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Bennett Plans To Go Full Throttle At Varney

Bennett Plans To Go Full Throttle At Varney

By Clayton Johns - Big waves were made in the Ontario racing community when Gord Bennett announced his purchase of Varney Speedway Motorplex on Monday.

The news quickly spread on social media after Bennett made the announcement on his personal Facebook page. He confirmed the purchase to Joe Chisholm on Racetime Radio (RTR) Monday night.

Bennett is a veteran driver on both dirt and asphalt. He raced a late model at Flamboro Speedway and a sprint car with the Southern Ontario Sprints last season.

Varney’s former owner, Kent Nuhn, thanked fans, staff, and drivers on the track’s Facebook page for their support during the family’s two-year ownership of the track.

No financial terms of the transaction have been made public.

The track will be renamed Full Throttle Motor Speedway, based on Bennett’s marketing company, Full Throttle. The change represents a new chapter for the speedway, Bennett said.

The biggest news the Cambridge, Ont. resident offered was a $50,000-to-win, triple-50 Pro Late Model race on August 31. A driver will have to win all three segments to take home the payday, he told RTR.

Six divisions will race regularly at the ¼-mile bullring about 90 kilometres north of Guelph. Race night will switch to Friday from the traditional Saturday, a wise attempt to avoid conflict with nearby Sauble Speedway.

Drivers in all divisions will compete under the rule package from any other Ontario track, but cannot combine rulebooks. Utilizing rules already in place is a smart and necessary decision with just two weeks before most tracks open for the season.

The decision could be a step towards a common set of rules between the province’s asphalt short tracks. Asphalt promoters need to take that page out of the dirt handbook. Perhaps this is Bennett’s way of bringing his dirt experience to the other side.

Bennett also told RTR he is adding an extra lane to the bottom of the track’s tricky turn four for this season. But the fix appears to be temporary. The front-stretch of the track will receive a makeover at season’s end and will be moved back 12-feet, said Bennett.

Changes to the layout of the racing surface and rules structure are a positive step. But there are a number of changes Bennett should consider to solidify the track’s future, assuming the financial support is available.

The sand and gravel lined pit area is in serious need of improvement. There aren’t enough concrete pads. The outdoor technical inspection needs to be updated and brought indoors. Asphalt needs to replace gravel laneways. Bennett has the space to make Full Throttle’s pit area the envy of the province. And he should.

If reinventing the track’s front straightaway is part of Bennett’s plan, the change will be more than a new floor plan. Moving the retaining wall 12-feet means the spectator grandstand will need to be moved. Here’s hoping they are torn down and replaced.

The existing structures have served their purpose well, but are outdated. At the very least, they are in need of a major face-lift. New grandstands that better suit a change in track design will help improve the fan experience.

New washrooms and concession stands will be essential to entertaining new fans. It’s a racetrack, so nobody is expecting a crystal chandelier. But the current facilities feature chipped paint, ugly plumbing, and crooked stalls. They need to be replaced.

The track has an automated transponder scoring system, but lacks a (working) scoreboard to relay information to fans. A scoreboard is a necessity in modern sport. Short-track racing isn’t any different.

A lack of ambition certainly won’t be Bennett’s problem. A $50,000 prize proves he has plenty. But Ontario’s newest promoter will have to do more than throw money at drivers to put Full Throttle among elite tracks.

These changes won’t happen over night, and many will take between three and five years to achieve. The diehard and dedicated Varney fan and driver base will continue to stream through the gates. That’s not going to change.

But the experience and appearance matters to the casual fan, to the skeptical driver. Bennett needs to please that group if he hopes to be successful in his newest adventure.

Regardless, Bennett’s first steps are good news for racing in Ontario. His fresh ideas bring new life to a track that would otherwise be closed. The road ahead is tough, but Bennett has the ability and the will to succeed.

The opinions reflected herein are solely those of the above commentator and are not necessarily those of Please direct comments or concerns to Clayton Johns @cjohnsmedia.


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Ontario Drivers Take Part In Border Wars

Ontario Drivers Take Part In Border Wars

Ontario drivers Brandon Watson, Dwayne Baker and Rick Brown all competed this past weekend at Toledo Speedway in Toledo, Ohio. Thank you to photographer James MacDonald from for sending us the attached photos and results.

Pos. St Car # Hometown Sponsor Laps Status
1 7 47 Brian Campbell Wyoming, MI Boyne Machine Company/Port City Racecars 150 Running
2 11 29 Anderson Bowen Suwanee, GA Copper Creek Hardware/Anderson Bowen Racing 150 Running
3 8 42 Chad Finley DeWitt, MI Lift Company 150 Running
4 4 77 Ross Kenseth Little Chute, WI Boyne Machine Company/Enterprise Iron & Metal 150 Running
5 27 2 Donnie Wilson Oklahoma City, OK Wilson Ford Parts/Oklahoma City Auto Works 150 Running
6 6 87 Nathan Haseleu Pardeeville, WI The Swiss Colony/ 150 Running
7 17 1 Cody Coughlin ® Delaware, OH JEGS Racing 150 Running
8 12 66 Steve Wallace Mooresville, NC P.B. Fabrication/ 150 Running
9 5 25 Derrick Griffin South Bend, IN Commonwealth Engineers Inc./T.J. Racing Lubricants 150 Running
10 14 72H Scott Hantz Angola, IN Great Lakes Helicopter/Top Speed Fabrication 150 Running
11 23 26 Rick Turner Yorktown, IN T.J. Racing Lubricants/McGunegill Engine Performance 149 Running
12 29 5C Alec Carll Grand Rapids, MI Greene Life Energy/Alec Carl Racing 149 Running
13 10 7 Paul Shafer Jr. ® Portage, IN Southlake Body/Maxim Powersports 149 Running
14 18 77E Jonathan Eilen Hampton, MN Eilen & Sons Trucking/TraLo Trucking 149 Running
15 28 39 Andrew Morrissey DeForest, WI Spring Green Health Mart/DMJ Trucking 149 Running
16 25 6 Brandon Hermiller Walker, MI H.S. Die & Engineering/VISI-TST Software 149 Running
17 30 5 Brett Robinson New Albany, IN Boot Scoot Bar & Grill/Monson Truck Line 149 Running
18 15 5J Casey Johnson ® Stoughton, WI Lein Acres/Hogan Farms 148 Running
19 22 58 Cardell Potter Camp Douglas, WI Advanced Compressor Technology/Seubert Calf Ranches 147 Running
20 3 91 Ty Majeski ® Seymour, WI Le Jeune Bolt/Ted Mannstedt & Son Inc. 144 Running
21 9 8 Eddie Hoffman Wheaton, IL Rack & Pinions 143 Running
22 20 131 Nick Gullatta North Canton, OH R&D Racing/Hawk Performance Brakes 134 Rear End
23 16 9 Brandon Watson ® Stayner, ONT Shear Metal Products/Royal Distributing 90 Engine
24 2 41 Donny Reuvers Dundas, MN Short Track Racing Experience/Apple Auto Group 70 Accident
25 26 97 James Swan Pell Lake, WI Elements by Hankscraft/Durham Hill Auto Sales 70 Accident
26 21 28 Ali Kern Fremont, OH Crown Battery/Eibach Springs 67 Clutch
27 1 01 Travis Braden Wheeling, WV West Virginia University/Braden’s A-1 Towing & Collision 47 Eletrical
28 19 51 Brandon Oakley Beavercreek, OH Dayton International Airport/ 41 Suspension
29 13 75W Chris Weinkauf Merrill, WI Jay Van Der Geest Cattle/Hartleben Custom Cropping 20 Suspension
30 24 76 Jason Weinkauf Merrill, WI Jay Van Der Geest Cattle/Hartleben Custom Cropping 2 Handling
Border Wars I – 7-Up 150
Toledo Speedway – Toledo, OH
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Lead Changes: 3; Lap Leaders: 01 Travis Braden 1-44, 47 Brian Campbell 45, 25 Derrick Griffin 46-68, 47 Brian Campbell 69-150. Margin of
Victory: 0.301 Seconds; Cautions: 8; Red Flag: 1; Did Not Start: 0 Dennis Strickland, 8X Boris Jurkovic, 4 Dalton Armstrong, 22 Chris Eggleston,
48 Dwayne Baker, 33 Wes Griffith Jr., 1N Nick Barstad, 43 Matt Kocourek, 75 Joel Theisen, 04 Matt Hall, 44 Rick Brown, 72 Tom Woodin.

Photos by James MacDonald
#44 Bradford, ON Rick Brown. Last in last chance race.
#48 Barrie, ON Dwayne Baker. Also failed to make the show.
#9 Stayner, ON Brandon Watson would have motor problems ending his day at lap 90.

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Engine Issues Hamper Impressive Performance for Brandon Watson in 7-UP 150

Engine Issues Hamper Impressive Performance for Brandon Watson in 7-UP 150

TOLEDO, OH- In his first visit to Toledo Speedway in 3 years, Brandon Watson weathered an up-and-down afternoon. The lone Canadian to qualify for the event, Watson fought an ill-handling racecar through the first 75 laps and was in the process of moving into the top-10 when engine troubles ended his afternoon early.

“I wasn’t really expecting that”, admitted Watson. “We were riding in 11th, on the outside trying to work our way up, just about to make a move for the top-10 and it caught us by surprise. The motor shut off, and we were done”.

The third-generation star opened up the afternoon timing in 16th quickest in a stacked 42 car field. A loose handling car made advancement difficult in the early stages of the event, with Watson working overtime to keep his ride under control.

“It was a bit of a rough feature for us”, explained the Stayner, ON youngster. “Right off the bat we were loose in and loose off, so I was battling that the whole race, just working hard to keep the tires on it and keep it smooth entering and exiting”.

A timely adjustment at the halfway break allowed Watson to make his way through traffic, including a highlight reel battle for 11th with ASA Midwest Tour veteran Jonathan Eilen before succumbing to mechanical difficulties on lap-90, ultimately settling for a 23rd place finish.

Despite a result that was in no way indicative of how good the team is, Watson was able to leave Toledo looking forward to Round #2 of the ARCA/CRA Super Series tour.

“We were working our way up, and it was an unfortunate way to end our night. But we’re getting more familiar with this car, working hard and I know we can keep on improving. We’ll get this engine back to McGunegill, prepare for Anderson and see if we can have some better luck there”.

Brandon Watson’s 2014 campaign is made possible thanks to support from Shear Metal Products, Royal Distributing, Barrie Frame & Alignment, The Smart Exchange and Knightworks Designs. Additional packages are still available.

Brandon will return to action with the ARCA/CRA Super Series on April 26th at Anderson Speedway in Anderson, Indiana.

Be sure to visit for the team’s complete 2014 schedule, and check out Brandon Watson Racing on Facebook for exclusive behind-the-scenes photos as the team prepares for the ‘Anderson 125’.

By Spencer Lewis (@itsspencerlewis)

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Derek Lynch Commits to Kawartha Speedway’s Grassroots Racing Series

Derek Lynch Commits to Kawartha Speedway’s Grassroots Racing Series

Grassroots Racing Series Media 

The spring, summer and fall of 2014 will be an exciting time for Derek Lynch.  The 42 year-old Warkworth, Ontario resident will be part of the ground breaking Grassroots Racing Series at Kawartha Speedway.

A former General Manager and Promoter of the Fraserville, Ontario facility, the second generation wheelman last turned a lap at the 3/8th mile asphalt oval during the 2012 campaign when he piloted Bryan Watts’ #61 Chevrolet Impala in a torrid fender-to-fender fray with eventual track champion Dan McHattie.  Lynch says he’s anxious to get back behind the wheel at the track where he watched others race for 9 years.

“I really enjoyed the race with Dan on the final night of 2012,” confessed the driver.  “It was a great way to wrap-up my 9 year tenure at the speedway and served as a reminder of how competitive we had always been there.”

Lynch ran a handful of shows on the American-Canadian Tour during 2013, but this will be the first time he has taken a run a point championship in a number of years.  Although he has raced regularly over the past decade, Derek Lynch chose to never run at the facility he promoted due to conflict of interest concerns.  Competing at Kawartha with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, he posted top 5 finishes and was a frequent winner at the Fraserville, Ontario speedplant in Super Late Model contests before beginning his term as manager.

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of getting back on the track this season and wish Andrew McFadden and his team the best of luck.”

When the year’s first green flag flies, the 1994 Oxford 250 champion, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race winner (Cayuga Speedway, 2007) and former American-Canadian Series and NASCAR Grand National North runner – who has raced at 70 different speedways in the United States and Canada – will steer his #15 Dodge Charger by Howe Racing Enterprises, with backing from long-time supporters Hasiuk Trailer & Container Rentals, J.J. Stewart Motors, Apsley Peterborough Transport and Trent Hills Self Storage.  On the opening night of Kawartha Speedway’s 2014 campaign, Derek Lynch will begin his 29th year of competition in stock cars, with 4 years of karting experience before that.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible people associated with my racing program throughout the years,” said Lynch.  “I have been supported in so many different ways and it makes the experience so much more positive when you’re working with folks that you enjoy and believe in what you do.  I hope most of them can get to Kawartha this season and watch the show.”

Derek Lynch is the latest driver to join the Late Model division roster that includes former track champions Dan McHattie and Chris Morrow, along with Ryan Kimball, Dave Morgan, Linc Brown, Bryan Mercer and Kyle Donaldson, who have all scored main event victories at the popular Fraserville, Ontario oval.

The Grassroots Racing Series kicks-off its inaugural campaign with an open practice session Friday, May 16th.  Green flag racing – with Late Models, Thunder Cars, Mini Stocks, 4Fun and Legends – takes the spotlight for the first of 8 events Friday, June 6th.  The complete schedule can be found by visiting

Photo attachment:  Derek Lynch collection

Warkworth, Ontario’s Derek Lynch will join a stellar field of Late Model competitors who have announced plans to run the 8 event Grassroots Racing Series this season at Kawartha Speedway.

Prepared by:  Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media


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Peterborough Speedway’s 2014 Lid-Lifter is Coming Up Fast

Peterborough Speedway’s 2014 Lid-Lifter is Coming Up Fast

By Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media 

The winter that wouldn’t end is dead, buried and gone.  Spring has arrived and another season of action on Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Paved Oval is just over a month away.  Excited race fans throughout Central Ontario are counting the days until Peterborough Speedway’s 2014 opening night.

The place will be packed to the rafters when things kick-off for the new campaign with the Country 105 season opener – featuring free spectator grandstand admission – Saturday, May 17th.  Pit gates open at 2:00, with grandstands unlocked at 4:00 and the year’s first green flag at 6:00.  Track owner/promoter J.P. Josiasse says the first show of the season is always the culmination of a lot of hard work through the winter months.

“We’re running wide open starting a couple of days after the final checkered flag of Autumn Colours,” said Josiasse.  “There has always been the misconception that we lock the gates in October and open them up again in May, but that’s far from the case.  We might not always be at the track, but that doesn’t mean we’re not working on scheduling, putting together sponsorship packages and taking care of registration for some new drivers and teams.  Getting things ready for the next season is a full time job all its own.”

When the first green flag flies, fans will see some familiar faces in different places.  2013 Thunder Car point runner-up Matt Spence will be part of the Late Model field.  The Bailieboro, Ontario speedster acquired a car from former track champion Bryan Sudsbury and will revert to #92, the same number he campaigned earlier in his career at the track.  Amanda Connolly – a former race winner on the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series and 2009 Peterborough Late Model champion – will slide into the Late Model ride vacated by her fiancé Kelly Balson’s move to the OSCAAR Outlaw Super Late Model, taking her #16 to the potent DMR Chevrolet.  Balson will return to his familiar stomping grounds when the popular series visits Saturday, August 2nd, Saturday, August 30th with the Touring Chase for the Colours pole qualifying and October 11th and 12th during the 22nd Annual Autumn Colours Classic.

Fans can see some of the cars from Peterborough Speedway and pick-up a 2014 track schedule during this year’s racing preview event – Monday, April 28th to Sunday, May 4th – at Lindsay Square.  Depending on personal schedules, some of the track’s drivers could also be on hand to talk about their machines and sign autographs.  Track officials will also have some exciting news to release about this year’s season in the weeks to come.

Peterborough Speedway’s 2014 campaign takes the green flag with the Country 105 Season Opener – with free spectator grandstand admission – Saturday, May 17th.  Fans will enjoy a full night of racing, plus an on-track autograph session.  Gates open at 4:00, with racing at 6:00.  There will also be Toonie Admission nights – presented by Pepsi – Saturday, May 31st, July 19th and August 16th.  Grandstand gates open at 5:00, with the first heat race rolling from the staging area at 6:00.

The highlight of every agenda at Canada’s Toughest 3rd of a Mile Oval is the annual running of the Autumn Colours Classic, presented by Lucas Oil Products.  This year’s edition hits the track October 10th, 11th and 12th.

Fans can always find the latest news at or following the track on Facebook or Twitter.  You can also download the free Peterborough Speedway app on your Smartphone.

Photo attachment:  Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media

After finishing 3rd in the final 2013 Mini Stock point standings, Ryan Babin (#89) is looking forward to the new campaign at Peterborough Speedway.  Canada’s Toughest 3d of a Mile Paved Oval opens for 2014 Saturday, May 17th.

Prepared by:  Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications/First Draft Media

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