OHSWEKEN, ON – Ohsweken Speedway saw two first-time winners visit the Engine Pro Racing Winner’s Circle on Friday night, as Travis Cunningham finally got a long-overdue Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car win, and Jack Myers won the Lighthouse Tattoos Thunder Stock feature. Derek Wagner won the Modified Lite Stars International Championship Tour feature for the second week in a row, as did Karl Sault in the HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, while Max Chechalk got another Pierced Parts Bombers win.
CORR/PAK MERCHANDISING SPRINT CARS Shane Ross and Jim Huppunen began the Sprint Car feature on the front row, and the rookie Ross took an early lead, while Keith Dempster and Travis Cunningham shuffled Huppunen to fourth. Ross led the first four circuits before Dempster slipped by, but Cunningham allowed Dempster to lead only one lap before taking over out front.
The yellow flag flew on lap 9, when Chris Durand had a steering problem in turn one just as Cunningham was putting a lap on him. Durand got sideways in the corner, and Havard Daniels could not avoid a collision. Both Durand and Daniels climbed from their damage machines uninjured, but out for the night.
Cunningham remained out front on the restart, and drove to his first career win unchallenged, while Shane Ross held off Chris Steele for the second position. Dave Dykstra and Jim Huppunen rounded out the top five.
“My Dad used to always say that when the racing gods keep you down, they always give you a cookie to keep you going, and this is a pretty good cookie tonight. This win is for him. He taught me everything I know, and he got me here,” said Cunningham after the race. “This was awesome. The car was on rails. People always used to ask me if I was getting sick of not winning. I really wasn’t because I had ten second place finishes, and second pays a lot more than third. I knew it was just a matter of time, and it’s awesome that I’m standing here right now.”
Heat races for the 29-car field were claimed by Chris Steele, Mikey Kruchka, and Dave Dykstra, while Kyle Moffit won the B-Main, then charged to 10th at the finish of the A-Main.
MODIFIED LITE STARS INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR Paul Klager and Dillan Sliter started on the front row for the Mod Lite feature, but Klager led only the first lap before third place starter Tim Anderson got by. Anderson then led until lap 8, when Derek Wagner took over out front, and didn’t look back in a race that went caution-free in just over 6 minutes.
Wagner won his second consecutive feature at Ohsweken, while Anderson took the runner-up spot, followed by Josh Sliter, Dillan Sliter, and Paul Klager.
“We’ve come a long way in the last year and a half,” Wagner said. “You know, only being my second season in this car, we’ve made a lot of improvements, and a lot of changes, and it’s getting us to where we need to be.”
Heat races for the 14-car field were claimed by Shawn Sliter and Josh Sliter.
LIGHTHOUSE TATTOOS THUNDER STOCKS Blaine Barrow and Gord Bates started the Thunder Stock feature up front, but the race was quickly halted when Bates got upside down on the frontstretch, and was hit by several other cars in a wild melee. The crash took several fast cars out of contention, including Brad Herron and Mike Thorne.
The race got underway again, and eventually found 10th row starter Jack Myers and 11th row starter Devin Habiuk dueling up front, with Myers prevailing for his first-ever win. Habiuk settled for second, followed by Ryan Turner, Murray Nicholls, and Bryce Richardson.
“It feels great. I’m exhausted, but this is great,” said Myers. “I saw (Habiuk) coming down on the bottom of me, and I was just hoping the car would stick on the top, and it turned out it did, so I’m very happy.”
Heat races for the 33-car field went to Derek Miller, Brett Rodwell, Ryan Turner, and Lee Winger, while Devin Habiuk won the B-Main.
HRW AUTOMOTIVE MINI STOCKS Mike Giberson and Ethan Martin started on the front row for the Mini Stock feature, but the fastest drivers started deep in the pack and wasted little time getting to the front. Jeremy Hughes made a beeline to the front from the 10th row, and again looked like the driver to beat until a caution late in the race, and Karl Sault made the most of the opportunity to get around Hughes for the second week in a row. Sault took the win, followed by Jeremy Hughes, Steve Hess, Dan Erskine, and 11th row starter Mike Evers.
“We’ve got this car tuned in,” said Sault. “It handles great. We had some problems with the suspension before. It kept bottoming out and getting loose in the corners, but we’ve got that figured out, and now it’s dialed in.”
Heat races for the 29-car field were claimed by Ethan Martin, Chase Hess, Rob Slater, and Doug Erskine, while Jason Lungaro won the B-Main.
PIERCED PARTS BOMBERS Mark Bazuin and Davey Boughton started at the front of the Bombers feature, and it looked like the race would be settled between Boughton and Brady Longboat, who fought for every inch of space on the infield oval, while trading the top spot. A caution flag bunched the field, and allowed fourth row starter Max Chechalk into the fight. Chechalk took advantage of the opportunity, and got by for his third win of the season. Longboat settled for another runner-up finish, followed by Kathi Dickie, Boughton, and Dusty DeBoer.
“It was pretty crazy in front of me,” Chechalk said in victory lane. “I thought those two had me beat for sure. I couldn’t keep up before that caution.”
Heat races for the 17-car field were claimed by Davey Boughton and Craig Dowd.
NEXT WEEK AT OHSWEKEN: Wiseco Piston and Evers Financial present “Mid-Season Championship Night” next Friday, July 13. The Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprints, Lighthouse Tattoos Thunder Stocks, HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, and Pierced Parts Bombers are all part of round 7 of Friday Night Thunder, along with a visit by the Vintage Cars. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. with racing starting at 7:45 p.m.!
By Tommy Goudge / Ohsweken Speedway