The first visit of the season from the Wilroc Lite Sprint cars along with the IMCA Modifieds and Bomber cars provided a good size crowd at Saratoga Speedway Saturday. The Columbia Fuels sponsored race night saw 13 Sprint cars making their way to the Black Creek oval, capping off the night with a 35 lap feature that saw Victoria’s Mike Haslem take the race lead on the 32nd lap then cruise to the win ahead of Mike Schott and Dave Emmerson. Haslem, whose dad Roy ranks among the best drivers to race in the northwest, almost didn’t make the main event as his car suffered brake issues on the warm up lap. With quick work by his pit crew that left him with only front brakes, he was able to return to the track at the rear of the field just as the green flag dropped. Nanimo’s Mike Schott held the lead for 24 laps before Haslem powered his way inside and left him to finish second in a race where 11 cars took the final flag. Campbell River’s Stewart Lee, racing in a borrowed car, was challenging for a top three finish until Emmerson would get past to leave him fourth. Black Creek’s Duanne Zeinstra battled throughout the race but couldn’t get close enough to challenge the top runners and finished fifth. In earlier Lite races, Victoria’s Brad Aumen won the lap trophy dash with heat race wins to Jim Miller and Haslem. The Lite cars make three appearances this season. The next race is July 29.
In Modified racing it was the Travis Stevenson show. The Campbell River racer dominated with wins in the trophy dash, heat and 25 lap main. He missed a clean sweep by three-hundredths of a second in qualifying to Courtenay’s Peter Muloin. With 11 cars taking the green flag in the main, Campbell River’s Ryan Monks took the race lead and held it for 14 laps before giving way to Stevenson, who built a big lead that disappeared over the final laps as rear-end issues slowed him. Chris Beaulieu neared his rear bumper at the checkered flag with Dano Bryant a close third behind. A good field of eight bomber cars provided three hotly contested races. Campbell River’s Boston Larsen won the trophy and 25-lap main ahead of Charlie Ackerman and Muarry Degraag. Chad Taks won the 10 lap heat.