After a front stretch redraw prior to the featured event, Brandon Iudiciani was scheduled to start on the pole however issues with his car saw him drop to the rear of the field before the initial green flag. He would later report on his Face Book that the car overheated right away which saw Kyle Pelrine and Tony Kelly as the new front row. Kelly would grab the lead right away and by lap 5 had opened up a comfortable lead on the field.
Into lap traffic by lap 9, second place runner Rocco Conte had closed somewhat on the leader eventually coming to within a car length of stop spot. Down the backstretch of lap 12 Conte would challenge Kelly on the inside and edged into top spot but Kelly was able to power back out front until a caution on lap 16 slowed the field. Kelly was back out front on restart with Conte again trying the inside groove in the battle for top spot.
At the finish it Kelly by at most a car length with Conte and Pelrine as the top 3. Rob Goulding made a return to the division to take 4th with Rob Overholt in 5th. After an impressive 360 in Turn 4 celebrating his first win since May 5th, Kelly commented, "I guess I had the preferred line ... and away we went. It was a little longer than our regular events - all we did different was a little different tire pressures - and that was it!"
After being announced as the 2012 Turn 4 Collision Triple Crown Series Champion, Conte added, "that was a great race with Tony - clean door to door racing ... that's what it's all about. We've never won the Triple Crown before - we've been close but always had some trouble."
"I have to thank my Mom, Dad and Sister and our sponsors - I wouldn't be here without them!" thanked first time J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature Winner Dillan Sliter, "we have been working really hard on the set up of the car the last little while - I think I am getting the hang of it now."
The Sliter's hard work showed during the last half of the Feature as the new 16 year old's car was on the move. His first career win was quite a celebration with family friends and supporters just two days after his birthday. Sliter took over top spot from early leader Randy Hollingshead down the backstretch of lap 10 and once out front the third generation driver drove away from the field to a lead of some 10 car lengths at the finish.
It almost looked like Sliter's Birthday Cake was in Turn 4 prior to the start of the event as a fuel leak in the Jeff May car left fuel on the track. The CAA Niagara Tow Truck Crew lit the fuel to burn it off prior to the start of the event. Hollingshead was the intital leader before Sliter took control and after a late race charge by Sliter's cousin Josh Sliter had to settle for third. Kory Howe and Jason Corless closed out the top 5.
Bryce Richardson was first to lead the 20 lap Hoosier Stock Feature with the rookie's pace slowed after the first lap after Ken Sargent spun his car in Turn 4 after a number of cars came together back in the pack. James Thompson was the new leader on the restart with Ryan Turner battling for top spot until a lap 8 caution again slowed the field.
With Thompson out front once again, the challenger was Peter Reid who took over top spot after Thompson slowed off the pace out of Turn 4 of lap 10. Quickly Reid would now be challenged by Rob Murray with the
point leader gaining the advantage on lap 14. Reid never lost sight of Murray with the two soon side by side until Reid regained the lead exiting Turn 4 of lap 16. In the closing laps Reid was able to hold off one final challenge from Murray.
When Reid came to a stop in Victory Lane, the three time winner pulled a small piece of body work from Murrray's car out of his rear quarter panel, "Everyone's been trying to figure out what's making them (Murray and Brad Sheehan's cars) so fast ... I figured I would take a piece home and see if I could figure it out ... we all touched and we all backed off - it's just good short track racing!" Reid and Murray were followed by Thompson, Brad Sheehan and Billy Hogue.
Just as Robert Baker took control of the 25 lap Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Feature - beating front row starter Paul Williamson to the initial green flag - a caution with just one lap complete would slow the pace. The return to action was delayed after a number of cars came together back in the pack with Baker in control once again. The leader would quickly face a challenge from Brent Begolo with Cody McPherson joining in. Down the backstretch of lap 5, McPherson would go from third to first - opening up a lead of 10 car lengths by lap 10.
Just as Begolo appeared to be gaining on the leader - another caution on lap 12 slowed the event. By lap 20, McPherson had opened up a comfortable lead on Begolo with Justin Sharp a few car lengths back in third. The three frontrunners had all pulled away from the field. At the finish, McPherson, Begolo and Sharp were followed by Jim Johnstone and Gary Lindberg.
In Victory Lane for the 6th time of 2012, McPherson commented, " I can't thank Gord and Gord Sr enough ... they have struggled the last few years - so it's great to get them some wins!"
The start of the 35 lap Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature saw Fred Carleton first to lead before Travis Braun took control the first time down the backstretch. Braun immediately drove away to a huge lead on the field. By lap 10 Braun was into lap traffic but didn't appear to be slowed.
With Carleton and Rick Richner as the top 3 - Mat Williamson and Larry Lampman Jr. were both challenging for third spot with the two getting by Richner just after lap 16. By lap 20, Braun's lead was almost a straightaway before a caution on lap 22 slowed the pace. Going back a lap on the restart it was Braun back in control and off to
a good lead once again until lap 24 when Fred Carleton slowed off the pace dropping out of second spot causing another caution. Braun resumed control of top spot on the restart with Williamson, Chad Chevalier and Pete Bicknell overtaking Lampman. Braun would open up a lead of 5 car lengths on Williamson by lap 30 - one that he would hold through to the finish. Behind Braun and Williamson, Bicknell would take third with Chevalier and Lampman as the top 5.
"Thanks to the crew ... they work so hard on this car," thanked Braun in Victory Lane, "we have this kind of track figured out ... I wish we could get it right when it's different conditions."
INSIDE TRACK MOTORSPORT NEWS PIT NOTES: Avondale Food Stores Night began with Tim Jones announced as the lastest B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week after his win back on August 4th's Miller's Auto Recyclers Night.
Merrittville Speedway would like to thank all those that participated in the Best Appearing Dog Contest.
From Jim Irvine/ Merrittville Speedway
Kelly Wins Triple Crown Finale at Merrittville SpeedwayWritten by Wally Nesbitt on Monday, 20 August 2012 14:26
THOROLD, ON - While Tony Kelly won the Turn 4 Collision Triple Crown Series Finale for the 4 Cylinders at Merrittville - Rocco Conte won the 2012 Mini-Series Title in Avondale Food Stores Night at Merrittville Speedway Saturday August 18th. In other Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Action, Dillan Sliter won his first career Feature in the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division while Peter Reid, Cody McPherson and Travis Braun returned to Victory Lane in the Hoosier Stock, Original Pizza Logs Sportsman and Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Divisions, respectively.