THOROLD, ON – While Canada Day at Merrittville Speedway brought fireworks on the track and off, the Bobcat of Hamilton School’s Out For Summer Extravaganza will be memorable for multiple finishes down that came down to battles on the final lap. St. Catharines, Ontario’s Cody McPherson won the Right Choice Auto and Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman West Region tour event. Pete Bicknell also of St. Catharines won the Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modified feature. Smithville, Ontario’s Kyle Pelrine won in the Hoosier Stocks. Greg Hale of Guelph, Ontario won in the 50’s/60’s Vintage class while Jason Riddell of Cardinal, Ontario won the overall event and 70’s/80’s feature. Ken Hair of Niagara Falls, Ontario scored the win in the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders.
Jay Mallory and Cody McPherson started the Right Choice Auto and Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman Series race from the front row. The 40 Lap Western Tour event featured an expanded field of 31 cars on track. Cautions were plentiful throughout the event, with the first coming at lap five for Justin Sharp. McPherson controlled the restart and fired off to an early lead before another caution came when Rob Knapp went up in smoke in turns three and four. A lap later, the yellow waved again as Bill Bleich had a problem. The Sportsman field would then settle in for a solid run of green flag laps with James Friesen in hot pursuit of last years Mr. DIRT Sportsman McPherson. The two drivers battled side by side at times, but Friesen could never clear to the lead. A rash of cautions began with 10 laps to go when Noah Mamo topped in turn four. Three laps later the red came out for a scary incident when Jay Mallory flipped on his side after tangling with Paul Gaboury. Both drivers would be okay, and another multi-car incident on lap 36 set the stage for a four-lap dash to the checkers. After racing side by side for two laps Friesen was finally able to clear McPherson for the lead but in the final set of corners, Friesen was bit by the outside cushion and McPherson regained the lead off turn four to steal away the win over Friesen. Billy Bleich Jr. was third, Nelson Mason was fourth and Brett Senek fifth.
In the Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modifieds, Trevor Wright started from the pole with Ken Winfield to his outside. Luke Carleton brought out the first caution on Lap four when he slowed with a mechanical issue. On the restart, Pete Bicknell was able to get passed Wright for control of the race. The caution came out again on lap nine for Tom Neale, who came to a stop. The third and final caution of the race came on lap 15 when Darrell Faraway spun in turn four. Bicknell drove away from Fred Carleton on the restart and managed the gap well for the 20-lap run to the checkered flag, picking up his second win of the year. Carleton settled for second, with Scott Wood, Brad Rouse and Shayne Pierce completing the top five.
Track position was key on a very fast Merrittville Speedway track, especially for the Hoosier Stocks. Kyle Pelrine who started on the outside of row one, took the lead early and never lost control. The races lone caution came just before the halfway mark when Ron Loggie got hooked together with Murray Nichols, while Christopher Hale blew an engine simultaneously. On the restart, Zach Bleich emerged as the threat to Pelrine’s win, chasing him for several laps. Out of the final corner, Bleich pulled alongside Pelrine, but came up just short of swiping the win at the stripe. Ken Sargent finished in third, Pete Reid in fourth and Jim Lampman was fifth.
A field of 24 Vintage Cars took the green on Saturday at Merrittville. The field was divided into to two classes based on the eras of the cars. Greg Hale fought off Jens Mortensen for the 50’s/60’s feature win, while lap traffic made the overall win much closer. Jason Riddell appeared to have the 70’s/80’s field covered until lap traffic halted his torrid pace, bringing Josh Powers into the picture and right to his bumper on the final lap. Although it was close, Powers came up empty handed, and Riddell scored the win.
Parity has been the name of the game in the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders. After a restart on lap seven, Ken Hair took the lead from pole sitter Mason Anderson. Hair drove away and cruised comfortably to his first win of the year, making him the sixth different feature winner in seven races this season. Anderson held on for his best finish of the season, while Randy Always came home third, John Lubeck fourth and Olivier Larocque fifth.
Next weekend, the Action Sprint Tour returns to Merrittville Speedway as part of Hottub Heaven Presents Hot Tub Giveaway Night. The Right Choice Auto & Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman, Hoosier Stocks, Rona Doidge Building Centres Modified Lites and Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders will all join the Crate Sprints on the card. It is also $2 Soft Serve Ice Cream night at Merrittville Big Scoop. Pit gates will open at 5:00 pm, grandstands open at 5:30, and racing will begin at 7:00 pm.
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RACE RESULTS –- July 1st, 2023
Right Choice Auto & Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman West Region Tour – CODY MCPHERSON (3), James Friesen, Billy Bleich Jr., Nelson Mason, Brett Senek, Taylor Vanderzanden, Adam Leslie, Kyle Richner, Cameron Tuttle, Justin Sharp, Terry Smith, Jessica Kriegisch, Ryan Ferri, Nathan Peattie, Matteo Panunte, Daniel McKay, Graeme Toth, Noah Mamo, Bill Gill, Jordan Cosco, Rob Pietz, Paul Gaboury, Austin Wood, Jay Mallory, Curtis Friesen, Matt Sharpe, Brent Begolo, Bill Bleich, Rob Knapp, Mitch Dumont, Jason VanMil
Heat Winners – Jay Mallory, Cody McPherson, James Friesen
Qualifying – Jay Mallory, Kyle Richner, James Friesen
Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modifieds – PETE BICKNELL (2), Fred Carleton, Scott Wood, Brad Rouse, Shayne Pierce, Trevor Wright, Boyd MacTavish, Dylan Davidson, Noah Walker, Todd Gordon, Luke Carleton, Brandon Gruhl, Darrell Farraway, Ken Winfield, Tom Neale, Derek VanMil
Qualifying Heats – Luke Carleton, Scott Wood
Hoosier Stocks – KYLE PELRINE, Zach Bleich, Ken Sargent, Pete Reid, Jim Lampman, Rob Murray, Mark Fawcett, Jason Fontaine, Kyle Haynes, Dave Bailey, Donny Lampman, Tyler French, Tyler Lafantaise, Jeff Larmet, Ron Loggie, Gofast Teeple, Jeff Bean, Bryce Richardson, Chris Hale, Murray Nicholls, Mason Smith, Terry Larmet, Steve Baldwin, Ryan Dinning, Mitch Petta, Rick Book
Qualifying Heats: Ken Sargent, Bryce Richardson, Zach Bleich
Vintage Cars – JASON RIDDELL, Josh Powers, Ian Gordon, Doug Gordon, Chad Lackie, Dave Small, Steve Billings, Gavin Riddell, Tim Natalino, GREG HALE, Jens Mortensen, Jeff Larmet, Bill Profota, Bill Montreuil, Pete Stapper, Andy Imbeault, Paul Billings, Joe Hilts, Jeff Cledgett, Dexter Billings, Mark Shadwell, Loren Fish, Mark Loveland, Darrell Wilson, Evan Curtis
Qualifying Heats – Tim Natalino, Jason Riddell, Pete Stapper, Jeff Larmet
Vansickle Pet Valu/PV On the Lane 4 Cylinders – KEN HAIR, Mason Anderson, Randy Always, John Lubeck, Olivier Larocque, Vincent Pagnotta, Alex Riley, Austyn Werstroh, Cole Hardy, Hana Rothwell, Anthony Kelly, Rick Beales, Dave Winniger, Cierra Keus, Douwe Degroot, Blair Rousselle, Donald Deagle, Richard Hadler, Tina Ronning, Roger Winfield, Kyle Rothwell, James Marshall
Qualifying Heats – Hana Rothwell, John Lubeck, Cierra Keus