Keep The Faith

The summer festival season is up and running in Brampton, Ontario.

Outdoor Shakespeare, movie nights, weekly jazz, and rib fests. The 13th annual Classic Cars and Legendary Stars runs this weekend – three days of classic oldies vehicles and a few top-notch tribute bands playing in Gage Park.

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Buffed and shined, there was everything from a 1931 Ford, a really cool 1935 Auburn Speedster up to classic vettes from the 80s.

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Here’s the hood of a 1955 Bel-Air – classic and cool but ultimately removed from future production vehicles.

And then, the Elvis impersonators. There’s always a few in every town.

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Later in the evening, Bon Jovi tribute band Keep The Faith rocked the crowd. The band was founded by lookalike Chris Newman, whose voice and mannerisms faithfully reproduce the New Jersey originals.

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Newman fronts the tribute artists which include Ross Stewart doing his best as Richie Sambora, John Jablonski behind the keyboards, Doug Adams slappin’ the bass, and Stephen Snitman doing a pretty good Tico Torres rendition on the drums.

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You can find where Keep The Faith plays next by visiting their website at KeepTheFaithBand.ca
 or join a few thousand other fans on their Facebook site.

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BRAD (in the) PIT

You could drive four hours from Hamilton, Ont., to Watkins Glen International Speedway, southeast of Rochester, N.Y., and watch the NASCAR elite drive around the 11-turn, 3.78 kilometre track. You could go the other way from The Hammer, head west to Sarnia and make a five-hour trek to Michigan International Speedway, a 3.22 km D-shaped superspeedway.

I’ve been to both tracks and then a few others in the U.S.

Or you could take 25 minutes from downtown Hamilton and visit Flamboro Speedway, a 1/3 mile banked oval operating for the past 51 years west of Highway 6 on Millgrove Road. The benefit of Flamboro is you can also access the pit road and rub shoulders with the local weekend racers.

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And if you happen to work with someone who actually straps on a helmet, pulls those seatbelts tight, and speeds his way around the track, then the experience can be that much more exciting.

Brad Corcoran, a 41-year-old from Milton, Ontario, participates weekly in the Grisdale Late Model series at the Flamboro track.

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Corcoran competes consistently in the top finishers and most recently took the checkered flag on June 30, a night I followed the driver around the raceway.

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He lacks major sponsorship and a pit crew team, but family members and others help out – with invaluable racing experience from Canadian stock car racing legend Junior Hanley, shown below.

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It’s a low-budget affair compared to the millions of dollars spent to field a car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but for someone who works full-time during the week, the expense of fuel, tires, repairs and travel can be daunting.

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And even though it’s local track racing, the competition is fierce. Corcoran is an approachable, mild-mannered, and humble person outside the cockpit of his #05 Chevrolet. But when the helmet goes on, his need for speed and the checkered flag turns him into a  tenacious competitor.

So, if you go to Flamboro and find yourself suddenly in the shade, it’s not cloud cover – it’s just Brad Corcoran, The Shadow.

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