During the middle of the 2004 racing season several drivers in the northeast expressed the interest in having a series of ‘big’ events in the fall as an alternative to making the long haul south of the border. The topic was brought up by 358 modified driver Jeff Ciglich on an internet web forum at DirtTrackDigest.com. After many replies from interested competitors and fans the news travelled to Brighton Speedway promoter Mark Rinaldi through long-time dirt racing fan Dale Calnan. Dale and son Greg, of ImageFactor.ca, passed the idea along to Mark and he was instantly intrigued by the idea and considered making a late season addition to the 2004 schedule. However, not having enough time to properly promote an event of this magnitude it was decided that a meeting would take place during the off-season to further discuss the possibility for a race in 2005.
On a cold winter day in February race teams, drivers and fans met in Kingston, Ontario to exchange ideas and work out the details for a possible event in late September at Brighton. Long time driver Mark Hitchcock graciously hosted the gathering at his shop. The meeting was a positive one and when the 2005 Brighton Speedway schedule was released a 358 Dirt Modified race had been slotted in for Saturday September 24th. The event was scheduled for 40 laps in distance with a solid $10,000 CDN purse up for grabs. Although this was a stand-alone event the race was run under 2005 358 DIRT Modified rules.
With the world of northeastern Dirt Modified racing up in the air it was apparent that teams and drivers were searching for alternatives. The ImageFactor.ca Applefest 358 Dirt Modified Shootout was just that, a chance for local teams to compete for a solid purse without having to travel three or four hours to a nationally sanctioned event just to be upstaged by high dollar tour regulars. Instead of packing up their cars and equipment by the second weekend of September the 358 Dirt Modified drivers in the area had a new date on their calendar at a track most have never competed on.
The first ever running of the event in 2005 was a success with 18 small block modifieds taking part in the inaugural running of the Applefest Shootout. Kyle Dingwall of Brockville, Ontario claimed the 40 lap feature win over Chris Jones and Lee Ladeceur. The teams enjoyed their first visit to the Brighton Speedway in 22 years and gave rave reviews of the event.
The race that was born on an internet forum in 2004 became a reality on Saturday September 24th, 2005. With added fan, team and sponsor support the Applefest Shootout
has become a fall classic at the Brighton Speedway!