Baldwin First To Two; Earns Campbellford Chrysler Driver of the Week

Steve Baldwin became the first Pro Late Model driver to win two features this season. (Rod Henderson photo).

By Clayton Johns

BRIGHTON, Ont. (June 16, 2106) – Steve Baldwin became the first driver to win two feature races in the Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Model division when he led 24 laps and collected the checkered flag last Saturday night. Bladwin’s explosive performance so far this season has earned him Campbellford Chrysler Driver of the Week.

Baldwin, 44, struggled through the 2015 season, going winless on the year. Several long hours over the course of the winter appear to have rectified any problems.

“Last year was the first year on this chassis. It’s a little different. There were some issues we found this winter that were worse than we thought,” Baldwin explained.

“Everything we did was on the front of the car. One of my problems last year was the front end bottoming out through the corners. Now, not only do I not have to worry about it bottoming out, it makes the car easier to drive,” Baldwin continued.

The changes have resulted in two wins, four top-fives and six straight top-10 finishes in six starts so far this year. Entering this week’s competition, Baldwin sits tied for second in the championship standings, just five points off the lead held by Brandon Mowat.

“I can’t believe we’ve been able to get two wins so early in the season when last year I couldn’t have bought a win,” Baldwin said, adding he’s impressed with the respect in the ultra-competitive division this year. “If I had started on the pole last year and everybody else started a lap down, I still probably wouldn’t have won. Hopefully we can keep it up. I’m happy to be in the top-five every week, that’s my goal.”

The Trenton, Ont. pilot will focus his efforts almost exclusively on Brighton Speedway this season, but may factor in a few trips to select events at other tracks. It’s been a long road for the Quinte Tire Craft manager to reach this point.

“My grandfather had cars before I was born, so I always heard the stories growing up. My dad drove for him. He had three cars at one time that they raced at Brighton Speedway, Riverview and all over,” Baldwin detailed.

His first involvement in motorsports was radio controlled racing with 1/10-scale NASCARs, travelling as far as North Carolina to compete. He did so until this past winter, when he decided to focus his effort exclusively on his dirt Late Model program.

Next came Baldwin’s need to fulfill his speed as a driver, which he achieved through drag racing. Racing a 1988 Mustang and 1969 Camaro, Baldwin’s drag car doubled as his street car.

“My goal was always to race on an oval and on dirt. It started off easier for me to drag race because, back in the day, I had a car I drag raced and that I could drive to work. I had an old clunker to back me up in case I broke the drag car,” Baldwin said with a laugh.

“I didn’t need a truck or a trailer. Eventually it got to the point where I thought that if I don’t do it soon, I’m going to miss the boat.”

He jumped on the boat in 2011, buying a Rocket car from South Buxton Raceway pilot Andrew Rheaume. Baldwin spent the season building his own car while crewing for fellow racer Adam Nayler. He already had a firm understand of automotive technologies, but dirt Late Models offered different challenges.

“I spent the 2011 season working on Adam Nayler’s crew, not only because I like it, but I didn’t know a lot about the cars,” Baldwin said. “Not only was it a lot of fun working on his car, it was a lot of help to me. When I started working on my own car, I already felt comfortable.”

Baldwin began competing at Brighton in 2012 and has continued through to his recent success. At one time, he contemplated making the 2016 season his last. That plan has changed, however, and he has already begun working on sponsorship for the 2017 season with his crew. Regardless of the car and whether the track is a straight quarter-mile or a one-third mile oval, it’s the people and the community which have kept Baldwin involved.

“It’s sport. At certain times in sport, we’re all fixated on what we’re doing, but you get to meet so many people. It’s a lot of fun to be around those people because they have common interests,” Baldwin explained perfectly.

His goal this year was to earn a win. Check. Now, he’ll inevitably chase his first championship. It will be a chase worth watching. The chase will continue on Saturday, June 18 when the Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Models return to action alongside the Southern Ontario Sprints. Adult admission is just $20. Race time is 7:00pm. See brightonspeedway.ca for complete event details.

WINNERS TO DATE

Vanderlaan Building Products Pro Late Models: 2 – Steve Baldwin (May 21, June 11); 1 – Phil Potts (April 30); 1 – Adam Turner (May 14); 1 – Charlie Sandercock (May 28); 1 – Tyler Rand (June 4)

Bainer’s OilGARD Canadian Modifieds: 2 – Andrew Hennessy (May 28, June 4); 1 – Dan Ferguson (April 30); 1 – Doug O’Blenis (May 14); 1 – Curtis King (June 11)

Brighton Automotive Pro Stocks: 2 – Justin Ramsay (April 30, June 4); 2 – Doug Anderson (May 21, June 11); 1 – Wade Purchase (May 14); 1 – Brandon Murrell (May 28)

Bill’s Johns Comp 4s: 4 – Tyler French (April 30, May 14, May 28, June 4), 1 – Adam Flieler (May 21); 1 – Josh Read (June 11)

Quinte Septic Super Stingers: 2 – Chris Lammle (May 28, June 11); 1 – Rick Phillips (May 14);

Quinte Septic Junior Stingers: 1 – Chantel Golden (May 14); 1 – Brittany Golden (May 28); 1 – Willy Bolton (June 11)

Southern Ontario Sprints: 1 – Mitch Brown (May 21 – Brighton Speedway), 1 – Ryan Susice (June 5 – Humberstone Speedway)


Vanderlaan Building Products Ltd.: Located in Brighton, Ont., Vanderlaan Building Products is committed to the highest levels of construction. Vanderlaan offers high quality installation services on building products from over 20 suppliers, including North Store vinyl windows. Visit them at 13 Loyalist Drive in Brighton, online at www.vanderlaanbuilding.com, or call them at (613) 475-3684.

Boyer Nissan Belleville: Belleville Nissan was opened in 2009 by the Boyer brothers, Michael & Peter. The Boyer Auto Group was founded in 1981 with Michael Boyer opening his first GM store in Apsley, Ontario. The Boyer Auto Group now includes six dealerships with great brands like Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Kia, Mazda and Belleville Nissan- the newest member of the Boyer Auto Group family. Stop by www.bellevillenissan.com for more information.

Sanderson’s Tire and Automotive: Sanderson Tire & Automotive is a family owned and operated automotive tire and repair centre located in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Sanderson Tire & Automotive is a proud supporter of the Southern Ontario Sprints at Brighton Speedway.

Brighton Speedway Newsletter: Sign-up for the Brighton Speedway newsletter and get all speedway information delivered straight to your email inbox! Get track news, information, and updates directly to your email twice a week. It takes just two minutes to sign-up. Click here to get started!

Brighton Speedway Social Media: Follow Brighton Speedway’s Official Social Media Accounts.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BrightonSpdwy

Twitter: @BrightonSpdwy

Instagram: @BrightonSpdwy

Brighton Speedway’s 2016 season is proudly supported by the following corporate sponsors: ABC Taxi, Adecco, AeCON, Bainer’s OilGARD Anti-Rust, Battlefield Equipment Rentals, Bay Marine, Behan Construction, Belleville Boyer Nissan, Belleville Transmission & Auto, Bellevue Fabricating Ltd., Bicknell Racing Products, Bill’s Johns, BJ McColl Fams, Bonn Law, Boyer Chevrolet Napanee, Brighton Automotive, Brighton Recycling, Budweiser, Campbellford Chrysler, Canadian Energy, Canadian National Autism Foundation, CANEX, Classic Hits 95.5, Classic Rock 107.9 The Breeze, Coca-Cola, Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning, The Community Press, Cool 100, CSC Products, Davis Auto Repair, Deerhaven Farm and Garden, Dibbits Excavating, Eastern Overhead Doors, Electro Cables, Excel Tower Service, First Place Trailers, Gerow Propane, Gilmour’s Meat Shop, Gord’s Water, Greig Truck & Trailer, Hellraiser Race Bodies, Hewbrook Incorporated, Hits FM 95.5, Hotch’s Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire, Humber Nurseries, ImageFactor.ca Motorsport Designs, JJ Stewart Motors, John’s Equipment, Jones Automotive, KD Transmission, Kiwanis Club of Trenton, KOA Campground of Brighton, Krown Rust Control Trenton, Lange & Fetter Ford, Larry’s Towing, Leaf Racewear, Leclair Electric, Lester’s Hot Dogs, Lucas Oil, Maestro’s Painting, Mark Heating & Cooling, McDougall Insurance and Financial, Mix 97, Monacoe’s Hair Salon & Day Spa, Monster Energy, Motosports of Trenton, Muskoka Aircraft Refinishing My FM 100.9/93.3, Mystical Distributing, NecksGen Head and Neck Restraint, NOCO Fuels, Owasco RV, Part Source, Peter’s South End Garage, Qunte Mall, Quinte Septic, Rapid Rad, Read’s Accounting, REMAX (Saoirse Graham & Nicole Parks), ROCK 107, Rona Trenton, Sanderson Tire and Automotive, Stewart Electric, Stix & Stones Billiards, Stoneridge Specialty Insurance, Target Fabrication, TAS Communications, The Trentonian, Therapeutic Massage Centre, Towne and Country Liquidation, Turris Communications, UCB Radio Canada, Ultramar CST, Vanderlaan Building Products, Vandermeer Toyota, VanZuylen Tire and Alignment, The Vinyl Solution, Vito’s Restaurant, VP Racing Fuels and Workman’s OK Tire.

About Brighton Speedway: Brighton Speedway is a 1/3-mile clay stock car racing oval located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Brighton, Ont. The speedway hosts five weekly stock car divisions on Saturday nights from May to September. The weekly Pro Late Model division competes under RUSH Late Model Weekly Series sanctioning.

Brighton Speedway mailing address: 775 County Road 64, Brighton, ON, K0K 1H0.

Media Contact: Clayton Johns Media

claytonjohns@brightonspeedway.com

Photo Credit: Rod Henderson

www.canadianracer.com

Photo Attachment: Steve Baldwin became the first two-time Pro Late Model winner in 2016 last Saturday night at Brighton. (Rod Henderson photo).