Dan McHattie Ready to Chase an 8th Kawartha Championship

By Jim Clarke, Kawartha Speedway PR/Clarke Motorsports Communications


The display case in his basement already has trophies from 7 track championships in Kawartha Speedway’s NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model division, but Dan McHattie can think of only one thing.  Getting another.  The 35 year-old veteran racer from Cavan, Ontario loves adding to his hardware collection and with the 3/8th mile oval at Fraserville set to kick-off a new season Friday, June 1st McHattie is putting the finishing touches on the piece he’ll bring into battle for 2012.


“It’s essentially the same car we used last year, with some subtle changes in the suspension and some of the body panels,” said the mechanic at Kerr Industries in Oshawa.  “We tried some different ideas for the ACT Invitational last September and kept what worked to use this year.  The sport is constantly evolving and as strange as it might sound, sitting still will never help you go fast.  Sometimes you need to roll the dice if you want to get to the front of the pack.”


While many of the off-season changes Dan McHattie and his team made to the car are underneath the body panels, fans will notice the #71 JJ Stewart Chrysler/Uniglass Plus Ziebart/Sidey Auto Supply/ Barry McClennan Masonry/Douglas Automotive/Ontario Truck Training Academy/Corp Construction/Foxon Alternator and Starter Dodge Charger has been re-designed in a traditional, red and yellow paint scheme.  McHattie says that was also changed prior to the New Hampshire event and based on feedback from some of his long-time supporters.


“My cars have almost always been yellow and red,” said the old school racer.  “And for a couple of years – with Chevy Impala body panels – red and white.  The yellow nose and the number design on this year’s car is a throw-back to 2007.  People who’ve been by the shop in the past few weeks to see it have had some nice things to say.  I guess they just couldn’t get used to seeing me run a car that was only one colour.  Norm Mayhew at Mayhew Graphics did a great job getting things ready.”


With the level of talent already running in Kawartha Speedway’s headline division and the possibility of new drivers coming into the fray this season, McHattie understands that he’ll need to bring nothing short of his best effort every night to improve on his overall record of 28 main event wins and 71 top 5 finishes – let alone earn an 8th track title – but there could be strength in all the numbers.


“I have 7 track championships now.  That’s enough to give me one for each day of the week...but there’s a Beatles song called “Eight Days a Week”, isn’t there,” said McHattie with a chuckle.  “Then, look at the number on the side of the car.  ‘71’...7 plus 1 is 8, right?  It certainly won’t be easy, but I know it’ll be fun and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”


Kawartha klips:  There will be an open test day for NASCAR Canadian Tire Series teams at Kawartha Wednesday, June 6th.  The practice is open to the public with free grandstand admission...The Richard Petty Driving Experience Summer Tour returns to Kawartha Speedway Saturday and Sunday, July 14th and 15th.  See www.drivepetty.com/can-tour or call 1.800.237.3889 to book the High-Speed Ride Along or behind the wheel Rookie Experience.


Team supplied photo attachment:

Defending NAPA Auto Parts ACT Late Model track champion Dan McHattie will return to a traditional yellow and red paint scheme on his Dodge Charger for Kawartha’s 2012 season.


Prepared by:  Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications


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Story and Photos on Thunder Road driver Brett Wheeler

Story and photos by Leif Tillotson

It’s hard to imagine someone driving a race car in front of thousands of fans each week and going largely unnoticed, yet that is exactly where Waterbury Center, VT's Brett Wheeler and his Hallstrom Motorsports team find themselves most of the time.
There are better-funded race teams with much flashier drivers at Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre.  They grab headlines with wins and crashes, perhaps evening daring passes for position and maybe even an occasional bit of controversy. The driver of the #1 Late Model is not among this group.

With a solid ninth-place final points position in 2011, Brett Wheeler has proven that he belongs among “the big boys” at the track that bills itself as “The Nation’s Site of Excitement.”  Rather than muscle his way in front of his competitors, Brett is content to earn his place at the top by being a courteous, methodical and smart racer.

Traits like courtesy and smart racing are genetic to the Wheeler family. Brett’s brother Chad was the 2006 Late Model Champion at Thunder Road and rose to the title with much the same driving style that Brett now races with. Like Brett, Chad was a constant threat for wins while at the same time often “flying below the radar” when it came to newspaper headlines and fan attention.

The Wheeler presence extends to the crew chief role on the team as well. Troy Wheeler is Chad and Brett’s brother and was crew chief for Brett’s 2005 Riverside Late Model and Chad’s 2006 Thunder Road Late Model title. 

Brett’s racing career began in 1981 running motocross races.  Turning from 2 wheels to four behind the wheel of a Busch Grand National North car in 1984, Brett permanently took up stock cars beginning in 1988 with the Flying Tiger division at Thunder Road. 

In 1989 he raced a full season and earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Flying Tiger division.

Since 1989 Brett has raced primarily at Thunder Road and Riverside Speedway (in Groveton, NH). He was the 2005 Late Model Champion at Riverside Speedway and is also a winner at Thunder Road.  Brett has also competed in Late Model Sportsman events at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, New York, Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine and Sanair Super Speedway, in St. Pie, Quebec.

Louie Hallstrom had been a crewmember on Brett’s race efforts from 1986 through his championship season at Riverside in 2005. Before that he worked on the crews of Clem "Desperate" Despault and “Stormin” Norm Andrews. When Brett took a break from full-time racing starting with the 2006 season, Louie also stepped away from the sport for a while.

In 2009 Louie and his wife Lisa started Hallstrom Motorsports based out of Northfield, Vermont. After a brief period with a different driver, The Hallstroms put Brett behind the wheel of their race car midway through the 2010 season and have had him as their driver ever since. 

What makes the Hallstrom Motorsports team so different is how long they have been together. The majority of the team (including Brett) have been together for more than 20 years; a length of time almost unheard of in a sport with such high turnover for personnel.   Troy Wheeler serves as the crew chief,  Ken Goslant is the spotter and crew members include Todd Keller, Scott Guyette, Steve Grandfield, Henry Lavanway, Jeff Davis, Mike Burnor, Jonathan Davis and Mike Pendergast. 

The #1 Late Model finished in second place two times in 2011 as well as a third place and a ninth place final points finish in the twelve races that made up the Thunder Road weekly points season. While not receiving the same amount of attention as other drivers in the top 15 in points, Brett and the Hallstrom team definitely earned their position among the heavy hitters and modern-day Thunder Road legends.

 Maintaining a top-level race team does not come easily. It also does not come without a lot of help from sponsors. The team receives sponsorship help from Spherion Staffing Services, Army ROTC/Norwich University, New Horizons Screen Print & Embroidery, E.A. Grandfield Excavating, Depot Square Pizzeria, Texas Roadhouse and Hallstrom Excavating. Like most race teams, though, additional sponsorship is always being sought.

It certainly helps for the team’s budget that Brett’s smooth and smart driving style usually brings the car back in one piece at the end of the night. Having been around the sport for so long, Brett clearly races with the old racing adage “in order to finish first you must first finish” firmly in his thoughts.  This means that rather than having to spend time working on rebuilding the car, which is both expensive and time-consuming, the fact that Brett keeps the car mostly damage-free allows the team more time to work on fine-tuning their setup and looking for additional speed from their car.

For a top race team, it can be frustrating not to get as much press as other teams get.  “The team's accomplishments are often overlooked” says Lisa Hallstrom. “Brett tends not to create any waves, which is good, however he tends to blend in sometimes and not stand out.  Because he's not a "young gun" any longer, his consistency is often overlooked.”

Despite the fact that universal rules allow ACT-legal Late Models like the #1 Hallstrom car to race all over New England and Canada, the Hallstrom Motorsports team is devoted to Thunder Road.  “We've been asked to race many different series/tracks” says Lisa Hallstrom. “However, Louis is a firm believer that the competition is the greatest at Thunder Road and if you can win there, you've accomplished something.”

Don’t be surprised to find Brett Wheeler and the Hallstrom Motorsports team doing just that- -winning- -in 2012 and beyond. And even though the team does not have a Late Model championship at Thunder Road, expect them to continue being a consistent, quiet threat for the top spot not only on a weekly basis but also when it comes to season-ending “King of the Road” points.

Visit www.LeifTillotsonPhotography.com to view my photos and read my published articles

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Central Vermont Motorcycles Presents Final Spring Sunday Race at Devil's Bowl

ATTACHED PHOTO: Bond Auto Parts Modified racers Ron Proctor (#27), Leon Gonyo (#4), and Jessey Mueller (#19, black car next to #4) are looking to end Vince Quenneville, Jr.'s (#78) win streak at Devil's Bowl Speedway on Sunday afternoon.  (MemorEvents photo)


Final afternoon race before Friday summer schedule begins

For Immediate Release                      DBS-051612-1

 WEST HAVEN, VT – Central Vermont Motorcycles presents Devil’s Bowl Speedway’s final Sunday afternoon stock car race of the Spring season at 1:30pm on Sunday, May 20.  The event is the third round of the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series slate and will be the final tune-up for the all-new Friday night summer schedule, set to begin on May 25.


Bond Auto Parts Modified drivers will be gunning for Vince Quenneville, Jr., at the Central Vermont Motorcycles Trophy Dash on Sunday afternoon.  The Brandon, VT veteran grabbed his second victory in as many races at last week’s Mother’s Day Special, but has been tested by Leon Gonyo, Jessey Mueller, and defending track champion Ron Proctor every step of the way.  Gonyo, of Chazy, NY, was the Mother’s Day runner-up and Charlton, NY racer Proctor matched that mark at the season-opening 101.5 “The Fox” Spring Green on May 6; Mueller, 17, was third in both events.

Other Modified racers have stood out as well, including top rookie Joey Roberts of Georgia, VT.  Roberts has posted top-five finishes in each of the first two starts of his open-wheel career.  Alex Bell, Don Scarborough, Hunter Bates, and rookie Andy Smith have all been inside the top ten in both events.

Brent Dragon of Milton, VT snapped a three-year dry spell by winning the season’s first J&S Steel Late Model feature on Mother’s Day.  Craig Bushey and Matt White, first-year Devil’s Bowl racers who are expected to be championship contenders, finished on the podium, and Rutland, VT’s Kevin Elliott finished a solid fourth after leading laps.  Strong performances were also turned in by Dan Petronis of Mechanicville, NY, veterans Dennis Demers and Norm Andrews, and rookies Robert Bryant, Jr., and Danny Sullivan.

Frank Monroe of Granville, NY and Robert Gordon of Milton, VT will look to keep the close action going in the Renegade division.  Monroe nipped Gordon by eight-thousandths of a second to win last Sunday.  They’ll be tested by Jeremy Jones, Bill Duprey, Ryan Keith, and Randy Miller.

Like Quenneville in the Modifieds, Josh Masterson will try to keep his perfect streak going in the Bomber division on Sunday.  The Bristol, VT rookie has won the first two races of his career after challenges from Garry Bashaw, Ray Germain, Jr., and the always-exciting Harold LaVair.

General admission for the Central Vermont Motorcycles Trophy Dash on Sunday, May 20 is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (62+), and free for children 12 and under.  Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT, six miles north of Exit 2 on US Route 4.  For more information, call (802) 265-3112 or click www.devilsbowlspeedwayvt.com.


Contact: Justin St. Louis



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Steve Kearney: Understanding an Underdog

By Jim Clarke, Clarke Motorsports Communications


Steve Kearney knows his place in the pecking order.  Like the 75 or 80 other drivers who sign-in at the pit gate of Brockville Ontario Speedway on Saturday nights during the spring, summer and fall, Kearney shares a passion for the sport of stock car racing.  It’s not his profession; just a hobby.  The 41 year-old defines himself as a support division racer.  The grandstands aren’t always filled with fans when he and his fellow street stock runners take to the track, but every racecar driver – whether they’ve been part of the game for years or just starting out – has followers and they’ve all paid to see the show.


Originally from Athens – but now living in Brockville – Kearney started working on racecars when he was about 15 years old.  The machine he campaigns now began its life as a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass family grocery-getter that was transformed into a stock car by Doug Herbison, using a CSC main cage and a variety of handcrafted components.  Kearney says one of his biggest thrills is running a hard race but admits that there are other interests that sometimes keep him away from the track.


“My partner Patti and I have a blended family with 3 kids between us,” said Kearney.  “We all love the outdoors and look forward to our time together at the campground and fishing.  I’ve worked hard to build and maintain a racecar that runs competitively with the teams who are at the track every week and I’m sure if I went out of my way to attract sponsorship support for the car, I’d be right there with them, but that’s not really what I’m about.  I love racing, but I’m also trying to walk a fine line that’ll allow us to do a little bit of everything.”


For the 2012 season, Kearney – a process operator at 3M in Brockville – has come-up with an innovative idea that just might allow him to race and still spend some valuable time with his family.  The quarter panels of his #22 street stock carries the message ‘U Can Camp’, while ‘Rent My Trailer’ appears on the car’s hood.  He says the goal is to rent his travel trailer during the season to help off-set the cost of his racing program.


“Over the years, I’ve noticed some unusual sponsorship ideas.  Patti and I talked about this during the winter and thought we’d give it a try,” said Kearney.  “We don’t have a ton of money to throw around and whether or not it’ll be successful is hard to say.  It’s just like making changes to the racecar.  You never know what might help how the car handles or in this case, catch someone’s eye.”


Getting the car to the track is truly a family effort.  The driver’s father Mike and mother Sharon do their part; while Patti and her daughter Danielle and Steve’s kids Brandon and Brittany pitch-in to make the sure the car is detailed, clean and ready to race when it rolls onto the track.  A former recreational hockey player who traditionally wore #21, Kearney made the switch to #22 for his racing endeavours in an effort to make his luck behind the wheel a little better than it had been at the rink.


“I may have started a little bit later than some of the other drivers who are moving their way through the ranks and even though things aren’t always perfect, there isn’t too much I’d change,” said Kearney.  “I don’t feel the need to move into a different division or run the car harder than I should to pick-up another position on the track.  Having fun is what our team is all about and as long as we’re doing that, the #22 street stock will still be part of the show at The BOS.”


Photo attachment:  Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications

Steve Kearney’s freshly scrubbed #22 street stock made its 2012 debut Saturday, May 12th at Brockville Ontario Speedway.


Prepared by:  Jim Clarke – Clarke Motorsports Communications


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Série Sportsman Québec ISPEEDZONE propulsée par Lucas Oil: Levée de rideau sur la saison 2012 // The 2012 Championship opening race

Communiqué de presse           Pour diffusion immédiate


Série Sportsman Québec ISPEEDZONE propulsée par Lucas Oil:

Levée de rideau sur la saison 2012

du côté de l’Autodrome St-Eustache ce weekend

Québec, QC (15 mai 2012) – Après trois années d’absence, les pilotes de la Série Sportsman Québec ISPEEDZONE, propulsée par Lucas Oil, seront en piste à l’Autodrome St-Eustache (St-Eustache, QC) ce samedi 19 mai à compter de 17h00 pour la tenue de la première manche du calendrier 2012.

Press Release                     For Immediate Release


Sportsman Quebec ISPEEDZONE Series Powered by Lucas Oil :

The 2012 Championship opening race

at Autdrome St-Eustache this weekend

Quebec, QC (May 15 2012) – After a three year hiatus the Sportsman Quebec ISPEEDZONE Series Powered by Lucas Oil will return to Autodrome St-Eustache (St-Eustache, QC) this Saturday May 19 at 5pm for the first race on the 2012 Championship schedule.


Vingt-trois (23) pilotes ont confirmé leur participation à ce jour pour la finale de 75 tours qui sera présentée, sous les réflecteurs, grâce au financement par Lucas Oil et de M. Jacques Sigouin.  « Avec 23 pilotes de préinscrits pour cette course, l’action, l’émotion et la sensation devraient être au rendez-vous.  Le calibre des compétiteurs ne cesse de s’améliorer.  Les voitures sont plus belles que jamais.  Je suis convaincu que nous allons livrer tout un spectacle pour les amateurs de la grande région de Montréal » déclara M. André Poulin, président de la Série Sportsman Québec ISPEEDZONE.

En 2008, la dernière fois que la série itinérante avait pris part à une compétition sur le tracé de l’« ASE », c’est Simon Roussin de Québec qui avait remporté l’épreuve.  D’ailleurs, Roussin, double champion de la Série (2008, 2011) sera en piste pour tenter de renouer avec la victoire sur le tracé de 4/10-mile, situé en banlieue nord de l’île de Montréal.

La première manche de la Série Sportsman Québec ISPEEDZONE fait partie du programme de course où les voitures sportsman seront en vedette à l’Autodrome St-Eustache.  En plus de la Série Sportsman Québec ISPEEDZONE, l’autre finale pour voiture sportsman sera celle de la Série Masters qui alignera des voitures de la classe Sportsman ANCA de l’Autodrome St-Eustache et des Limited Late Models de la piste Airborne Speedway Park.

L’admission générale sera possible à compter de 14h30 au coût de 20$ par adulte, 10$ pour les 13 à 17 ans et gratuit pour les moins de 12 ans.  Du côté des puits, l’admission se fera à compter de 12h au coût de 25$.

– 30 –


Photo : Simon Roussin (No. 66) le champion 2008 et 2011 de la Série roule devant David Gagnon (No. 47) la recrue 2011.



Crédit photo: Simon Fiset –


Pour de plus amples informations, contactez :


Autodrome St-Eustache, 450-472-6222 ou sur l’internet au : www.autodrome.ca


André Poulin, Président Série Sportsman Québec, courriel : andre.poulin@sportsman.ca, 581-998-7388


Préparé par M.P. Roy, courriel : mproy@roy-motorsports.com, 514-907-1773 poste 35

Twenty three drivers (23) drivers thus far have confirmed they will compete in the 75-lap feature which will be ran under the lights and is made possible  by Lucas Oil and M. Jacques Sigouin.  “With 23 drivers pre-registered at this point door-to-door racing is guaranteed.  The caliber of competitors is constantly improving.  The cars are nicer than ever.  I am convinced that we will be providing great entertainment for the fans” declared M. Andre Poulin, Sportsman Quebec ISPEEDZONE President.

In 2008, the last time the Touring Series held a race at “ASE”, Simon Roussin of Quebec City won the race.  Roussin, a two-time Champion of the Series (2008, 2011) will be present with the firm intention of notching his belt with another win on the 4/10-mile short track located North of Montreal.

The Sportsman Quebec ISPEEDZONE Series 2012 Schedule kick-off is part of a Sportsman Festival held at Autodrome St-Eustache.  In addition to the Sportsman Quebec cars the Autodrome St-Eustache ANCA sportsman and the Airborne Speedway Park Limited Sportsman class will also be showcased.

General admission, 20$ per adult, starting at 14h30; 10$ for the 13 – 17 age group, while under 12 admission is free.  Pit access will begin at 12h and the fee will be of 25$.

– 30 –


Photo: Simon Roussin (No. 66) the 2008 and 2011 Series’ Champion races ahead of David Gagnon (No. 47) the 2011 rookie of the year.


Photo credit: Simon Fiset


For more information, contact:


Autodrome St-Eustache, 450-472-6222 or via the web : www.autodrome.ca


André Poulin, Sportsman Québec Series, email: andre.poulin@sportsman.ca, 581-998-7388


Prepared by M.P. Roy, email: mproy@roy-motorsports.com, 514-907-1773 poste 35


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