Stacey Mackinnon was the 2018 modified champion at the Northport Raceway, driving this car.                                 Photo submitted

Stacey Mackinnon was the 2018 modified champion at the Northport Raceway, driving this car. Photo submitted

Castlegar driver wins Northport modified

Local drivers have great season at the Northport Raceway’s modified division in 2018.

It was a season of mud, dust, smoke, heat, hot tempers, blown motors, hard racing and spectacular wrecks in Northport Raceway’s modified division in 2018. In the end Castlegar native Stacey Mackinnon took home the championship trophy after a solid year of racing at the fast paced dirt oval. The Kootenay Chrysler/Ernie’s Used Auto Parts-sponsored 24 car led the points from the season opener to the final race of the year with four main event wins throughout the season.

“It was a solid year for me, the car ran pretty strong most of the year with only a few problems but it was a battle right down to the very last race with the 32 car,” Mackinnon said. “I almost lost the season championship on the very first lap of the last race but in the end, my son Zak handed me the checkered flag after officially taking the 2018 Championship. That was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Three time defending champion Darren Dudley finished second overall after a frustrating season. “I exploded a new motor in the first race of the year that put me close to last in the points race,” he says. “I raced hard all season but the Columbia Truck and Tire 32 car was plagued with handling issues after being involved in a couple wrecks early on. It’s tough to make up points on the leader like that, especially the 24. In the end I came up short but Ill take the podium finish.”

South Slocan’s Lenny Popoff, driving the Dig Garden Center 74 car, took home Rookie of the Year honors, placing sixth overall. “It was awesome!” he says. “I didn’t know what to expect but with help from the MOB Racing team I felt like I got better every time I went out onto the track. My two boys, Jake and Jesse, played a big part in my success as well. I couldn’t have asked for a better pit crew.”

With 2018 in the books, drivers are now working on their cars for the upcoming 2019 season which is slated to start April 27. Mackinnon added, “I can’t wait to get back out there and race. We had over 20 dirt modifieds racing this year so we couldn’t ask for a better car count. Northport Raceway is slowly improving every year and this year should be no different. The track has made a big schedule change that should be good for everyone most importantly the fans. It looks like everyone is doing the best they can to try and avoid the heat of the summer months.”

Finishing order for local

modified drivers:

1st Stacey Mackinnon – Castlegar

2nd Darren Dudley – Castlegar

3rd Daniel Southern – Northport

4th Rick McCreight – Castlegar

5th Mark Wiggen – Castlegar

6th Lenny Popoff – South Slocan

7th Cory Schrader – Colville

8th Jim Ripplinger – Trail

9th Mitch Christiansen – Castlegar

10th Derek Barisoff – Trail

11th Zak Mackinnon – Castlegar

12th Daniel Watkins – Colville

13th Gord Zaitsoff – Castlegar