THOROLD, ON – Although Derek Wagner and Cody McPherson won the TUSA Modified Lite Tour and David Chevrolet King of the Crates Sportsman Events Saturday, June 16, at Merrittville Speedway – the big winner was the Canadian National Autism Foundation. Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Action also found Todd Gordon, Rob Murray and Rob Overholt visit Victory Lane in the KIDSRACE Fundraiser and Awareness Night presented by SMS Machine Tools. “Sometimes you just have to play them out and be real patient,” said Derek Wagner after winning the 25 lap TUSA Modified Lite Tour Event for the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Division, “and you try not to get tangled up.”
As Shawn Sliter was leading the field into lap traffic on lap 9, runner Derek Wagner would make up a lot of ground. By lap 16 Wagner became the new leader with the two front runners swapping top spot once before Wagner would clear the slower cars. By lap 20, Shawn would face a challenge from his nephew Josh. With one lap to go Josh Sliter would close in on Wagner to within a car length but at the finish was a couple car lengths back.
Invader Jim Bogett was first to lead before Kory Howe took control in turn 2. Quickly Shawn Sliter would catch Howe – taking over top spot out of turn 4 to complete lap 4. With Sliter pulling away from the field Howe was facing challenges from Wagner who would go on to his second win of the season.
Wagner, Josh and Shawn Sliter were followed by Paul Klager and Kory Howe. The TUSA Modified Lite Tour continues with upcoming events at the South Buxton and Brockville Speedways.
“I’ll apologize for all the Sportsman guys … it was brutal out there tonight,” were the first words from David Chevrolet King of the Crates Sportsman Series Winner Cody McPherson, “I knew that if I stuck to the bottom on the restarts – I would be in good shape.”
McPherson would have to be a king to survive the 40 lap event’s 10 cautions and 2 red flags. New Dad Brandon Easey beat Jason Moore to the green flag before caution slowed the field right away. Easey would set the pace through a number of restarts in the early going with Brad Rouse settling into second ahead of cousins BJ Willard and Cody McPherson.
Willard would grab the runner up spot on lap 11 with Rouse fighting back as caution would slow things on lap 14. With Easey out front on the restart, McPherson was the driver on the move around the outside taking second on lap 16 after restarting 4th. McPherson would get by his cousin Easey down the backstretch of lap 18 becoming the race’s second leader.
Caution would slow the field again right at halfway after front runners Rouse and Willard came together on the backstretch. The event would be slowed for the first red flag on lap 25 after Justin Sharp got out of control just before the start finish line after a rear tire went flat. Unfortunately Brad Rouse and Ron MacAulay got collected with Rouse, falling victim to the worst after rolling onto his side.
McPherson was again out front with Jim Johnstone challenging Easey for the runner up spot. Johnstone would close to within a couple car lengths with two to go but McPherson was able to stretch his lead at checkered flag.
McPherson, Johnstone and Easey were followed by Gary Lindberg and Greg Panunte.
“This is just unbelievable,” said an emotional Todd Gordon in Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Victory Lane for the second time of 2012. “When I came up on him [early leader Bill Bleich] – the lap cars may have helped … it’s been a long time since this has happened!”
Bill Bleich was first to lead the 35 lap 358 Modified Feature with his first challenge coming from Todd Gordon on lap 9. Bleich was off on his own until Gordon caught him with the two running side by side for a couple of laps.
Bleich would enjoy a reprieve on lap 15 as Gordon fell back some. By halfway, Bleich would lead the field into lap traffic with Gordon and Tim Jones from third trying the leader. Down the front stretch of lap 22, Gordon would take over top spot with Jones into second with 10 laps to go. Gordon soon pulled away from the field and with 5 to go was some 20 car lengths out front. In the closing laps Jones would have a clear track but could he close in on the leader in the caution-free event?
With two to go Jones came to within 5 cars lengths of Gordon and was closing. At the finish however, Jones fell a half car length behind.
Gordon and Jones were followed by Scott Wood, Bleich and Rob Pietz. Bryce Richardson and Jason Fontaine were in a drag race to the start finish line at the start of the 20 lap Hoosier Stock Feature with Fontaine taking control first time through turn 1.
Coming out of Turn 4 the first time the leader of the pack was Vince Fargnoli until Aaron Wiley landed into top spot. Eventually Jeff Dayman would catch Wiley – taking control of top spot along the back stretch of lap 7. Wiley would fall off the pace a couple laps later with a flat tire.
Before long Dayman was challenged by Rob Murray until Murray took top spot away. Caution lap 15 would slow the pace after Terry Ronning and Ken Sargent came together in turn 2.
Murray would set the pace on two restarts in the closing laps pulling away to a couple car lead right away – a margin he would stretch to about 5 car lengths at the finish over Dayman, Peter Reid, Chris Crawford and Kevin Knapp.
Rookie Mike Sadusek was first to lead the 15 lap Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Feature setting the pace in the early stages until slowing in Turn 4 allowing Kyle Pelrine to take over top spot.
Just prior to a lap 6 caution Rob Overholt would become the new leader after Tyler Lafantaisie would make heavy contact with Brandon Iudicianni who had spun and was facing the wrong way out of Turn 4.
With Pelrine out front on the restart, Overholt fought back regaining the lead before caution once again on lap 9.
With Overholt and Pelrine battling each other for the lead on the restart, Rocco Conte was sitting in third waiting to make his move.
Conte would get by Pelrine for the runner up spot and with two laps to go would close in on the leader – falling a ½ car length short at the finish.
“I can’t thank anybody enough … after last night,” Overholt said in Victory Lane. “If it wasn’t for Kyle [Pelrine] … I wouldn’t be here tonight!”
Overholt, Conte and Pelrine were followed by Jason Pietz and Greg Wilson.
INSIDE TRACK MOTORSPORT NEWS PIT NOTES: Chris Steele opened the night as the latest B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week after his first feature win back on June 2. The Thorold Blackhawk 50-50 was a season high of just over $1,800.00. In support of the KIDS RACE organization and the Canadian National Autism Foundation, 4 Cylinder and 358 Modified Drivers Dan Stewart and Tim Jones each carried special stickers on their cars.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY: Ball Hockey International is set to Blast Off into Summer Saturday June 23rd with all Students 18 and under admitted free with ID or in School Spirit Wear.
The Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event will feature 5 action-packed divisions including the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds, the Original Pizza Logs Sportsman, Hoosier Stocks, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites and the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions. Gates open at 5:30 with Showtime at 7 PM.
For further information on either event – call the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266 or visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com.
TUSA MODIFIED LITE TOUR EVENT for the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites (25 laps) Derek Wagner, Josh Sliter, Shawn Sliter, Paul Klager, Kory Howe, Jason Corless, Randy Hollingshead, Rob Goulding, Ray Sliter, Jr., Rick Koabel, Jeffrey May, Jim Bogett, Philip Wilson, Dan Kviring, Blair Young, Cody Fleming, Derek Bredin.
DAVID CHEVROLET KING OF THE CRATES SERIES ORIGINAL PIZZA LOGS DIRTcar SPORTSMAN FEATURE – (40 laps) Cody McPherson, Jim Johnstone, Brandon Easey, Gary Lindberg, Greg Panunte, Larry Czinege, Jesse Penner, BJ Willard, Justin Sharp, Brent Begolo, Paul Gaboury, Austin Wood, Jason Moore, Jason Farraway, Mark Chiddy, Robert Baker, Travis Miller, Paul Williamson, Tony Cowell, Rob Knapp, Adam Leslie, David Flannigan, Ron MacAulay, Brad Rouse, Chris Bellamy, Joey Mastroianni.
BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED FEATURE (35 laps) Todd Gordon, Tim Jones, Scott Wood, Bill Bleich, Rob Pietz, Pete Bi cknell, Fred Carleton, Mat Williamson, Larry Lampman, Mark D’Ilario, Travis Braun, Chris Steele, Erick Rudolph, Rick Richner, Chad Chevalier, Ken Cosgrove, Tommy Flannigan, Paul Ashton, Kenny Winnfield, Rick Hoctor, Dennis Giancola, Dave Small, Shayne Pierce.
HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) Rob Murray, Jeff Dayman, Pete Reid, Chris Crawford, Kevin Knapp, James Thompson, Jason Fontaine, Ken Sargent, Brad Sheehan, Jim Lampman, Billy Hogue, Tyler Anderson, Charlie Lynch, Bryce Richardson, Kameron Kocarik, Cory Turner, Aaron Wiley, Vince Fargnoli, Terry Larmet, Chris Schneider, Terry Ronning.
TURN 4 COLLISION 4 CYLINDER FEATURE (15 laps) Rob Overholt, Rocco Conte, Kyle Pelrine, Jason Pietz, Greg Wilson, Jason Coutu, Tony Kelly, Garnet Wilson, Mike Sadusek, Jocelyn Wiley, Chris Sheppard, Evan Curtis, Dan Stewart, Brandon Boychuck, Mike Peterson, Kourtney Kocarik, Johnathan Ayrton, Brandon Iudicianni, Tyler Lafantaisie, Mike Giberson, Jeff Larmet.
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 maybe even get a carpool together 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!
From Jim Irvine / Merrittville PR