Haas ices the competition
Stefan Haas of Etobicoke, Ontario, took his CanadianKarting.ca car to four victories in ice racing action at the Minden (Ontario) Fairgrounds, February 16-17. Competing in the stud class of the Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs - Ontario Region's 2002 Magnum Ice Race Series, he put himself atop the points standings with the weekend sweep.
Haas started the weekend by finishing second in a Saturday-morning qualifying heat to grab a front-row start for the first of four scheduled points races. He then took full advantage of that by rocketing off to his first win of the weekend. Unfortunately, however, warm weather softened up the ice and the track was rapidly shredded by the studded tires.
"The top layer of ice collapsed," Haas reported, "Which made for a lot of potholes, some even right down to the dirt underneath. The race was shortened, but we still caused a lot of damage on the racing line and it was so bumpy I even wore out my front-left shock absorber!"
A second Saturday race for the stud class was put off until Sunday morning and only classes running non-studded tires ran for the rest of the day.
Sunday proved better and, with the damaged areas of the track marked with cones and designated out-of-bounds, the stud drivers were able to complete their schedule, although race distances were abbreviated.
Unable to replace the damaged shock absorber of his VW Rabbit at the track, Haas was in for a rough time on Sunday. The unsteadied wheel bounced and fluttered, shaking the car and sending shock waves through the steering wheel, but Haas persevered and piloted the CanadianKarting.ca car to three nail-biting wins.
"I had cars all over me because that wheel was lifting and bouncing around, making the car unstable at high speed," he explained. "I sometimes had to use the brakes to keep the car settled on the straight and I could never build up a lead. I really had to fight for the wins, but it was pretty exciting."
Twelve races are now in the books and Haas heads the points standings with a tally of six wins and six second-place finishes. Two more four-race weekends remain on the schedule, both reserve dates made necessary by a warm winter, and with no more rescheduling options available, ice racers are hoping for cooler weather.
"I'm hoping the weather is on our side," Haas said. "Things are going well for the CanadianKarting.ca car and I'm looking forward to racing the next two weekends."