THOROLD, ON – Todd Gordon was the BIG Winner on July 28 at Merrittville Speedway, winning his third Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature of 2012. Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action also found Brandon Easey, Peter Reid, Josh Sliter and Rob Overholt visit Victory Lane in the MT Bellies BIG Food BIG Fun Night presented by Hingston Metal Fabricators.
“This is just awesome … I can’t thank Merrittville and everyone that does this enough … especially my crew … this is just awesome,” said now three-time 2012 Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature Winner Todd Gordon. “I was a little worried about the lap cars but they did a great job!”
Gordon got the jump on early leader Shayne Pierce on a lap 5 restart after third generation driver Erick Rudolph slowed with engine problems. Immediately, Gordon ran away to a comfortable lead over Rick Richner who had taken over the runner up spot. By the halfway point, Gordon had stretched his lead to some 20 car lengths with Richner having the same margin over Bill Bleich in third.
To lap 20, Richner and Bleich closed in on the leader and two laps later with Gordon into lap traffic. Richner closed right in on Gordon’s rear bumper. As quickly as that happened however, Gordon was able to put some lap cars between the two.
When they cleared the slower cars, Richner and Bleich still closed with Bleich taking over second on lap 29. Caution on lap 31 slowed the field with Gordon in control on the restart. With three laps to go Pete Bicknell was now in the runner up spot but at the finish could only close to within a couple car lengths.
Gordon and Bicknell were followed by Bleich, Chris Steele and Richner.
“It was a good run tonight … I wasn’t gonna give up the top – it was too good up there,” said a relieved Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Feature Winner Brandon Easey,” it’s been a rough go lately – I have been tearing this car to pieces … this one’s for Gord and the McIntoshes!”
Two unfortunate incidents involving Easey and BJ Willard have shaped both drivers’ seasons to date and it was after a lap 17 restart that Willard would be the challenger to leader Easey. Easey had taken over top spot from Jason Farraway on lap 13 after Larry Czinege took control at the drop of the green.
Just as Easey was about to lead the field into slower cars the lap 17 caution would find Easey and Willard as the top 2. Easey was back out front when racing resumed with Willard pulling alongside.
The two cousins would battle side by side swapping the lead several times before Easey would open up a couple car lead on lap 21.
At the finish, Easey and Willard were followed by Brad Rouse, Gary Lindberg and Jason Moore “I saw him loose,” said Hoosier Stock Feature Winner Pete Reid of the last lap incident with Jim Lampman, “I didn’t want to spin him out … but we were both racing for the win!”
Reid had taken control of second spot on lap 15 and on after a lap 18 restart got together with Lampman in Turn 4 of lap 19. Reid would take control of top spot with Aaron Wiley now second and Lampman falling to third.
Prior to the last lap incident, Lampman had set the pace following a lap 6 restart after edging ahead of Wiley. Wiley had taken over top spot from initial leader Jason Fontaine who retired to the pits early.
With Wiley as leader and then Lampman, there was plenty of three and wide racing for position throughout the 24 car field from green to checkers.
Reid, Wiley and Lampman were followed by Jeff Dayman and Chris Crawford.
“I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and it will take care of itself,” said J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature Winner Josh Sliter,” we made some changes to the car … I just can’t do anything wrong!”
Sliter was referring to the points race shaping up between himself and Derek Wagner after winning his 5th straight feature.
Sliter stormed into second spot after a lap 3 restart – eventually landing in a side by side battle with Jason Corless for top spot. Corless had just taken over top spot from Josh’s dad Ray Sliter Jr. The younger Sliter and Corless were in a see saw battle for the lead until Sliter settled into a comfortable lead.
Caution would slow the field once again on lap 8 with Sliter back out front once again. Along the backstretch of lap 10 Wagner would take control of second spot before caution slowed the event once more.
Sliter was in control once again with Wagner clipping the guardrail with two laps to go. Wagner slowed slightly holding managed to hold on to second at the finish.
Sliter and Wagner were followed by Corless, Dillan Sliter and Derek Moore “I felt a little tap just before the last caution,” said a relieved Rob Overholt back in Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Victory Lane, “it was a perfect track … nice and tacky!”
Overholt took the lead the first time down the backstretch from Chris Sheppard with Garnet Wilson eventually taking control of second. Right away Wilson tried to challenge the leader with the top 2 cars soon pulling away from the field.
A three wide battle for third spot quickly developed between Brandon Iudicianni, Kyle Pelrine and Mike Sadusek with Rocco Conte soon joining in. While this was going on, Wilson really began to challenge Overholt – even pulling even with two laps to go.
The last lap caution unfortunately was for Sadusek after the rookie’s VW lost a right rear axle in Turn 4.
In the one lap dash to the checkers, Overholt was able to hold off Wilson who was able to hold off Conte as well. Pelrine and Jason Coutu rounded out the top 5.
INSIDE TRACK MOTORSPORT NEW PIT NOTES
Fort Erie’s Art Kennedy – good friends with Rob Overholt was also a BIG Winner – taking home more than $ 1200 as the winner of the Thorold Blackhawk’s 50-50 Draw. Hingston Metal Fabricators provided each Feature Winner with a Cash Bonus.
James Thompson was the latest driver named B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week after his first Hoosier Stock Feature Win in July 21st’s Semenuk’s Esso Archer Truck Services Night.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
The Civic Holiday Doubleheader at Merrittville Speedway kicks off Saturday August 4th with Miller’s Auto Recyclers presenting the $1,000 to win 50 lap David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series Finale plus a Stars North Tour Series Event for the Modified Lites, 358 Modifieds, Hoosier Stocks and the final Grantham Lions Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College. Gates open at 5:30 with Showtime at 7 PM.
Action returns Monday August 6th with L. St. Amand Enterprises presenting the 3rd Annual Bob St. Amand Sr. Memorial 100 lap Big Block Super DIRTcar Series Event. Rounding out the special event will be another Duel on the Dirt Big 6 Series Home Track Event for the Hoosier Stocks.
Gates will open at the special time of 4 PM with hot laps at 6:45 and Time Trials at 7 PM. For further information on either event – call the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266 or visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com.
From Jim Irvine / Assistant General Manager