The 2012 racing season continues to wind down as more racetracks held their final shows of the season this past weekend and several more champions were crowned north of the border.
The Brockville Ontario Speedway in Quebec held the final races of the DIRTcar 358-modified and pro stock series on the tiny 1/3-mile d-shaped track. Rochesterâ€˜s Danny Johnson won the 100-lap battle but Cortlandâ€˜s Dale Planck won the war while a former champion went out on a high note as he gets ready for a move up in 2013.
Johnson moved around local legend Stephane LaFrance on lap 21 and held off Syracuse winner Brett Hearn early on and surging North Country driver Billy Dunn in the
closing laps for his third win this year on the series.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Iâ€˜m very fortunate to have a great hot rod here at the end of the season,Ã¢â‚¬ Johnson said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Itâ€˜s a phenomenal hot rod, thatâ€˜s all I can tell you. Itâ€˜s the same car that we ran here last year and won with, so itâ€˜s a proven piece for us.Ã¢â‚¬
Planck also had a great hot rod but knew he was in trouble early as the track changed to a hard, rubber-down condition and began to eat up tires. So he decided to pit on lap 31 to change tires even though he came into the race with enough of a point lead where his finish didnâ€˜t matter.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I figured that at the end at least my tires would have 30 less laps on it than everyone else,Ã¢â‚¬ Planck explained, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The restarts were real good, because it seemed like I could get a good start on the outside with the fresh tires. And then at the end I saw myself fifth on the board, and I was just hanging on, just happy to see myself finish fifth with the car in one pieceÃ¢â‚¬
On Friday night at Brockville, Quebecâ€˜s Stephane LeBrun held off defending champion Joey Ladouceur to win the 50-lap DIRTcar Pro Stock Series finale for his first-ever win on the series.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel very happy,Ã¢â‚¬ the French speaking LeBrun said through an interpreter, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The car was running good, I thank my pit crew and my family for everything, and Brockville for having this.Ã¢â‚¬
Ladouceur had to finish eighth or better to wrap up the championship and he came from ninth to second in a hurry while dodging an early wreck on lap 24 that ripped a fender off his car. Once in second, he then decided to curb his aggression and think about the big picture.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wasnâ€˜t willing to take too many chances.Ã¢â‚¬ Ladouceur said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was going at it conservatively ... cautiously aggressive,Ã¢â‚¬
Now Ladouceur will say goodbye to the stock car world as he is purchasing one of his dadâ€˜s modifieds and turning it into a sportsman with the goal of following that open-wheel series in 2013.
Steve Poirier ended his season as it began with a win in the Patriot Sprint Tour finale at Brockville. It was his third victory of his shortened season as he missed
several races because of a mid-season knee surgery. Auburnâ€˜s Bryan Howland was second while Constantia native Jason Barney was third.
New Jerseyâ€˜s Ryan Godown beat Danny Johnson for the win Friday night as the Penn Can Speedway held King of the Can Weekend. Joey Grammes, Billy Decker and Stewart
Friesen rounded out the top five.
Tim Fuller picked up his first win with his new late-model team and it was a big one as he won Ã¢â‚¬Å“The UltimateÃ¢â‚¬ at Hesston Speedway in Hesston, Pennsylvania. The win for Fuller was worth $10,000.
This weekend, Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown hosts the Super DIRTcar Series as part of the three-day Eastern States Weekend while Black Rock Speedway in
Dundee runs the Dutch Hoag National Open on Saturday with a big-block/small-block shootout headlining the six-division show there.