August 29, 2013 THOROLD, ONTARIO – In 62 years of racing at Merrittville Speedway there have been many close point races that weren’t decided until the final points event. When Brian’s Tire Repair hosts the 2013 Championship Chase finale Saturday August 31st … Championships in three divisions could go right down to the final lap.
In recent years, 2006 Sportsman Champion Wayne Conn edged Alan Sleight by a single point, In 2008, Mike Bowman went into the final point night two points ahead of Tyler McPherson en route to the Sportsman Title.
Fast forward to this Saturday August 31st and one of the battles to watch is between best of friends Evan Curtis and Kyle Pelrine in the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division where the two are tied.
Evan Curtis and Kyle Pelrine are good friends during the week, but at the racetrack they are in a fight that will produce only one winner.
After 17 weeks of battling back and forth, the mini stock drivers are tied in points with 700 and have just one race left to decide the Merrittville Speedway track championship.
“We work together, drive to work together and are good friends, so when we bang each other at the track it is tough at work on Mondays,” Pelrine said as he worked on his No. 47X 1980 Mustang in pit row Saturday night. “When the helmets are on, we are racing; when they are off we are friends.
Pelrine only started racing in the mini stock division six years ago and has four feature wins this year.
Not only is Curtis his No. 1 competitor, but is also the main reason Pelrine is at the track in the first place.
“I actually started racing because of Evan Curtis,” the 27-year-old Smithville resident said. “He was my friend and I watched him doing it, thought it would be cool and I really enjoy it.
“Without my crew and friends, I couldn’t get everything done and the car ready. I have to thank my parents, Lorraine and Eugene Pelrine, Kevin Ashley, Pierre Berube, and Brian and Desiree Halliwell.”
Eight years ago, Evan Curtis started racing mini stock with the help of his parents, Baden and Tina Curtis, his wife, Megan Curtis, and his main sponsor, Frank Serravalle. Until this year, he had some good runs but nothing compares to 2013 and the ecstasy of five feature wins with his No. 2EZ 1980 Mustang.
“It would mean a lot to me and my family to win the championship,” the 27-year-old Port Colborne resident said. “The last couple of weeks, he (Pelrine) has been pushing on me a little harder and I haven’t been liking it too much, but I express my way with words instead of running into him and stuff like that.
“It is really coming down to the wire.”
The whole 2013 season has been a changing of the guard in the mini stock division. From 2007-2012, the track title was claimed by Volkswagen drivers, so it is a treat to see the North American cars running at the front again.
“It is nice to see the Mustangs battle it out for the championship,” Pelrine said. “This might be considered an entry level division, but there is nothing entry about it.”
While Curtis and Pelrine look to take each other on for top spot … they will have to keep an eye on Rob Overholt and Tyler Lafantaisie as well. In addition to the tie for first – the others are tied for third just four points off the lead so it could be either ot the four on top when the checkered flag falls.
For full fendered fans, the battle for top spot in the Hoosier Stock Division will go right down to the end as well with Kevin Knapp leading multi-time Champion Rob Murray by eight points.
The same margin seperates defending Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Champion Cody McPherson and challenger Gary Lindberg.
While the two are almost 70 points ahead of Brad Rouse and can’t be caught – the race to close out the top five will be one to watch as well with recently crowned David Chevrolet King of the Crates Champion Greg Panunte just two points behind Rouse. BJ Willard is just 2 points behind Panunte.
Multi-time Champion Josh Sliter clinched the Points Title last week but the Port Colborne driver and the rest of the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites will use the final point night to get ready for next weekend’s two day International Championship Weekend when the best Modified Lite Drivers from across North America pay their annual visit.
Brian’s Tire Repair Night annually features the 50 lap John Spencer Memorial for the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds and with Pete Bicknell already clinching his 23rd Points Title – it should be quite a race in the final points event of 2013.
Although defending Race Winner Mike Bowman goes into the night 80 points out of first – he is in quite a points race with Scott Wood just eight points behind and Mat Williamson trailing by 15.
“You really can’t ask for better circumstances,” anticipates Merrittville GM Erica Bicknell-Jones, “with the three races as close as they are …. and other divisions to settle … throw in our Autograph night … race fans can look forward to quite a FAN-tastic night.”
Brian’s Tire is a full service tire shop. They provide quality products and services to each and every customer. Their friendly and qualified staff work hard to ensure that each visit is an enjoyable experience for their repeat customers. Whether you’re looking for new or gently used tires Brian’s Tire is well suited to meet all your needs.
Call Brian’s Tire 24 Hour Emergency Service number at 905-646-7508 for mobile service as well or visit their newly expanded and renovated St. Catharines location at 3 Petrie Street and on line at http://brianstirerepair.com.
When the gates open Saturday August 31st – the grandstand front gate area should have quite a display of race cars as Team Brian’s Tire is well represented throughout all divisions Saturday Nights and in Kart Racing Tuesday Nights as well. Showtime 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!
Your Local Dirt Track is where it’s at and the countdown to the 2013 Smash-o-Rama featuring the Enduro 100 accelerated by Niagara College and Monster Trucks has begun at Merrittville Speedway – the Best Family Entertainment in Niagara!
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