By: Jonathon Howe
THOROLD, ON – Defending S&W Service Centre 358 Modified Track Champion Gary Lindberg from Ridgeway, Ontario brought the Sittler Racing 37s to victory lane to kick off the Labour Day Weekend doubleheader at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday night. Greg Panunte from Port Colborne, Ontario picked up the win in the Rick’s Delivery DIRTcar Sportsman. “The Merlin Magician” Steve Shaw Sr from Merlin, Ontario won the Hoosier Stock feature. Welland, Ontario’s Kyle Rothwell picked up his third straight win in the Central Fabricating/Glo & Go Tanning 4 Cylinder Mini Stocks. Jordan Fidler picked up another win in the James’ Auto V6.
The field was no match for Gary Lindberg in the S&W Service Centre 358 Modifieds. Lindberg, who started from the pole, lead wire to wire. Randy Mallory’s yellow flag would fly just as quickly as the green flag as Fred Carleton and outside pole sitter Rob Knapp made contact on the initial start, with Knapp stopping in the middle of turns three and four. On the restart, Gary Lindberg would drive drove from Carleton, but Knapp would bring out the caution again after a few laps. Lindberg controlled the restart again and began to lap the field. Scott Wood would take over second place, and would begin to close in on Lindberg as the leaders would encounter lap traffic. However, the defending divisional champion was strong on this night as his advantage over the field never dipped below 1.7 seconds. Lindberg would pick up the win with ease over Wood, with Carleton, Mark D’llario, and Pete Bicknell completing the top five.
The Rick’s Delivery Sportsman saw Greg Panunte return to victory lane. Panunte who won the first two Sportsman division races when Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing returned to action at Merrittville earlier this summer. Trevor Wright and Luke Carleton lead the field to green, while Panunte in the 99p raced his way up from sixth on the grid to battle for the race lead early, eventually taking it from Carleton. Meanwhile, Brad Rouse who won his heat earlier in the night, started 12th and sliced and diced his way through the field but could not catch Panunte even on multiple restarts with two laps remaining. Luke Carleton, Chad Chevalier and Trevor Wright rounded out the top five.
The Hoosier Stock feature saw another battle between Steve Shaw and Donny Lampman for the checkers. This time it was the “Merlin Magician” Steve Shaw who came home with the win. Last week, Lampman and Shaw tangled while battling for the lead, costing both drivers the win. This week, it was Shaw making the most of his front row start, taking the lead and holding off young Donny Lampman who spent most of the race right in Shaw’s tire tracks. Lampman would settle for 2nd, while last week’s winner Dave Bailey finished third after a tight battle with defending track champion Rob Murray. Logan Schwedyk was fifth.
Jeffery May went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs in the RONA/ Doidge Building Centre Modified Lites. After breaking a suspension piece while leading his heat, May started last in the feature and worked his way up to second early on in the feature event. Brent Begolo, who started fourth, controlled most of the early part of the race. However, Begolo suffered a mechanical failure of his own on a late restart, handing the lead and the win to May. JSR teammates Josh Sliter and RJ Pietz rounded out the podium.
The Central Fabricating/Glo & Go Tanning 4 Cylinder feature saw Kyle Rothwell take a natural hat trick, by winning his third feature in a row. Rothwell started ninth and had to fight for every position on his way up through the field. Olivier Larocque and Fabio Olivieri were Rothwell’s toughest competition on this night. Rain brought out the caution twice in this feature but never fully halted action. On the final green flag run, Rothwell overtook Larocque with some masterful driving in turns three and four, before driving away to his third straight checker. Larocque would settle for second, with Fabio Olivieri, Brian Aube, and Austyn Werstroh completing the top five.
In James Auto V6 action, it was opening week winner Jordan Fidler returning to victory lane. Lap traffic brought a halt to leader John Couture’s momentum allowing Fidler to catch and eventually pass him, to take the win. Josh Dymtrow, Dustin Duga and Jacob Dykstra followed Couture to complete the top five.
Day two of the doubleheader takes place on Sunday, September 6 with the traditional Enduro 100 plus Flag Pole Race, Backwards Race, and more. Pit gates will swing open at 9 am, with showtime being at 1:00pm. Social distancing protocols will be enforced.
Merrittville is back in action on Saturday, September 12 with the 360 Sprint Cars back in action, joining the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman, Hoosier Stocks, RONA/Doidge Building Centre Mod Lites and the James’ Auto V6 rounding out the card. Race time is scheduled for 7pm. Fans can register for the lottery draw for admission tickets on Monday afternoons. Details are available on the Merrittville Speedway social media pages.
Fans are encouraged to keep up to date with all the schedules and if any changes are needed by following Merrittville on social media including Facebook (facebook.com/MerrittvilleSpeedway), Twitter (@Merrittville), and now on Instagram (@merrittvillespeedway). For results, point standings, and more, check out www.merrittvillespeedway.com
9-5-20 RACE RESULTS
S&W Service Centre 358 Modifieds: GARY LINDBERG, Scott Wood, Fred Carleton, Mark D’llario, Pete Bicknell, Tim Jones, Tyler Willard, Tommy Flannigan, Dalton Slack, Rob Knapp, Tom Neale, Tanner Podwinski, Brian Page
Qualifying Heats: Gary Lindberg, Tim Jones
Rick’s Delivery DIRTcar Sportsman: GREG PANUNTE, Brad Rouse, Luke Carleton, Chad Chevalier, Trevor Wright, Mitch Dumont, Rob Sauder, Dave Flannigan Jr, Jay Mallory, Brent Begolo, James Michael Friesen, Brandon Gruhl, Jeff Panunte, Emily Puchalski, Terry Smith, Dan McKay, Steve Shaw Jr, Nathan Peattie, Dave Small, Cameron Lane, Joey Herremans, Tyler Puchalski, Chris Watters, Taylor Vanderzanden, Billy Bleich Jr, John Babion (Did Not Start)
Qualifying Heats: Mitch Dumont, Brad Rouse, Dave Flannigan
Hoosier Stocks: STEVE SHAW SR, Donny Lampman, Dave Bailey, Rob Murray, Logan Schwedyk, Mike Thorne, Ken Sargent, Chris Hale, Ryan Beagle, Adam Plazek, JT Miller, Matt Willson, Kacey Huffman, Kyle Wert, Brayden King, Jens Mortensen, Jim Lampman, Go Fast Teeple, Zach Bleich
Qualifying Heats: Logan Schwedyk, Ryan Beagle, Mike Thorne
RONA/Doidge Building Centre Mod Lites: JEFFREY MAY, Josh Sliter, RJ Pietz, Shawn Sliter, Randy Giroux, Tyler Winger, Rob Misener, Sean Iftody, Dave Cornish, Ryleigh Sliter, Ryan Anderson, Brent Begolo
Qualifying Heats: Brent Begolo, Rob Misener
Central Fabricating/Glo and Go Tanning 4 Cylinders: KYLE ROTHWELL, Olivier Larocque, Fabio Olivieri, Brian Aube, Austyn Werstroh, Kenny Hair, Dylan Llord, Sam Iftody, Aidan Nigh, Ross Crowe, Christopher French, Clinton Barrick, Kourtney Kocarik, Alex Pidgeon, Lyle White, Ashton Dickie, Jay Moulton, Rob Shaw, Braden Keus, Shane Dixon, Don Deagle, Matt Christie
Qualifying Heats: Olivier Larocque, Kyle Rothwell, Brian Aube
James’ Auto and Speed Centre V6: JORDAN FIDLER, John Couture, Josh Dmytrow, Dustin Duga, Jacob Dykstra, Seth Roy, Tina Ronning, JJ MacDonald, Joe Bleich, Corey Lawton, Dave Hahl, Zach Dmytrow, Elishia Myers, Rick Beales, Teddy Sheppard
Qualifying Heats: Jordan Fidler, John Couture