Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action also saw Tyler Lafantaisie take the opening event in the 2013 Turn 4 Collision Triple Crown Series for the 4 Cylinders. Brad Sheehan, Jason Corless and Mike Bowman win their Features in the Hoosier Stock, , J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite and Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Divisions respectively.
"We finally had one go our way," said Cody McPherson in Rick's Delivery Sportsman Victory Lane for the first time in 2013, "we've had nothing but bad luck so far this year but tonight the car worked great and the track came to us. Hopefully we can use it to build some momentum for the rest of the season."
One of the keys to McPherson's Overall Title in 2012 had to be the David Chevrolet King of the Crates Mini-Series Title where he overcame a lot take top spot by a single point en route to the Mr. DIRTcar Title as well.
The track came to McPherson right away who took top spot from initial leader Rob Knapp the first time through Turn 1 in the 40 lap Main Event.
The first caution would slow the field on lap 4 and by lap 10 – McPherson would open up a lead of some 5 car lengths until the second caution narrowed the gap on lap 13.
Contact back in the pack between a number of cars would slow the leader for the third time with Greg Panunte now in the runner up spot after getting by Knapp just before the caution. By the halfway point, McPherson stretched his lead even more.
The race to watch was the one for the runner up spot with Knapp challenging Panunte with 15 laps to go. By lap 27 McPherson was into lap traffic but was still able to increase his lead. Gary Lindberg would soon take third spot from Knapp with caution slowing the field for the final time on lap 36.
McPherson set the pace on the restart and right away was off to a comfortable lead – one he would maintain until the finish with Greg Panunte holding off Gary Lindberg to round out the top 3. Knapp would settle for fourth with Justin Sharp in fifth.
"This division has a lot of good drivers ... it's feels good to be able to compete with them," commented Tyler Lafantaisie in Victory Lane after winning the rain-delayed 20 lap Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Triple Crown Series Opener, " running three tracks makes for a lot of maintenance ... I have three different set ups so it's a lot of work between races so thanks to everyone!"
At the drop of the green flag, Evan Curtis was the initial leader with Lafantaisie settling in about a car length behind. Quickly however Lafantaisie would challenge Curtis – taking control of top spot out of Turn 4. By the halfway point, Lafantaisie had caught lap traffic but showed no signs of slowing.
Race fans had to be keyed in to the race to fill out the Top 5 with Curtis, Rocco Conte, Tony Kelly and Kyle Pelrine at times three and four wide.
That battle would be put on pause after a lap 14 caution slowed the event with Lafantaisie back in control on the restart.
Defending Triple Crown and Overall Champion Rocco Conte would now hold down the runner up spot but in the final laps had nothing for the leader.
Lafantaisie and Conte were followed by Curtis, Pelrine, Kelly, Jason Coutu.
Mark Fawcett was first to lead the 20 lap Hoosier Stock Feature but at the first caution or at the finish the second generation driver would be put back after jumping the original start.
Fellow front row starter Rob Murray would eventually take over top spot early on until caution would slow things down on lap 4. That caution unfortunately was for Fawcett after his car rocketed off Turn 4 into the safety barriers after his throttle stuck wide open.
Fawcett was OK but his car suffered front end damage.
The restart had Murray and his step son Brad Sheehan on the front row for the restart and either one of the two were determined to hold off all challengers so Murray's famous dog Ruckus could make one last trip to Victory Lane.
The two were side by side when action resumed with Murray holding a slight lead before Sheehan would take control a couple laps later. The battle between the two raged on including slight contact.
Sheehan would keep top spot through to the finish with Murray second and James Thompson third. Pete Reid would edge Kevin Knapp who rounded out the top 5.
"When you beat Rob Murray ... it's a good night!" revealed Sheehan, "he's hard to race with. Thanks to Brian's Tire ... we couldn't do this without you and thanks as well to Baron Roofing and Terry for the extra money – we all appreciate it."
Ray Sliter Jr. was first to lead the 15 lap Feature for the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites with Kory Howe the new leader at the start-finish line to start lap 2.
By lap 3, 12 year old fourth generation driver Dylan Davidson was in the runner up spot and closing in on the leader. Davidson would take control into Turn 1 of lap 8.
With Jason Corless now in to the runner up spot, Davidson would hold the lead until Corless was able to pull alongside the much younger leader on lap 13.
Davidson however would maintain the lead until the final time through Turns 3 and 4 when Corless was able to slip by.
"That kid drove a crazy good race," remarked Jason Corless in Victory Lane," one little mistake though was all I needed."
Corless and Davidson were followed by Howe, Josh Sliter and Randy Hollingshead.
During qualifying, Mat Williamson was clocked on the Lucas Oil Live Leaderboard with a lap of 14.994 seconds – a time that would have beat standards set by Big Blocks and even Sprint Cars.
"The top is going to be fast certainly ... hopefully we can put a good show on for the fans," said Williamson after his heat.
Shayne Pierce first to lead the 35 lap Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature with Williamson quickly taking control before a lap 4 caution slowed the field for the first time.
Williamson regained top spot on the restart with Mike Bowman taking second just as a second caution slowed the pace the next lap.
Williamson was back out front on the restart but staying right with him was Bowman who took the lead down the backstretch of lap 7. Lap 17 saw Williamson make a serious challenge on Bowman as the two were coming up on slower cars. Bowman was running around the outside with Williamson trying to power underneath.
With 10 laps to go, Pete Bicknell was closing in on the two front-runners with at most a couple car lengths separating each of the top three drivers. Exiting Turn 4 to complete lap 29 Williamson got a run around the bottom with the two nearly making contact.
Through to the finish, Bowman would hold the lead over Williamson and Bicknell with Scott Wood and Chris Steele rounding out the top 5.
"That was like a 35 lap Heat Race tonight," revealed Mike Bowman in Victory Lane, "I've been struggling a lot this year so far so it feels good to be here. Thanks to the crew – they have been putting up with through a lot so far."
Baron Roofing's Terry Keegan went above and beyond with a $4,000 addition to the night's purse money which was distributed through each of the 5 Divisions. Keegan also gave away a free Baron Roof via a draw in the Grandstand with Tamara Lipscomb picked as the winner.
The bad luck continued for two drivers after Adam Leslie gently flipped the former Shawn Sliter Sportsman car in the Consi and once the car was righted ... continued but failed to qualify. A last turn incident for Dillan Sliter in the 4 Cylinder Feature saw the third generation driver examined and was OK.
David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series Opener – Rick's Delivery Sportsman DIRTcar Division – (40 laps) Cody McPherson, Greg Panunte, Gary Lindberg, Rob Knapp, Justin Sharp, Boyd MacTavish, BJ Willard, Brad Rouse, Paul Gaboury, James Friesen, Andrew Smith, Jason Moore, Jason Farraway, Jim Johnstone, Austin Wood, David Flannigan Jr., Travis Miller, Gord McIntosh, Dan Miller, Rob Clark, Joey Mastroianni, Jordan Cosco, Brent Begolo, Charlie Lynch. DNQ - Derick Hodge, Robert Baker, Chris Bellamy, Paul Williamson, Adam Leslie.
TURN 4 COLLISION 4 CYLINDER Triple Crown Series (20 laps) Tyler Lafantaisie, Rocco Conte, Evan Curtis, Kyle Pelrine, Tony Kelly, Jason Coutu, Rob Overholt, Sam Iftody, Chris Laskey, Rob Goulding, Leroy Buscumb, Nathan Monahan, Garnet Wilson, Kevin Conley, Bob Gill, Mike Sadusek, Kourtney Kocarik, Brandon Boychuck, Dillan Sliter, Greg Wilson, Mike Giberson, Kyle Haynes, Jeff Larmet, Jeff Hill, Gabriel Attalah.
HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) Brad Sheehan, Rob Murray, James Thompson, Pete Reid, Kevin Knapp, Jason Fontaine, Jim Lampman, Cory Turner, Ryan Turner, Bryce Richardson, Mike Green, Marcel Michaud, Lee Winger, Brett Robbins, Mark Fawcett.
J&S HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING MODIFIED LITE FEATURE (20 laps) Jason Corless, Dylan Davidson, Kory Howe, Josh Sliter, Randy Hollingshead, Rick Koabel, Rob Misener, Ray Sliter Jr., Evan Leonard.
BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED FEATURE (35 laps) Mike Bowman, Mat Williamson, Pete Bicknell, Scott Wood, Chris Steele, Erick Rudolph, Bill Bleich, Brandon Easey, Tim Jones, Tommy Flannigan, Robbie Krull, Todd Gordon, Ken Winfield, Shayne Pierce, Fred Carleton, Rick Hoctor, Chad Chevalier.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
SMS Machine will present the 2nd Annual KIDSRACE Event benefitting the Canadian National Autism Foundation Saturday June 15th. The 5 Division Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event will feature another Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Big 6 Series Home Track Event in the fan favorite Autograph Night.
When the Grandstands open at 5:30 - Show Time is 7:00.
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!
Boltworks will present the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Saturday June 29th in a blockbuster event that will also feature the 358 Modifieds ... Hoosier Stocks ... and the second Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College.
When the Grandstands open at 5:30 – Enjoy $1.00 Piller's Hot Dogs all night long. A FIREWORKS Display will round out the Spectacular!
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