In a year where weather played a big role in cancelling some races, the Estevan Motor Speedway wrapped up its 19th season with an awards night banquet and fundraiser without a hitch.
The year had thunderstorms and big rainfalls early in the racing season but the racing that did happen was at times tight from wire to wire, as evidenced by some of the classes being decided on Championship Day in August.
“We were tasked with getting ourselves financially responsible and kind of bringing back the fun to the track,” said track president Bryon Fichter. “The board members and all the volunteers do all the work. I can’t take any credit for it. They really put a lot of effort in…
“The weather wasn’t 100 per cent co-operative but considering that, I thought we did alright.”
The points champion in the slingshots was Ryder Raynard, in IMCA hobby stock was Leevi Runge, in IMCA sport mods was Robby Rosselli, in IMCA stock car was Jeremy Swanson and in the IMCA modifieds was Chris Hortness.
Swanson said the competition was tough all year in his category.
“There’s Joren (Boyce) and Cody Nelson and (Devon) Gonas and Gregg Mann,” said Swanson. “Lots of guys who are really good at this. But it was a good year.”
Swanson, who also won the title in 2016, rolled one night and had vehicle issues on another night but he was able to get things right in his No. 68 enough for a season title.
“That’s what we do. That was my 19th season, so we’re pretty good at fixing stuff and I’m pretty good at wrecking it… That’s what we do and we enjoy it.”
After a few years away form the Estevan Motor Speedway track, Rosselli won the sport mods in the first year it was back in Estevan, winning every race along the way.
“(There was) a lot of time and preparation throughout the week, making sure the maintenance is up,” said Rosselli. “Always looking for an inch or an advantage in every spot you possibly can and try to make the car perform better. You’ve got to be consistent and have your finishes.”
The year’s runners up and rookies of the year were also rewarded.
Runners up were Ty Saxon in the slingshots, Blake Penna in the hobby stocks, Rylan Raynad in the sport mods, Cody Nelson of the stock cars and Tyler Wagner in the modifieds.
Rookies of the year were Jorja Ashworth in the slingshots, Connor Hansen in the hobby stocks, Rylan Raynard in the sport mods, Gonas in the stock cars and Isaiah Geisel in the modifieds.
The 2018 Wall of Fame inductee was James Gustafson, who literally physically helped build the track two decades ago, and the volunteer of the year award went to Dave and Joyce Mack, a pair of longtime volunteers who still love to go to the track and help out in various aspects.
The live and silent auctions raised over $20,000, not including the ‘Humboldt Strong’ side panel on American Tim Dignan’s car that went for $3,400, which will be donated to the STARS Air Ambulance service.
“It’s kind of like a bittersweet thing because I get to see all the people from the whole year, and some of the people I won’t see until we start racing,” said Fichter.
The 2019 schedule won’t be out yet but Fichter said they are trying to organize something to be involved with the Rafferty Rumble coming to Estevan in the summer.