Parity At An All-Time High With Brighton’s Canadian Modifieds

Andrew Hennessy and Dan Ferguson race in to turn three at Brighton Speedway during the 2015 season. Rod Henderson photo.

BRIGHTON (April 21, 2016) – Brighton Speedway’s 49th season of racing is just nine days away with the campaign set to kick off at the Monster Energy Season Opener presented by UCB Radio Canada on April 30. The RUSH Pro Late Models, Bainer’s OilGARD Canadian Modifieds, Brighton Automotive Pro Stocks and Bill’s Johns Comp 4s will all be in action to start the season.

The Canadian Modified division brings arguably the greatest level of parity. Six different drivers claimed wins in 2015, the most of any division at the track. The championship came down to the final night as Andrew Hennessy’s fifth win of the season handed him his second division championship (the first was in 2008). Hennessy, however, faces an increasingly hungry group of drivers in his title defense.

Hennessy’s five wins tied championship runner-up Dan Ferguson for the most by a Canadian Modified driver. His 15 top-five and 17 top-ten finishes were tops in the division and the difference that led to his 2015 title. Hennessy is also armed with a new car for the new season, but it won’t be an easy accomplishment to repeat.

Eight drivers started all 18 Canadian Modified races last season and 12 made at least 16 starts, meaning Hennessy will face the most competition of any driver looking to retain a title. Chief among them is Ferguson, a four-time champion himself.

Ferguson, a Picton native, has finished second in the championship standings the last three seasons after a run of three consecutive championships from 2010 to 2012. Ferguson’s statistics are identical the past two seasons: five wins, 13 top-fives and 16 top-tens. Perhaps an addition to any of the three categories will return him to the promise land.

Napanee pilot Doug O’Blenis will feature a new look on his No.32 car this year. If the new look brings improvements on the racetrack, the rest of the field is in tough. O’Blenis finished third last season with four wins to his credit and 16 top-ten finishes, tying Ferguson for second most. It’s hard to be any more consistent than O’Blenis was last year, but if he can improve on 13 top-five finishes in 18 starts, look out.

Curtis King was easily the biggest surprise of the 2015 season. King didn’t post a top-five finish in 2014, but not only claimed seven top-fives last season, the Wooler driver drove to two victories and a fourth-place finish overall. Another year of exponential growth could see King challenge the lead trio for a spot on the podium at season’s end.

Rookie-of-the-year Josh Hennessy was impressive in his debut season as he earned a fifth-place finish. Hennessy was in good equipment after acquiring Ryan Scott’s 2014 championship car. Nonetheless, the younger Hennessy brother learned quickly on the job and claimed an impressive eight top-five finishes. It’s not far fetched to expect Hennessy in victory lane this year.

Kraig Handley made his return to weekly competition in 2015 after putting racing on the backburner one year prior. Handley was a weekly threat to challenge for the win and has 10 top-fives in his last 19 starts. Expect more of the same this year.

Perhaps one of the biggest dark horses this year is Trenton native Shawn Gregory. The 2006 division champion, Gregory stepped away from racing for a handful of years before getting his feet wet again in a Pro Stock in 2014 and returned to Canadian Modified action in 2015. Gregory looked particularly strong towards the end of the season when he earned a win in August. Keep an eye on the No.1 car to make a charge up the standings after a seventh-place result last year.

Adam Whaley, Warren Mowat and Mitch Rosborough completed the top-ten in the championship standings last year. Whaley will be eager to get back to victory lane after last winning in 2014. Mowat, meanwhile, looks to take a step forward from his pair of top-five finishes last season. Rosborough, who started 15 events last year, progressed well in his second season of Canadian Modified racing with three top-five tallies.

At the time of publication, 2015 Comp 4 champion Shelby Mills is the only rookie registered in the Canadian Modified division. Mills will face the challenge of switching from front to rear-wheel drive head on in her debut season.

Other drivers to watch include Mike Lucas, who missed a handful of events last season for personal reasons, veteran Dan Insley, sophomore driver Darrell Toms, and third-year pilot Derek Bowers. Look for each driver to continue his progress this season.

The curtain raises on the 2016 Bainer’s OilGARD Canadian Modified season on April 30 at the Monster Energy Season Opener presented by UCB Canada. Admission is just $2 with donation of a non-perishable food item to the Brighton Fare Share Food Bank on race day. Racing starts at 7:00pm.

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About RUSH Late Model Racing: The RUSH Dirt Late Model Series sanctions weekly crate late model racing at 14 dirt tracks in five U.S. states (Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) and one Canadian province (Ontario). The weekly series boasts a points fund of over $27,000. The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series will host 18 events in 2016. The tour will visit 13 different racetracks in three states (New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania) and Ontario while awarding $5000 to the tour champion and paying down the top 12 positions. Overall, the RUSH Dirt Late Model Series will put $170,000 in cash and contingencies directly in to the hands of local racers.

RUSH Late Model marketing partners include: Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, Bazell Race Fuels, MSD Ignition, Maxima Racing Oil, Jones Racing Products, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, ARbodies, The Brake Man, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, TurboStart, Beyea Headers, FK Rod Ends, Bobby Lake Motorsports, Crate Innovations Inc., Velocita-USA, High Gear Speed Shop,, B.R.A.K.E.S.,, and Valley Fashions.

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 Transmission & Auto, Bellevue Fabricating Ltd., Bicknell Racing Products, Bill’s Johns, BJ McColl Fams, Bonn Law, Boyer Chevrolet Napanee, Brighton Automotive, Brighton KOA Campground, Brighton Recycling, Budweiser, Campbellford Chrysler, Canadian Energy, Canadian National Autism Foundation, CANEX, Classic Hits 95.5, Classic Rock 107.9, 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, Humber Nurseries, Hotch’s Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tire, Motorsport Designs, JJ Stewart Motors, John’s Equipment, Jones Automotive, KD Transmission, Kiwanis Club of Trenton, 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, My FM 100.9/93.3, Mystical Distributing, NecksGen Head and Neck Restraint, NOCO Fuels, Owasco RV, Part Source, Peter’s South End Garage, 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, Sunoco Racing Fuels, 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 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

Photo Credit: Rod Henderson