From points races going down to the wire to the presence of two famous SportsCentre anchors to a stellar fireworks display, last Wednesday’s Championship Night was a remarkable finish to the season for Estevan Motor Speedway.
Rocky Alexander won the street stock season championship for the second straight year, while Devin Raynard (modified) and Cory Evans (hobby stock) each took home their second points title in three years.
TSN’s Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole agreed to be interviewed by the Speedway’s Pat Boyle during the intermission and the network shot some footage of a crowd that topped 1,100 people cheering.
Raynard led Aaron Turnbull by 20 points entering the night, and with only 16 cars making it to the feature, he had the honours wrapped up before the race began.
“It’s unreal. It takes good luck and good driving. A two-dollar part can break and you’re out of it,” Raynard said.
“It was a good year. I didn’t have one DNF and that makes all the difference. My worst finish was seventh. I guess you just gotta keep picking away at it to pick at it.”
Raynard also won the Auto Value Fast 40 and a $5,000-to-win feature in Swift Current this year, and he plans on attending Super Nationals in Boone, Iowa, next week.
Corey Mann won the feature, the first victory of his career.
The race was punctuated by a stunning crash involving Joren Boyce. The Minot native rolled over on his side on Turn 4 and landed on Kelly Bauman’s car, also striking two others. All appeared to be okay.
“I hope he wasn’t injured,” said track president James Gustafson. “Joren just lives for racing but he doesn’t live for these extra expenses that go along with it. All of those things could’ve been very dangerous, but I don’t think anyone was injured.”
Alexander led Robby Rosselli by five points at the start of the street feature and managed to hold on for both the victory and the points win.
“Early in the feature when Robby got by me, I thought, ‘This is how it’s going to end up,’ and then I thought to myself, ‘No, that’s not the way to end this season.’ With persistence I just kept pushing forward and when I did get by him I just opened it up,” Alexander said.
Evans credited his first season victory since 2009 to luck and consistency.
“Whoever’s car holds together, that’s what it comes down to. I never finished first once, man. Not once in three years. It’s consistency, rent your bolts, keep your car together.”
He led Tyler Thompson by two points and Gary Goudy, Jr., by six prior to the feature.
Evans and Thompson played cat and mouse throughout the feature until Thompson was sent to the back late in the race after he was deemed to have interfered with another car spinning out.
Evans said his rival “got screwed.”
Justin Medler won the feature, his third of the season.
“It proves one thing, some guys race for the money and other guys set a goal,” Gustafson said.
“Cory Evans told me a long time ago that his goal was to be the points champion. He was so delighted. He was more excited about being the points champion than winning the prize money for the race.”
Evans said he was thrilled with the season as a whole and commended EMS officials for helping to make it a memorable one.
“They took some slack this year and I don’t think that’s right. I think everybody should take their hats off and give them a big thanks.”
Gustafson said opinions from drivers have been mixed on whether the move to Wednesday racing was a good one. The track will carry out a full review and decide whether to move back to weekends.
He said the overall crowd count for 2011 was slightly lower than in 2010.
The Speedway will hold its awards banquet on Oct. 22.