The air may have been cold, but the racing action was hot at Eastbound Speedway on Father’s Day in Avondale.
On Sunday, between fiercely contested finals and equally thrilling qualifying races, fans were treated to exciting racing throughout four racing series, including the Outdoor Pros 75, featuring Division I NASCAR drivers.
Wayne Walsh, the reigning Division I champion at Eastbound, swept both legs of the 75-lap top-series division, finishing ahead of Victoria Day weekend winner Ross Thorne and birthday boy Shannon Squires, who had to race hard with Shane Coffin for the third spot on the podium,
“Today, we got off the line well. Now the way it is, all the cars are equal, but once we got the line, it was tough to get past us,” said Walsh, who has been dubbed the "Flamin' Bayman."
“The cold didn’t bother the car. The tires stuck well, and we were able to drive it the way we wanted to.”
The most memorable happening of the day may have been the finish to the 30-lap final in the Atlantic Dodge Dealers Hobby Stock Division.
Fans in the grandstands all got to watch first-hand as the No. 16 car of Andrew Morgan, fighting for the victory, went wide off of Turn 4 and unfortunately ran out of real estate. His car hit the wall, jumped it and barrel-rolled several times before coming to a stop just past the start/finish line.
“I was going for the win, so I dove to the outside and this is what happened. When it started, I just closed my eyes and held on,’’ he said.
“I have rolled a car in the past on dirt, so I know how that felt, but nothing like this one. It was the worst by far.”
Fortunately for the driver from Carbonear, the safety devices he uses, coupled with the strength of the car meant he was able to unbuckle themselves, drop his window net and get out and wave to the crowd as he was not hurt in the accident.
“This car is junk. She’s done,” he said. “I have another at home ready to go, so I will be back for the next race.”
Shane Collins grabbed top spot in the race while Cody Lake and Mark Best were second and third, respectively.
In the opening 35-lap first segment, Walsh was first, Squires second and Thorne third.
In the Hanlon Realty US Legends Division, Michael Neary continued his dominance at his home track winning the 25-lap main event. That completed sweep of the day as he also finished first in the qualifying race.
Neary outhustled Justin Ronayne and Chad Lawrence for the top spot.
It was also a clean sweep in the MNR Performance Bandolero series for 2017 champion Owen Groves as his No. 9 machine ran away from the field in both the 20-lap final and 10-lap qualifying event.
Nick Codner of Torbay and Sarah Thorne of Chance Cove were second and third, respectively.
Walsh said it was a great day with the victory and a good points day as he looks to repeat his championship from 2017.
Walsh, who builds his own cars at his shop in C.B.S., is looking like a force to be reckoned with as he continues to build on his championships success from last year,
He raced well during the Victoria Day weekend finishing just behind Josh Collins and Ross Thorne, who traded wins in the two legs.
“We had a good car in the first race. It worked well everywhere we drove it,’’ said Walsh
Thorne, winner of the season-opening race on Victoria Day weekend, thrilled the crowd with his late race restart that propelled him to second place.
When the green flag dropped, the car ahead of him didn’t go so he dodged to the inside making it three wide, and he was able to complete the pass heading into Turn 1 to put him in second place, a spot he wouldn’t relinquish.
“When that car didn’t go, I had to make it three wide. It is normally not enough space, but it worked,” he said. “We were running on old tires and we didn’t have enough left in them to catch the leader.
“(But) I am happy with the car. My crew did a great job for me today.”
For Thorne, he said it was also a great points day for his No. 16 team and a great way to celebrate Father’s Day.