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Hornets create a buzz at Saratoga Speedway for 2022 season opener

By Pat Monsigneur
The Saratoga Speedway 2022 racing season kicked off Saturday, April 30. Photo by Doug Waller

By Pat Monsigneur

Special to Black Press

Saratoga Motorsports Park kicked-off the Speedway’s 2022 race season with a bang, all thanks to the sponsorship of Robbins and Company Chartered Professional Accountants.

Opening night at the Black Creek oval couldn’t have been more successful from the perfect spring weather to the impressive numbers of race enthusiasts young and old who came to witness exciting on-track action and listen to Hall Of Fame track announcer Rocky Horne make the calls.

The venue introduced a new “designated seating” format and an improved visitor-parking process, which had immediate positive impact on spectator comfort as the new Saratoga Speedway team continues to improve event operations. The first home-track hero event of 2022 featured an impressive field of Kyte Delivery Systems Hornet “A” and “B” cars and the return of the Sunwest RV Centre Crash to Pass warriors. Victoria’s “Capital Drift” demo team put on a memorable performance and kept the fans on their feet as their cheering eventually overpowered the horsepower!

Race qualifying saw a new track record set in the Sunwest RV Centre Crash to Pass class. It took atwo2-car shootout to decide the racing order when Erik Jessen and Sheldon Hopp put up equal lap times of 18.271 in the first round. Speedway officials called for a 3/8-mile heads-up dual that resulted in Erik Jessen marking a record-setting 18.096.

One of the race-format improvements for 2022 is the “Competition Transfer,” which provides the top six racers in the Kyte Delivery Sytems Hornet “B” feature race an option to join the Hornet “A” field for their feature race to see if they have what it take. Apparently they do; Brandon Hopp son of one of the night’s CTP dualist: Sheldon Hopp, took his chance to walk on the wild side. The “B” racer was rewarded with not only a double payout for his efforts but a second-place finish and the trophy to go with it.

Opening night’s first place winners were: Sunwest RV Center Crash to Pass: Sheldon Hopp, Kyte Delivery Hornet “A”: Boston Larson, and the Hornet “B”: Brandon Hopp.

The night’s first “bang” occurred late in the program when a pair of highly modified BMWs owned and driven by Mika Leong and his Capital Drift team mate Quinten Erichson joined up on the front stretch for a clinic in high-horse power tire-popping thunder that pegged the excitement meter to max. Erichson denies that there is a tire shortage and boiled both rear skins until they expired with a satisfying bang. Leong not to be outdone absolutely disappeared in his own cloud until the glow of his exhaust headers gave him away through the haze leading to a minor fire, which was immediately extinguished by an official.

All the fun and excitement set the stage for a spectacular display of colour and sound that put a smile on everyone’s face as Don McCauly of “AFA Fireworks” lit the night up in a grand finale to remember.

Racing action continues next week when another instalment of ‘Home Track Heroes’ take to the oval with the VIROC iMods, and Ace Brewing Company Bombers both battle for double points, and the Kyte Delivery Hornets come back for round two.