Labre has big day at track

ESCANABA — Brett Labre of Escanaba started a night of racing on a positive note and it carried over into the junior microsprint feature Saturday at the Upper Peninsula International Raceway.

Labre won his heat, then became a double-winner by taking the checkered flag in the feature, enough to lengthen his lead in the point standings.

“Everything went real good,” he said. “It feels good to win two races. I started out slow. There were some deep holes and it (track) was real wet. I tried to be cautious.”

Greg Bruce of Escanaba was also a double-winner, taking the feature and second heat in street stock.

Alex Constantino of Rapid River concluded the evening by taking the sport four feature.

“I felt the inside was the fastest,” said Constantino. “It was hard to pass on the outside and I was able to block people. This feels good vs. last year when I was having some bad luck. The track conditions were good and their crew did a real good job with it. The clay is different everytime. You have to adjust your tire pressure for the conditions each week.”

Former Escanaba resident Matt Valiquette copped the previous race, the modified feature.

“I had a good starting point,” said Valiquette, who currently resides in Menominee. “The track is in great shape. It’s so much improved from previous years. They added some good clay which enables it to be a fast track because there’s so much moisture in it. This is pretty much a hammer-down track, and the little bit of rain that went through certainly helped it.”

The races were delayed approximately 20 minutes by a brief thundershower which moved through the area prior to the intermission.

Maintenance crews, however, worked diligently and racing was able to resume.

Jake Valiquette (Matt’s brother) of Escanaba took the feature in vintage modified, a new addition to this year’s races.

“People like to see the old cars,” said Matt. “It’s fun to see them race. I think the vintage modified draw the fans.”

Dave Hosking of Bark River drove to victory in the sportsman micosprint feature where he was followed by Logan Getzloff of Bark River and Nick Leisner of Escanaba.

Hosking also led much of the heat race, but was overtaken by Michael Ault in the home stretch of the final lap. Getzloff finished third.

Josh Bartel won the 600 microsprint feature, which was stopped briefly by a three-vehicle collision immediately after the first turn. No injuries were reported.

The races were sponsored by Bink’s Coca-Cola.

Racing resumes Saturday with the Art Richer Memorial event, featuring the vintage modified races at the U.P. State Fairgrounds track. Gates open at 4 p.m. Racing starts at 6.