Jason Glass has never won the Rangeland Derby.
He took the first step last night.
Glass (Shaw GMC Pontiac Buick Hummer) skinned Barrel 2, grabbed the front end and roared around the Half Mile of Hell in 1:15.17, tops on opening night at the Calgary Stampede.
"That's a great start," Glass said. "You get some of the jitters out of the way right away."
The 38-year-old reinsman said the Stampede Park track was in ideal condition.
"The track was perfect," he said. "Usually, it's a little heavy the first night. "I hope they keep it this way all week."
Defending champion Hugh Sinclair (Baron Oilfield) was second-fastest on the night at 1:15.27 followed by CPCA veteran Gary Gorst (MechWave) with a 1:15.40. Kelly Sutherland (Gallery Homes; 1:15.67) and Ray Mitsuing (Lucid Group of Companies; 1:15.93) rounded out the top five.
Glass trotted a new horse out last night, as his right wheeler, Alexander's Run, made his Stampede debut.
"He sure did his job," the High River driver said.
"But there's a lot of nights left.
"The name of the game is to let the horses do their job and try to drive them as good as I can. I have great confidence in my barn. I think I have a lot of beautiful horses.
"I just have to drive the right horses on the right nights."
The judges handed out 19 seconds in penalties last night, compared to 13 seconds a year ago. Two years ago, the drivers were hit with 31 seconds on Night 1, compared to 29 (2006), 39 ('05) and 11 in '04.
Obrey Motowylo (H & E Oilfield Services Ltd.) might be a rookie at the Rangeland Derby.
But he's already made a name for himself on the WPCA circuit this season.
The Bluffton, Alta., driver won the $50,000 Tommy Dorchester Dash For Cash Wednesday night at the Ponoka Stampede. It was Motowylo's first career win on the Dodge Pro Tour.
He's up against Logan Gorst (RE/MAX Realtors of Calgary and area) and Barry Hodgson (Toni Dixon) for the Stampede's Orville Strandquist Award as the Rangeland Derby's top rookie driver.
This is the first year of the Rangeland Derby's new format, where the top eight wagons in the aggregate standings qualify for Wildcard Saturday.
The top four from the final two heats that night will race for next Sunday's $100,000 crown.
The barrels and heats will now be re-set after Night 4.
Retired driver Smokin' Norm Cuthbertson takes over the driving duties for the demonstration race prior to Heat 1 every night.
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Catch the Rangeland Derby live every night on AM910 and AM1060.