THOROLD, ONT –The Welland and Fort Erie Timber Marts presented Merrittville Speedway’s 66th Anniversary Reunion Night July 15th. It was a night of celebration for the newest honorees of the CAA Niagara Dedication to Racing Awards, the newest inductees into the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame and drivers reaching victory lane.
Ten years after winning his first Jerry Winger Memorial for the Pinty’s Delicious Foods 358 Modifieds – Chad Brachmann of Sanborn NY took home his third and second straight event that honors the former Driver and Wall of Famer that passed away in 1959.
Also backing up his Nostalgia Night Win of last season was S&W Service Centre Sportsman Driver Brad Rouse of St. Catharines.
Jay Moulton also of the Garden City would make his first career trip to Victory Lane in the Central Fabricating & Welding 4 Cylinder Division. Tyler Winger of Stevensville took home his first Wood Motor Company Modified Lite Feature while Mark Shadwell of Hamilton won the Vintage Race Car Feature.
The CAA Niagara Stage welcomed the CAA Niagara Dedication to Racing Award’s second honorees – Bill Sargent of Fenwick and Howard Schram of Niagara Falls – longtime track preparation specialists.
“I was here for the first ever race (July 1st 1952) … I’d ride my bike here as a kid,” said Sargent whose son Ken ran to Street Stock and Pro Stock Championships earlier in his career, “since then – it’s been an incredible evolution of speed.”
“I really appreciate what this means,” said Howard Schram who like Sargent helped racers over the years before getting involved in track preparation, “I do it for the love of the sport.”
“Thanks to (Reunion Committee Member) Erica Bicknell-Jones for finding me,” said Lee Winger now residing in North Carolina in his acceptance speech, “thanks to everyone I raced against over the years… it was a great experience.”
“He’s at the car window every night,” said current Sportsman racer Justin Sharp after his grandfather Neil Sharp’s Wall of Fame Induction who has been involved in the sport and as a car owner and sponsor for 6 decades, “he lets me know what’s going on.”
“After some bad luck … it feels good to get another win,” said now two time 2017 Winner Chad Brachmann who last won May 27th, “it’s great to be back here on such a Nostalgic Night.”
Brachmann took the lead just before halfway and despite being slowed for a couple cautions – had opened up about a ¼ lap lead by lap 35. A lap 42 caution saw Brachmann back out front but not without a challenge from Erick Rudolph.
The two were side by side on lap 44 but in the final 6 laps – Brachmann was able to distance himself once again from the field.
Prior to going green in the 50 lap Jerry Winger Memorial, Justin Sharp led the field during pace laps with his Sportsman in honor of his grandfather’s induction earlier in the night.
Once under green, front row starters Gary Lindberg and Pete Bicknell were side by side on the initial start before Bicknell found the advantage the first time down the backstretch.
Bicknell – a 5 time Jerry Winger Memorial Winner raced to a 5 car advantage on Erick Rudolph with Gary Lindberg the same distance back in third in the early stages. Quickly Bicknell would open up almost a two second advantage until Brachmann took control of top spot.
Ryan Susice made a late race charge to land in the top 5 battling Bicknell and Lindberg but at the finish it was Brachmann, Rudolph, Bicknell, Susice and Lindberg as the Top 5.
Two time Winger Winner Mike Bowman was one of several cars that were involved in a multicar incident in Turn 4 on lap 10. 4 time winner Larry Lampman finished 11th.
“I just kept working the bottom,” said Brad Rouse after the 25 lap S&W Service Centre Sportsman Feature, “the car spent the week at BRP getting reclipped … we come every week with our A Game.”
Robbie Johnston was first to lead before Justin Sharp became the new leader on lap 3.
Sharp would be slowed three times for incidents before losing the lead to James Friesen in the borrowed Gord McIntosh #72 on lap 8.
Just after losing top spot, Sharp would fall off the pace with Brad Rouse taking over second at the halfway point.
By lap 15, Rouse was within 5 car lengths of Friesen. Three laps later the margin was down to a car length.
A lap 20 caution had Friesen back out front with Rouse pulling alongside the leader on lap 23.
Friesen almost lost it late in the race between Turns 3 and 4 but gathered it back until Rouse made a last lap pass to take home his 3rd win of the season.
Rouse and Friesen were followed by Brent Begolo, Cody McPherson and Rob Knapp.
“Thanks Dad for the set up,” said first time 2017 Mod Lite Feature Winner Tyler Winger, “I kept pushing and pushing it but I learned in Karts – you have to be smooth. Karting has helped me in my transition for sure.”
Doug Misener was first to lead the Wood Motor Company Modified Lite Feature before Winger took control half a lap in.
By the halfway point, Winger stretched his lead to about a straightaway by the halfway point.
Just after hitting lap traffic on lap 11, Brent Begolo took over second spot but ran out of laps for a chance to catch Winger whose advantage in the caution free event was 1.9 seconds.
At the checkered flag, Winger and Begolo were followed by Josh Sliter, Misener and Chris Watson.
“Tony’s always told me … if you see him or others coming – don’t worry about it. I wasn’t worried especially when I could use a lap car to my advantage,” said first time Merrittville winner Jay Moulton, “I had some tire trouble before the feature … so thanks to Kyle Rothwell for the help and Rob Goulding for building the car.”
The Tony Moulton was referring to was Tony Kelly – whose late race charge found him side by side with the leader as the two took the white flag.
Taking the checkered flag the next time around … Moulton’s lead was less than a car length … about 8/100th’s of a second.
Moulton also survived a few cautions in the early half of the 15 lap event. Kyle Rothwell would take over second on lap 5 and began to close in to the halfway point. Kelly would take over second on lap 11 but fell just short at the finish.
Moulton, Kelly and Rothwell were followed by Cole Hardy and Tom Neale.
“I didn’t think I had anything for Bill,” said Mark Shadwell after winning the Vintage Race Car Feature, “this #41 Willys Body was run at the former Speedway Park by Don Turner. It’s neat to win on Reunion Night – my Dad and my brother both raced back in the day.”
Willard – a third generation racer, L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Famer and Reunion Committee Member set the pace at the start of the special Vintage Race Car Event before Shadwell took over top spot on lap 6.
At the checkered flag, Shadwell had opened up a straightaway advantage.
On behalf of Merrittville Speedway – the Reunion Committee would like to thank all of the Alumni, Vintage Race Car Drivers and L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame Partners – CAA Niagara and Auto FX Graphics and Signs for a tremendous 66th Anniversary Celebration.
A huge part of the evening couldn’t have been possible without Eataly Foods and Downtown Dolce in Port Colborne.
After winning his Mod Lite and Sportsman Features last week, Brent Begolo was named the Archer Truck Centres Driver of the Week.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE
Hingston Metal Fabricators will present it’s annual Minor Sport Night Saturday July 22nd with the S&W Service Centre Sportsman Division featured in the second round of the David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series.
Joining in – the Pinty’s Delicious Foods 358 Modifieds, Hoosier Stocks, Wood Motor Company Modified Lites, Central Fabricating and Welding 4 Cylinders and Novice Sportsman Divisions.
When the Grandstands open at 5:30 – anyone under 18 in their Minor Sport Team Sweaters will be admitted FREE.
Show time is 7 PM.
For further information on Merrittville Speedway’s 2017 Season visit http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com or call the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266 or via e mail at email@example.com. Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book (Facebook.com/Merrittville Speedway) and Twitter (Twitter.com/Merrittville
MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY SPONSORS The 2017 66th Anniversary Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series for Merrittville Speedway’s 5 Divisions was brought to race fans and racers by division sponsors – Pinty’s Delicious Foods, S&W Service Centre, Hoosier Tire Canada, Wood Motor Company and Central Fabricating in addition to many marketing partners Visit them at http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/sponsors.htmand visit them when you require their products and/or services.
Celebrating 15 years of serving the Hamilton, Halton and Niagara Regions, Bobcat of Hamilton is a leading provider of compact equipment for a wide variety of markets – striving to empower customers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
To learn more about more about the Bobcat of Hamilton Advantage click on www.bobcatofhamilton.com.
Bobcat of Hamilton … One Tough Animal!
Welland and Fort Erie Nostalgia Night – Saturday July 15, 2017
Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series Complete Results
Jerry Winger Memorial for the Pinty’s Delicious Foods 358 Modified Feature (50 laps) Chad Brachmann, Erick Rudolph, Pete Bicknell, Ryan Susice, Gary Lindberg, Greg Panunte, Mat Williamson, Tim Jones, Tommy Flannigan, Scott Wood, Larry Lampman Jr., Rick Rickner, Todd Gordon, Boyd MacTavish, Jim Zimmernan, Mike Bowman, Fred Carleton
S&W Service Centre Sportsman Feature (25 laps) Brad Rouse, James Friesen, Brent Begolo, Cody McPherson, Rob Knapp, Dave Flannigan Jr., Justin Sharp, Jay Mallory, Chris Watters, Rob Goulding, Dave DiPietro, Trevor Wright, Chris Bellamy, Charlie Lynch, Terry Larmet, Robbie Johnston, Jeoy Herremans, Sean Dominey, Brandon Gruhl, Tom Richau, Chris Storm, Luke Carleton.
Wood Motor Company Modified Lite Feature (20 laps) Tyler Winger, Brent Begolo, Josh Sliter, Rob Misener, Chris Watson, Jeff May, RJ Pietz, Steven Beckett, Marty deMoel, Randy Giroux, Tucker Wood, Craig Martin, Ryleigh Sliter.
Central Fabricating & Welding 4 Cylinder Feature (15 laps) Jay Moulton, Tony Kelly, Kyle Rothwell, Cole Hardy, Tom Neale, Rob Sauder, Garnet Wilson, Sam Iftody, Jeremy Smith, Vincent Pagnotta, Alex Riley, Chris Laskey, Go Fast Teeple, Trevor Want, Mike Giberson, Austyn Werstroh, Carrie Teeple, Jason Coutu.