THOROLD, ON – Pete Bicknell, Cody McPherson, Ken Sargent, Josh Sliter and Rocco Conte blasted off into summer – scoring feature wins in Ball Hockey International’s June 23rd Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event at Merrittville Speedway. “It was fun doing that criss crossing and changing lanes,” informed Pete Bicknell after winning the 35-lap Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature, “we touched a little but it was good racing. We’ve been working on the track and it’s tough with the weather as it’s been but it was smooth right from top to bottom with the dust coming from the corners … the straight aways were still tacky .”
Bicknell’s comments came after a pair of classic slide jobs as the 20-time point champion and Tommy Flannigan exchanged blows battling for top spot.
Bicknell’s first time as leader came after a lap 15 restart after beating then-leader Ken Cosgrove into the first turn. Cosgrove had taken the lead the first time down the backstretch from initial leader Chad Chevalier.
With Bicknell out front, Flannigan quickly was into the runner up spot some 5 car lengths behind the leader by lap 20. Flannigan would close but by lap 25 – Bicknell once again had a comfortable lead.
Caution was what the field needed to catch back up and that would come on lap 28.
Evenly side by side at the start finish line on the restart – Flannigan charged into top spot out of Turn 2 – setting the pace until the same spot on lap 30 when Bicknell repayed the favor to Flannigan.
With Bicknell out front, the new driver in the runner up spot was Larry Lampman. Once again, caution was what Lampman would need to catch the leader – the final one setting up a one lap dash to the checkered flag.
Bicknell would cross the stripe first with Lampman a couple car lengths behind with Flannigan settling for third. Tim Jones took fourth with Mike Bowman making a late race charge to close out the top 5.
“This car takes a few laps to get wound up,” said Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Feature Winner Cody McPherson. “I knew what BJ had in his car … I needed to stay to the top side.” McPherson said, now a 5-time winner took the lead from Mark Chiddy after a lap 11 restart. Chiddy – fresh off his first career win at Humberstone Speedway 24 hours ago took the lead from Dave Flannigan Jr.
After a lap 15 caution, action back in the pack had cars three and four wide for position allowing McPherson to open up a lead of 10 car lengths. A lead that went away after the night’s only red flag on lap 22.
Paul Williamson and Paul Gaboury came together right into the entrance of Turn 1 – tearing a wheel off Gaboury’s car and moving the plastic barriers. Williamson was sent to the pits for the incident.
McPherson would hold off challenges from his cousin BJ Willard with Chiddy setting for third ahead of Tyler McPherson and Brad Rouse.
“We’ve been struggling so far and I don’t know why,” commented Ken Sargent in Hoosier Stock Victory Lane. “We just can’t seem to finish a race. We just keep plugging away … we still have a lot of catching up to do!”
Merrittville co-announcer Clint Geoffrey reminded Sargent of his start last season and his mid season charge to the championship.
Rookie Aaron Wiley was first to lead the 20 lap Hoosier Stock Feature – setting the pace until Sargent took control on lap 8.
Through to the finish, Sargent would hold the lead with Jason Fontaine, Brad Sheehan, Kevin Knapp and Rob Murray doing the catching up to close out the top 5.
“I love it when it’s slick,” said Josh Sliter after winning the 20 lap J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature, “the slicker the better for this car … thanks to everyone for all they do – especially Noah tonight for doing my tires!”
Sliter made up a lot of ground in the early stages – catching leader Jason Corless before a lap 15 caution. On the restart, Sliter was now in top spot with Corless losing a battle for runner up spot to Derek Wagner on lap 17.
Corless had taken the lead from Jeffrey May after a lap 3 restart. May took control from rookie Philip Wilson who took the initial lead at the start.
Once Sliter was out front, he was able to drive away from Wagner who settled for second with Corless third. Kory Howe and Shawn Sliter rounded out the top 5.
“In the heat … the car didn’t want to turn,” informed Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Feature Winner Rocco Conte. “I have to thank Kyle Pelrine for this one tonight … I broke an oil line and he lent me one!”
Jason Coutu was first to lead the 15 lap Feature before Chris Sheppard took control. The third lead change in the early going saw Brandon Iuducianni take control. While all the action was going on at the front of the pack, Rocco Conte was on the move and into second by lap 5.
By halfway, Conte and Iuducianni were side by side with Iuducianni holding the edge. Conte was able to take over top spot just before completing lap 10.
With three laps to go Coutu was back into the runner up spot with a last lap caution setting up a one lap dash to the checkered flag.
Conte resumed control and would maintain a couple car advantage at the finish with Coutu settling for second. Tony Kelly, Iuducianni and Kyle Pelrine would close out the top 5.
INSIDE TRACK MOTORSPORT NEWS PIT NOTES
Derek Wagner was announced as the latest B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week. Kim MacAulay – wife of Original Pizza Logs Sportsman competitor Ron MacAulay won the Thorold Blackhawk 50-50 Draw taking home more than $1,200.00.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
Make plans now for quite a Canada Day Celebration on Saturday, June 30, when Boltworks presents the Gary Cunningham Memorial for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints! Rounding out the Celebration are the 358 Modifieds … Hoosier Stocks and the second Grantham Lions Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College. If that isn’t hip enough for you … come hungry cause it’s Piller’s $1 Hot Dog Night in the Grandstand. Firemaster Productions will close things out with a FIREWORKS Display that you have to see!
Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Facebook (Facebook.com/Merrittville Speedway) and Twitter (Twitter.com/Merrittville).
BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED FEATURE – (35 laps) Pete Bicknell, Larry Lampman, Tommy Flannigan, Tim Jones, Mike Bowman, Mat Williamson, Ken Cosgrove, Chris Steele, Mark D’Ilario, Scott Wood, Rob Pietz, Fred Carleton, Rick Richner, Travis Braun, Todd Gordon, Steven Schumacher, Dave Small, Paul Ashton, Shayne Pierce, Dennis Giancola, Kenny Winnfield, Rick Hoctor, Chad Chevalier, Bill Bleich.
ORIGINAL PIZZA LOGS DIRTcar SPORTSMAN FEATURE – (25 laps) Cody McPherson, BJ Willard, Mark Chiddy, Tyler McPherson, Brad Rouse, David Flannigan, Greg Panunte, Gary Lindberg, Rob Knapp, Brandon Easey, Brent Begolo, Darrell Farraway, Adam Leslie, Joey Mastroianni, Justin Sharp, Jim Johnstone, Larry Czinege, Robert Baker, Jason Moore, Jason Farraway, Austin Wood, Travis Miller, Ron MacAulay, Chris Bellamy, Paul Gaboury, Tony Cowell, Paul Williamson, Jesse Penner.
HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE – (20 laps) Ken Sargent, Jason Fontaine, Brad Sheehan, Kevin Knapp, Rob Murray, Aaron Wiley, James Thompson, Pete Reid, Cory Turner, Billy Hogue, Jeff Dayman, Chris Crawford, Barry Blanchard, Charlie Lynch, Tyler Anderson, Jim Lampman, Ryan Turner, Mark Fawcett, Terry Ronning, Kameron Kocarik, Bryce Richardson, Bob McNamara.
J&S HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING MODIFIED LITES – (20 laps) Josh Sliter, Derek Wagner, Jason Corless, Kory Howe, Shawn Sliter, Robert Goulding, Ray Sliter, Jeffrey May, Randy Hollingshead, Rick Koabel, Philip Wilson, Blair Young, Dillan Sliter, Greg Mills, Derek Bredin.
TURN 4 COLLISION 4 CYLINDER FEATURE – (15 laps) Rocco Conte, Jason Coutu, Tony Kelly, Brandon Iuducianni, Kyle Pelrine, Chris Sheppard, Chris Laskey, Mike Sadusek, Greg Wilson, Evan Curtis, Jason Pietz, Mike Giberson, Brandon Boychuck, Kourtney Kocarik, Ron Overholt, Garnet Wilson.
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 / Assistant General Manager