Beach
7. Chuck Meyers (28) Casterland, N.Y.
8. Phil Potts (29) Frankford
9. Mike Lewis (05) Wallaceburg
10. Kirk Hooker (38) Chatham
11. Mark Glassford (90) Goderich
12. Jim Jones (34) Chatham
13. Jason Haskell (RH94) Chatham
14. Brett Reaume (77) Blenheim
15. Kyle Sopaz (12) Carrying Place
16. Keith Cameron (92C) Tilbury
17. Don Gordon (33) Chatham
18. Richard Raison (2XR) Delta
19. Joe Banks (75J) Kingston
20. Lee Gill (7) Lafargeville, N.Y.
21. Beau Brown (75) Brighton
22. Brad Authier (1A) Chatham
23. Gregg Haskell (RH21) Chatham
24. Dale Glassford (60) Ridgetown


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