THOROLD, ON – The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints made quite a return to Merrittville Speedway on Saturday, June 30, with Lance Yonge taking home the Gary Cunningham Memorial A Main Victory.
In other Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action, in the Boltworks Canada Day Celebration, Fred Carleton, Chris Crawford and Max Chechalk also visited Victory Lane in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds, Hoosier Stocks and the second Grantham Lions Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College.
Prior to the A Main for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints, many of the 36 sprint car drivers in attendance collected donations throughout the overflowing crowd. The McNally House Hospice in Hamilton was the big winner with a donation to be made in memory of Gary Cunningham made in the amount of $1,360.
“I didn’t qualify and that really stinks but I just can’t thank this crowd enough,” said an overwhelmed Travis Cunningham. “Your generosity and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated … everyone’s having a great time tonight … it’s a great tribute to my Dad!”
For a complete recap of the 25 lap A Main click on http://www.empiresupersprints.com/2012Tour/Results/Merrittville063012.html. Further information to follow at press time.
Yonge was followed by Glenn Styres, Chris Steele, Justin Barger and Shawn Donath. “It’s pretty cool to wind up third,” said Chris Steele in Victory Lane. “It’s Gary’s race … I’m sure he would appreciate seeing us with a podium finish!”
On the night that was Piller’s $1 Hot Dog Night, it seemed fitting that Fred Carleton would put his Niagara Ice Dogs # 96 into Victory Lane for the first time of 2012.
“Thanks to my son Freddie,” Carleton said in Victory Lane after a Captain Morgan imitation on the roof of his car. “I was going to take some gear out … and he says to leave it in and work the throttle … this one’s for my friend Lisa who passed away this week!”
Carleton was definitely working the throttle as he would challenge early leader Chad Chevalier for the runner up spot just past the halfway point. The first half of the 35-lap Feature saw Chevalier in quite a battle with Rick Richner who was the initial leader before Shayne Pierce took control the first time down the backstretch.
Pierce pulled away to a comfortable lead until Chevalier caught up and became the new leader on lap 7 with Richner quickly back out front before caution slowed the field twice in as many laps.
Richner and Chevalier ran side by side on each restart with Richner holding a slight advantage – one that would become almost a full straightaway with the event past 20 laps. Another caution on lap 26 now found Richner and Carleton side by side until contact between the two almost meant disaster for the two leaders.
Richner would slow allowing Carleton to take over top spot until caution once again on lap 30. Before racing resumed a scorer’s nightmare took place with caution delaying the action with three separate incidents spread around the racing surface. Most notably involved were Travis Braun and Chad Chevalier who had come together just before Turn 3.
Carleton would resume control and to the finish enjoyed a couple car lead over Richner with Pete Bicknell, Tim Jones and Larry Lampman closing out the top 5.
With some track grooming taking place prior to the Hoosier Stock Feature – the feature line up ran a number of laps under yellow to finish running the track in. Merrittville Speedway would like to thank the drivers for their help prior to the green flag.
Once the green was thrown by Starter Doug Leonard, it was Charlie Lynch out front with a couple of early cautions slowing the pace. The second incident involved point leaders Rob Murray and Kevin Knapp with both able to continue.
With Lynch out front, the battle for second saw Aaron Wiley and Billy Hogue quickly joined by Chris Crawford before a lap 6 caution slowed the field once more.
Another caution right away found Crawford and Hogue as the top 2 with Crawford in control on the restart. Crawford would drive off to a comfortable lead before a final caution with 5 laps to go delayed action 3 and 4 wide back in the pack.
“Finally,” said a relieved Crawford in victory lane for the second time in 24 hours after winning Friday Night at Humberstone Speedway. “It’s been a rough couple weeks. My crew Shawn and Johnny – they don’t listen to me complain, they just keep working away – thanks to everyone that helps especially Thorold Auto Parts and to everyone that puts up with me … especially my wife and kids!”
Crawford was followed by Hogue, Murray, Lynch and Brad Sheehan.
Jack Myers was first to lead the 25 lap Grantham Lions Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College – taking the 43 car field into lap traffic almost right away.
That would mean disaster for the former Hoosier Stock competitor though after contact with one found Glen Hils as the new leader.
Hils also met with disaster – slowing out of Turn 4 to complete lap 9 with Tim Farrell now in control. Just before a red flag on lap 15 for stranded cars – Max Chechalk became the new leader – opening up about a half lap lead by the checkered flag.
INSIDE TRACK MOTORSPORT NEWS PIT NOTES
William Reid of Thorold went home maybe the biggest winner of the night after winning the $ 3,080 winner’s share of the Thorold Blackhawks Modern Stucco 406 Auto Parts 50-50 Draw.
T-Shirts for the 3rd Annual Bob St. Amand Senior Memorial 100 lap Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series Event on Monday, August 6, are now available from family set up inside the Grandstand Area on Race Nights.
The night began with Jason Fontaine honored as the latest B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week after he drove to a second place finish in June 23rd’s Ball Hockey International Summer Blast Off.
LE GROUPE ULTRA TOUR OF CANADA LUCAS OIL EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS A MAIN (25 LAPS) Top 5 – Lance Yonge, Glenn Styres, Chris Steele, Justin Barger, Shawn Donath.
BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED FEATURE (35 laps) Fred Carleton, Rick Richner, Pete Bicknell, Tim Jones, Larry Lampman, Mat Williamson, Paul Ashton, Shayne Pierce, Todd Gordon, Rob Pietz, Randy Chrysler, Tommy Flannigan, Steven Schumacher, Dave Small, Travis Braun, Bill Bleich, Scott Wood, Dave Flannigan, Dennis Giancola, Rick Hoctor, Kenny Winnfield, Chris Steele, Chad Chevalier, Ken Cosgrove.
HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) Chris Crawford, Billy Hogue, Rob Murray, Charlie Lynch, Brad Sheehan, Ken Sargent, Kevin Knapp, Aaron Wiley, Jim Lampman, Vince Fargnoli, Jeff Dayman, Bryce Richardson, James Thompson, Tyler Anderson, Bob McNamara, Cory Turner, Pete Reid, Ryan Turner, Jason Fontaine, Chris Schneider, Kameron Kocarik.
GRANTHAM LIONS ENDURO QUALIFIER accelerated by NIAGARA COLLEGE – (25 laps) Top 5 Finishers – Max Chechalk, Tim Farrell, Ben Vanderwiel, Kenny Hair, Ken McLeod.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
The month of July kicks off with Modern Corporation presenting their annual Truck Show & Shine Night that also features action in all 5 Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Divisions. When the Grandstands Open at 5:30 p.m., all Truckers with a license are eligible for a $2 discount on admission. With the 3rd Annual Bob St. Amand Senior Memorial quickly coming up on the schedule, the Grand Marshall Contest will also kick off with Ballots available at the Grandstand Ticket Office. Showtime is 7 p.m.
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. Race fans and race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Facebook (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 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!
Merrittville Speedway’s Reunion Committee is preparing to host Nostalgia Night 2012 on Saturday, July 14, with Lucas Oil presenting the 61st Anniversary Celebration highlighted by the Jerry Winger Lucas Oil Slick Mist 60 for the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds plus Vintage Race Cars and the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame Inductions.
From Jim Irvine/Assistant General Manager Merrittville Speedway