Calgary - Todd Baptiste vaulted up the standings and into second place at the 2019 GMC Rangeland Derby on Tuesday night. Off the third barrel in the eighth heat, Baptiste had a fast start and circled the Stampede track in a blazing time of 1:11.55, which is the quickest clocking of this year’s 10-day show so far.
“For us to be able to have a run like that especially hooked with the guys that I’m with definitely is a confidence booster for our team and our barn,” Baptiste said. “We’ll just try to keep in the hunt.” For his efforts, the 44-year-old from Cando, Saskatchewan won the top day money prize of $6,000 and moved into second spot in the aggregate standings with a five-day total time of 6:18.94.
“I can’t complain about how the spring and how the summer and how the Stampede’s really been unfolding for us here,” Baptiste said. “It’s just been really surreal, but you’ve got to keep grounded and keep your head focused and make sure you’re doing the right work out there and run clean.” Baptiste, who’s currently leading the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association standings, is hoping to continue to run clean to earn himself a spot among the top eight drivers after eight days of racing who will qualify to compete in Semifinal Saturday.
“That’s everyone’s goal,” Baptiste said. “My goal would be the same, to run clean, run safe and run fast and hopefully we can be somewhere in the top eight come Saturday and in the semifinals.”
Although Logan Gorst finished second behind Baptiste in the eighth heat in a time of 1:12.08, the 37-year-old driver from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan moved past Jason Glass and into top spot in the standings with an aggregate time of 6:17.77.
Unfortunately for Glass, he got into penalty trouble after running over a barrel and missing another to fall out of first place and well down in the overall standings. Vern Nolin won the ninth heat in Friday’s second fastest time of 1:11.88 to win $5,200, while Gary Gorst stopped the clock in 1:12.01 in the fifth heat to finish third and take home $4,600.
Chad Fike had another strong showing on Tuesday and currently sits third in the overall standings with a total time of 6:19.29, just ahead of Luke Tournier at 6:19.32 and Chance Bensmiller at 6:19.87. Rounding out the top eight drivers are Evan Salmond at 6:20.12, at 6:20.20 and Ross Knight at 6:20.52.
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
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Communications Manager, Western Events and Agriculture