@Merrittville • @LucasOil • THOROLD, ON – After kicking off their 40th Birthday Celebrations earlier in the day, Seaway Mall was celebrating again with the 2015 season’s first feature winners Saturday April 25th.
Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Spring Sizzler action had Jason Barney of Constantia NY taking home the 25 lap Patriot Sprint Tour Season Opener.
Defending Pinty’s 358 Modified Champion Mat Williamson started off his title defense taking home the 35 lap Feature with Gary Lindberg of Ridgeway opening the 64th Season winning the 25 lap feature for the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division.
Antwerp NY’s Jeff Cook was first to lead the 25 lap A Main for the Patriot Sprint Tour but handed top spot to Jason Barney on lap 10 after drifting high off the front-stretch at the start finish line.
A lap 15 restart found Barney back out front after former Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports Modified Lite Champion Shawn Sliter spun his sprint car. By lap 20 Barney and Cook had pulled away from the field setting up a 5 lap dash to the finish through lap traffic.
While Barney was able to hold off Cook – another race to watch was for third.
Two Ohsweken Speedway Corr/Pack Merchandising Sprint Car Division regulars Mitch Brown and Glenn Styres in a challenge with Brown prevailing. Jared Zimbardi rounded out the top 5.
An early race red flag stopped the event with just 3 laps complete when St. Catharines driver Chris Steele and Quebec’s Alain Bergeron came together between Turns 1 and 2. Both drivers were ok after the violent incident while both their cars suffered extensive damage.
Jamie Turner, Tommy Wickham and Barney won qualifying heats while former Rick’s Delivery Sportsman competitor Ryan Turner won the B Main in his first outing.
“If tonight had been 36 laps it might have been a different story,” said defending Pinty’s 358 Modified Champion Mat Williamson, “I’m lucky to be here.”
Coming up on slower cars late in the event had Chad Brachmann of Sanborn NY making a late race charge on the leader after taking over the runner up spot from second generation driver Jeff McGinnis of Ransomville NY on lap 28.
At the halfway point, Williamson had opened up as much as a half straightaway lead on the field.
Starting from the pole at the start, the leader probably didn’t see the racing behind him.
After a lap 1 caution, the action from Williamson on back between Scott Wood, McGinnis and Mike
Bowman let the leader pull away. After a lap 12 caution, McGinnis would settle into second spot ahead of Wood.
Once Brachmann landed in second spot, his late race charge got him to within a car length of Williamson at the finish.
Williamson and Brachmann were followed by McGinnis, Wood and Tyler McPherson.
Williamson, Bowman and McGinnis won qualifying heats.
“It’s a great way to start the season for sure,” said Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Feature Winner Gary Lindberg of Ridgeway, “right out of the box … we have the new car figured out!”
At the start of the 25 lap event, Lindberg out-raced fellow front row starter Jordan Cosco to take top spot before a lap 1 incident slowed the pace right away. Drivers involved included defending Point Champion Cody McPherson, Robert Baker and Jay Mallory with all able to continue.
Lindberg resumed the lead with Paul Gaboury quickly taking second. At the half-way point Lindberg maintained a car length advantage on Gaboury. Through increasing lap traffic however Lindberg was able to open up a comfortable lead through to the checkered flag with Chad Chevalier, Brent Begolo and Rob Knapp closing out the top 5.
Lindberg, Cosco and Knapp won qualifying heats.
From Jim Irvine, AGM, Merrittville Speedway