Van Es’s strong qualifying run lost in early crash

For the second event in a row, Ron Van Es was involved in an early-race incident that ended his run prematurely. This time, the result was all the more frustrating given that the crash took place just 72 laps into the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Van Es and his #11 Chevrolet entered the next-to-last race of the season with high hopes after posting the sixth-fastest time during qualifying for the 300-lap chase around the newly rebuilt Riverside International Speedway, but his day was cut short when he tangled with another driver less than one-third of the way into 300-lap contest. “We didn’t make it to the finish line today (Sept. 16), so that’s frustrating and disappointing,” said Van Es, who races with associate sponsorship from Marshall Truck & Trailer Repair, Ingersoll Rand, G.P.I.C.S. Truck & Trailer Parts, Tailgate Headquarters and Mustang’s Bigol’ Grill.

“We worked hard in practice and we had a really good car. The crew was just awesome. During practice, we got in almost 150 laps just trying to get the car handling right. The adjustments (crew chief) Alex Nagy made worked perfectly and we were looking forward to time trials and the race. We had a good qualifying run and it felt really good at the start of the race even though I gave up a few spots. My car had a bit of trouble early coming up off the bottom, out of the turns.”

The Stoney Creek resident was looking forward to his first pit visit so that his team could tweak their car’s handling when disaster struck. “We were just riding it out, waiting for a pit stop when we could make some more adjustments. Unfortunately, it never happened. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I know that Ron Beauchamp and I touched rear wheels. It seems to be a problem with these cars that when that happens, it just rips the rear trailing arm bracket out and that’s what ended our day.”

Van Es was scored in 20th-place in the final results.

The Van Es team didn’t waste any time in working on the dame as they prepared for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season finale at Kawartha Speedway, near Peterborough. “There’s quite a bit of damage under the car, but I’m sure we’ll have it back in shape for Kawartha,” said Van Es. “We’ll straighten the rear end out and we’ll be there. Our goal will be to finish the season with a good run and set our sights on next season.”

Veteran stock car racer Mark Dilley won Sunday’s NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race at Riverside. He overcame running out of fuel two-thirds of the way into the race to finish in front of J.R. Fitzpatrick and DJ Kennington. Stock car rookie Andrew Ranger heads to Kawartha Speedway with a 41-point lead over Kennington in the chase for the inaugural NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points championship.