Wednesday July 18, 2013 THOROLD, ONTARIO – Lucas Oil presented the 62nd Anniversary Nostalgia Night at Merrittville Speedway July 13th and for one driver – it was worth the 755 mile drive from his Illinois home.
“Merrittville fans are real fortunate to be able to see these old cars in action again,” commented Phil Claussen after winning the 12 lap Vintage Race Car Feature, “I had so much fun out there … I’d like to thank the Williamsons and Bicknells for having us and Congratulations to the Wall of Fame Inductees.”
Once again the event featured a mix of former race cars and replicas including the first ever showing of Duane VanAlstine’s Ivan Little 1936 Chevy Coupe replica # 61 in addition to Claussen’s 1962 Ford Falcon that is part of a Vintage Collection that he maintains for a collector near Chicago.
Also in the field was Conrad Baker (1937 Ford Coach), Ted Renshaw (1936 Chevy Coach), Hoosier Stock Competitor James Thompson in the Lloyd Holt Coupe, Chris Ketch from Erie, PA in his Gremlin Bodied # 97H, Steve Arbuthnot of Renfrew Ontario and Tim Zack.
Zack was first to lead the event before Claussen took over the first time in Turn 1 and led the entire distance including a restart after Thompson lost control of the Holt #15 between Turns 1 and 2 but was fortunate not to make contact with anything.
The final laps was not without it’s moments as Claussen was not quite used Merrittville’s unique D Shape.
As the Feature wound down, Claussen would continually get out of shape through the Turn allowing Zack to close in on the leader. The final time out of the turn both drivers would get a little out of shape but neither faltered with Claussen holding off Zack.
The night began with the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame Inductions with former drivers Lloyd Holt and Terry St. Amand introduced on the CAA Stage as the Class of 2013.
“Welcome to everyone tonight – especially our Alumni and their guests,” commented (Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee Chairman) Rick Kavanagh, “while we are all looking forward to tonight’s Inductions and a great night of racing … we have to think about Jeno Begolo who couldn’t be with us tonight – we hope to see him again soon.”
“I first came to Merrittville as a fan in the early 50’s,” remembered Lloyd Holt in an interview with Co-announcer Dana Huffman, “starting with the Jalopy Division and up – I had some great times with my brother-in-law Harvey Hainer Sr., Billy Matthews and Ray Stevens and raced against a lot of friends.”
Holt who recalled rolling his race car the first time out and refiring it to finish the event replayed many other events over his career also revealed several tricks of the sport back in the day, “we needed some speed so at first we added some moth balls to the fuel and even worked on the cylinder heads and even back then you couldn’t do that.”
Terry St. Amand’s career as a driver, car owner and sponsor also began from watching the action from the grandstands having competed in 5 different decades reflected, “I never knew when to quit racing … it’s in your blood. I’d sell all my equipment off and a few years later – I’d be back into it again. Tonight is extra special for me and my family … racing is what we do.”
For the full report from St. Catharines Standard Motorsport Columnist Joe Cassidy – click on http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2013/07/14/legends-humbled-by-honour
Holt would wave the ceremonial green flag to start the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 50 for the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds and when it was all said and done – Mike Bowman was in Victory Lane for the second time of 2013, joining third generation driver Erick Rudolph as the only repeat winner of the season.
“It’s kinda nice to hit on something,” shared Bowman who had went with his 100 lap set up, “the race track has been in great shape all year but every week it’s different and hard to figure out.”
Bowman will surely call on his 100 lap set up in about 3 weeks when the 4th Annual Bob St. Amand Senior 100 features the annual visit of the Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series – an event that Bowman dominated last season – leading the entire distance.
The event has taken place every Civic Holiday Monday since 1972 and 40 years ago saw a Merrittville Regular as the winner for the first time. That driver was Lloyd Holt.
Merrittville Speedway’s Reunion Committee of Rick Kavanagh, former drivers Ted Renshaw, Terry Huffman, Bill Willard and Jeno Begolo, Mark Swartz and the Speedway’s Erica Bicknell-Jones and Jim Irvine would like to thank all the ‘Generations’ Drivers that displayed their race cars amongst the Vintage Race Cars including the Wood Family represented by Scott and Austin in addition to Tuesday Night Karter Tucker, BJ Willard, Todd Gordon, Jason Moore, Brent Begolo, Dylan Davidson, the Sittler Family represented by second generation driver and car owner Andrew Sittler and his driver Robbie Krull and Fred Carleton in addition to L. St. Amand Enterprises, CAA Niagara and Auto FX fo0r their support of the 62nd Anniversary Reunion.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
Semenuk’s Esso and Archer Truck Services will present a Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event Saturday July 20thth that features the second round of the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Triple Crown Series in addition to action in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds, Rick’s Delivery Sportsman, Hoosier Stock and J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Divisions.
The Grandstand Gates open at 5:30. Showtime is 7:00.
For further information – call the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266 or visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com.For directions to Merrittville Speedway click on www.merrittvillespeedway.com/track_map
For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 62nd Consecutive Season in 2013 – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com. Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book (Facebook.com/Merrittville Speedway) and Twitter (Twitter.com/Merrittville)
Join us this season on a Saturday Night for a LUCAS OIL WEEKLY RACING SERIES EVENT featuring FIVE Divisions with local heroes and up and coming new stars. Make your plans … call your friends and enjoy a staycation at the speedway with plenty of free parking and camping spots – a night at the races is so much fun and so close to home!
Your Local Dirt Track is where it’s at and the countdown to Monday August 5th’s 100 lap Bob St. Amand Senior Memorial Big Block Super DIRTcar Series Event has begun at Merrittville Speedway – the Best Family Entertainment in Niagara!
MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY SPONSORS The 2013 62nd Anniversary Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series for Merrittville Speedway’s 5 Divisions is brought to race fans and racers by division sponsors – Bobcat of Hamilton, Rick’s Delivery, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning, Hoosier Tire Canada and Turn 4 Collision in addition to many marketing partners Visit them at . http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/sponsors.htm and visit them when you require their products and/or services.
Lucas Oil Products is one the fastest growing additive lines in the consumer automotive industry featuring a premium line of oils, greases and problem solving additives. Through innovative product research and development along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil Products has established itself as the top selling additive in the industry.
Look for Lucas Oil Products at your favorite automotive retailer or maintenance centre including B&C Truck Centre, Drummond Home Hardware, KC Auto Parts, RCM Racing Equipment and Tim Phillips Garage
From: Jim Irvine/ Assistant General Manager- Merrittville Speedway