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Steve Slaughter Classic opens Sunset Speedway season

Steve Slaughter started at Sunset in 1984 as the track photographer before becoming manager in 1986 under the Shakell Families ownership

What a night it was at Sunset Speedway’s opening weekend for the 2024 short-track season. This year the track opened the season with the Steve Slaughter Classic as we celebrate fifty-five amazing years of racing. Steve Slaughter started at Sunset in 1984 as the Track Photographer before becoming Track Manager in 1986 under the Shakell Families ownership. At the end of the 1986 season Steve, his brother Jack and Pat Ruffo purchased the track. After time Steve and his wife Carol purchased the track fully from the partners and operated it until 2002 when they decided to sell. In 2009, Steve came back to the track and worked for the new ownership group until 2019. Steve is currently battling Alzheimer’s and was unable to attend but Carol, son’s Steve Jr and Jeff and Grandson Tyson were on hand. In Steve’s honour, it was only natural that we open the 2024 Sunset season in his name and values. Steve’s brother, Jack Slaughter spoke about the importance of keeping Sunset as his brother saw it and continuing to grow short track racing. 

Our CPS Junior Late Model heat races opened the night with many new faces to learn along with some fan favourites returning. Joining the team at Sunset, race enthusiast Noland, throughout the summer, our Junior Racers will have Noland as their Junior Announcer. Our heat winners were Keegan Moat (#52) and Cole Kamrath (#51). Both racers placed in the top five during the 15-lap feature race, with Kamrath coming scoring the win closely followed by Moat, from there Josh Davenport (#30), Landon Struyk (#14) and Ronnie Mason (#22) rounded out the top 5.  

Following the Junior Late Models was the Struyk Energy Systems Mini Stock division, with a lot of familiar faces from last season, along with some new additions. Qualifying heat races saw Jacob Sutcliffe (#27) and Cameron McGlashan (#83) head to Ideal Supply Victory Lane with Ryder White (#88) picking up the win in the B-Main. The feature race ended in some controversy with Coleridge Phinnemore (#80) coming across the line first after contact Jacob Sutcliffe. As Phinnemore headed to victory lane track officials declared Phinnemore was an involved car in the accident with Sutcliffe and was scored last on the lead lap. This handed the win over to Jake Spencer-Walt (#31) scoring his first ever Struyk Energy Systems Mini Stock win. After officials sorted out the scoring it was McGlashan in second, Bob Phinnemore (#1), Eric Rainey (#12) and Peter Wakeling (#5) rounding out the top 5. 

Next on the card was the St. Onge Recreation Super Stock division. Roy Wilkie (#33) and Lane Zardo (#36) were qualifying heat winners. The 30-lap feature race proved to be a bit messy and even introduced the first red flag of the season as Tyler Liscum (#81) broke a tie rod and collected Connor Maltese (#23) with the latter being able to continue. Coming out of the chaos, Miles Tyson (#49) swooped in during the 30-lap feature and claimed the feature win holding of a hard charging Lane Zardo with Wilkie, rookie Jacob Booth (#26) and Coltin Everingham (#48) rounding out the top 5. 

In the first heat race of the LUDUH Designated Driver Hot Rod’s division Rob Bromley (#6) came out on top, with John Gaunt (#96) winning in the second heat. Although the racing was clean during the heat races, things quickly escalated during the 30-lap feature. With many cars leaving the track with more than a few scuff marks. At the end of a rough and tumble feature Herb Walters (#47) ended a 12 year winless drought claiming the win. Amanda Balson (#16), Tom Walters (#64), Paul Bogensberger (#8sr) and Rob Bromley rounded out the top 5. 

As a special treat in honour of Steve Slaughter, G.D. Coates Used Car Superstore Pro Late Model division headlined Saturday’s card with a 100-lap main event. At the end of qualifying time trials for the 23-car field it was Josh Stade (#17) winning the pole for the start of the 100-lap feature. Stade led from the drop of the green flag, but Jordan Howse (#8) eventually reeled Stade in and made the pass for the lead with about 30 laps remaining and would cruise to Ideal Supply Victory Lane. Stade finished second with Kyle Steckly (#22) hanging onto third over a hard charging Jason Hathaway (#3) and Dale Shaw (#83) would round out the top 5. 

 After the excitement from Saturday’s opening night, get ready for even more amazing racing for Sunset’s ‘At Our Best’ race night. This will be the opening night for Bone Stock, Seaton Structure Modifieds plus the G.D. Coates Used Car Superstore Late Models return for a 50-lap feature to headline the card. They will also be joined by the visiting Ontario Legend Car Series. In addition to the amazing lineup, a fan favourite is coming back to Sunset. King of the Hill Spectator Drags returns for the 2024 season! For more information visit the website