By: Jonathan Howe
THOROLD, ON – As the 71st season of Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing opened at Merrittville Speedway, fans were treated to a fast and treacherous track. 5 weekly divisions were on track for Peters Construction Group Night at Merrittville. Gary Lindberg, Cody McPherson, Dave Bailey, Tyler Winger, and Tyler Lafantaise all reached Pleasant View Victory Lane.
Tyler Lafantaise scored the win in the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4-cylinder division in a caution filled feature. Ken Hair and John Luebeck lead the field 20 cars to green, and both showed speed early. However, Hair would fade while Lafantaise, who started 7th, picked his way through the top 10. After taking the lead, the 96 held off challenges from Trevor Deboer and Luebeck, who would have to settle for 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The wave of yellows continued in the Rona Doidge Building Centre Modlites, with even the leader finding their way into an incident. Defending track champion Brent Begolo, started 3rd and quickly took the lead. However, after several restarts, it was the leader Begolo who tangled with a lap car before the halfway mark that ended the night early for the fastest car on track. That left Tyler Winger, Josh Sliter, Sean Iftody and Jeffery May to battle for the win. Sliter, who had trouble of his own early in the event, was able to rally and in the final corner pulled alongside lead car Winger. However, he would lose the battle down the straight by less than a car length, and Winger captured the flag.
In Hoosier Stock action, Ryan Beagle was tasked with putting a stop to the stranglehold Dave Bailey has had over the class. Bailey started inside row 2, had to patiently maneuver his way to the front past the front row of Donny Lampman and Bryce Richardson. A caution came out shortly after Bailey took the lead, and he elected to restart on the outside, giving the bottom to Beagle. The choice nearly proved to be the wrong one, as Beagle cleared the 49 and took the lead. However, Bailey was able to retake the lead after the two battled for the last half of the race and hang on to take the win over Beagle, Rob Murray, Jason Fontaine, and Mark Fawcett.
The Right Choice Auto and Leisure Sportsman saw another defending track champion find Pleasantview Victory Lane, after celebrating their 2021 success earlier in the night. Cody McPherson, who was presented with his Sportsman Track Championship in a ceremony prior to racing, picked up the win in both his heat and feature races. McPherson held off pole sitter Adam Leslie, Rob Knapp, Jay Mallory, and James Friesen, who rallied after contact with Darrell Farraway.
Nobody had anything for Gary Lindberg in the Corr/Pak 358 Modified’s, as he captured the win on opening night. Pete Bicknell and Lindberg lead the field to green, with Lindberg jumping out to an early advantage before the caution fell. On the restart, Lindberg set sail and drove off from the field, quickly amassing a multi second gap to Bicknell. Lindberg lapped all but nine cars as he cruised to victory on a long green flag run that stretched over the final 30 plus laps. Ryan Susice grabbed second from Bicknell who finished 3rd. Chad Chevalier and Fred Carleton rounded out the top 5.
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