Chad Harden finished first and fast at 1:12:74 in heat 4 of the GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede on Tuesday July 12, 2016. Gavin Young/Postmedia CALGARY HERALD
Chad Harden was already on the stage a couple nights ago.
He liked it so much he decided to make a return visit.
The Mulhurst Bay driver picked up his second day-money run in the last three nights of the Rangeland Derby, earning another trip to the grandstand stage to pick up a trophy bronze.
“The stage is a great place to be,” Harden said after he skinned the No. 3 barrel and grabbed the front end, roasting his Bennett Jones LLP rig around the Half Mile of Hell in 1:13.04, more than a second ahead of second-place Jason Glass (Birchcliff Energy, 1:14.12).
Harden wasn’t happy with his Barrel 4 outfit that turned in a lethargic trip one night earlier and he made some changes.
“They certainly didn’t work too hard,” Harden quipped when asked why they deserved a rest.
“But this was the same outfit that won day money the other day.”
Harden’s week has had more ups, downs and crazy turns than a Stampede midway ride, turning in runs of 25th, ninth, first, 30th and first.
But the latest day-money trip moved the 2009 Rangeland Derby champ up 12 spots in the aggregate to fourth overall.
“It’s been a few years since we were this hot,” Harden said. “Hopefully we get on a roll, straighten things out and stay at the top of the leaderboard.”
Harden expected the injured Colt Cosgrave to be tough on his inside.
The Hand Hills driver hopes to be back in the wagon box as early as Wednesday night.
A chiropractor worked on Cosgrave’s ailing back on Tuesday and he reported he was on his way back.
Glass drove his Trinidad Drilling Ltd. rig the previous two nights before Chanse Vigen took the reigns on Tuesday.
With Glass in the hunt for a second Calgary Stampede title to go with his 2013 crown, Cosgrave didn’t want to put additional responsibilities on his cousin’s plate.
“We just had enough to get the front end,” Harden said. “Chanse is a very good driver, one of the best in the WPCA, but maybe he doesn’t know Colt’s outfit like Colt does.
“So we got a lucky break.”
Shortcuts will, by definition, get you to your destination quicker.
But it’s costly in chuckwagon racing.
Troy Dorchester (Metallic Alloy Coatings Canada), who has shown a ton of run this week, hit the track without turning the bottom barrel.
That’s a 10-second ticket and that is a Rangeland Derby-ender for the 2012 champ.
Glass took over top spot in the aggregate standings while Gary Gorst (Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer) tumbled from third to 13th thanks to four seconds in penalties.
FLAD FINDS ANOTHER GEAR
Darcy Flad’s Wranglers have never touched the seat of a motorbike.
Probably never will.
But the Bodo chuckwagon driver gets along just fine with the Harley Davidson crew, one of his tarp sponsors at the Rangeland Derby.
“I’m all cowboy,” Flad said. “It’s a saddle horse when I get home chasing cattle. And from there to the wagon seat.
“They joined ship with the Legends. It was quite a deal from thoroughbreds to motorbikes.
“And they’re a great bunch of people.”
Flad has had the throttle wide open on his wagon during his fifth Rangeland Derby appearance.
The 45-year-old sits in seventhth spot following Tuesday night’s run of 1:14.57, setting him up to blow away his top finish of 15th in 2011.
“Horse power has changed over the years,” Flad said. “I knew I had to get tougher or stay at home.
“I’m driving three outfits now and they seem to be coming together pretty good.
“I just want to be consistent, relax and let the horses do their work.”
ON THE AIR
Catch all the action on Sportsnet One, Shaw TV and on radio at AM700 The Light and 147 RURAL Radio on satellite (WPCA crew) and AM910 (CPCA crew).