THOROLD, ON – After winning his second Big Block Modified Feature in two weeks at Lernerville on Friday night, Mat Williamson, from St Catharines, made it a sweep of the weekend when he held off a determined Pete Bicknell to win the 35 lap 358 Modified Feature at Merrittville on Saturday, May 4th. It was the first point race at Merrittville, which opened its season last week.
Williamsons started on the pole, next to Chad Chevalier and the two swapped the lead several times in the early going before Williamson, glued to the bottom, was able to establish an advantage. By lap 10, Larry Lampman Jr, driving a Mike Bowman owned car this season, after several years with Dan Miller, took up the chase and hounded Williamson, joined by veteran Robbie Krull, driving for Harry Sittler this year, and veteran Scott Wood.
Things got more intense on a lap 18 restart for Rick Hoctor’s blown engine, with the top group now including Bicknell, who went off fifth, but began to flex his muscles, finally easing into second on lap 26. A spin on lap 27 set up the battle everyone was anticipating. With Williamson and Bicknell, side by side for the restart, it was due or die.
Williamson got a great run to pull ahead, while Lampman in third was able to worry Bicknell. Two laps later, they repeated the scenario, following a lap 29 caution. Williamson once again out-dragged Bicknell to turn one and was able to establish some daylight over the final six laps.
At the line, it was Williamson by about eight car lengths, followed by Bicknell, Lampman, Wood, and Krull to complete the top five.
Williamson observed, “I can’t thank my father enough. He and Rob Sawatsky work on the shock program and it worked great last night and tonight. These Bilstein shocks are wicked.” About the race, he noted, “It was very important starting on the pole tonight. The bottom was really good. Chad (Chevalier) was good on the outside early, but I knew it would go away eventually. I just had to keep it going. I couldn’t let him get in front of me on the bottom.”
As for the restarts, he added, “I’m getting great forward bite, and I was able to get that extra advantage going into one.”
In other action, Brad Rouse, from St Catharines, wired the field from the pole to win the 25 lap Sportsman Feature. with American invader Scott George, back in action after several years off, coming from ninth to finish second.. Defending champion Josh Sliter blew away the field in the 15 lap Mod Lite Event, while Kyle Pelrine claimed his first ever Mini Stock Feature.
In the closest race of the night, many time champ Rob Murray needed a last second burst to beat seventeen year-old James Thompson to win the Hoosier Stock Feature by .0037 seconds.
Modified: (35 laps) – 1. Mat Williamson, 2. Pete Bicknell, 3. Larry Lampman Jr., 4. Scott Wood, 5. Robbie Krull, 6. Chris Steele, 7. Chad Chevalier, 8. Erik Rudolph, 9. Tommy Flannigan, 10, Fred Carleton, 11. Shayne Pierce, 12. Bill Bleich, 13. Mike Bowman, 14. Brandon Easey, 15. Danny O’Brien, 16. Mark D’Ilario, 17. Tyler McPherson, 18. Bill Bleich Jr., 19. Ken Winfield, 20. Rick Hoctor, and 21. Todd Gordon. Heat winners were Williamson, Chevalier, and Lampman.
Sportsman: (25 laps) – 1. Brad Rouse, 2. Scott George, 3. Gary Lindberg, 4. Greg Panunte, 5. Cody McPherson, 6. BJ Willard, 7. Justin Sharp, 8. Jason Farraway, 9. Boyd MacTavish, 10. Adam Leslie, 11. Austin Wood, 12. Shawn Sliter, 13. Jason Moore, 14. Paul Gaboury, 15. Dan Miller, 16. George Bosse, 17. Rob Knapp, 18. Joey Mastroianni, 19. Robbie Rounce, 20. Travis Miller, 21. Ron MacAuley, 22. Paul Williamson, 23. Jordan Cosco, and 24. Robert Baker. Heat winners were Rouse, Panunte, Willard, and Leslie. Consi winner was Rounce.
Mod Lites: (15 laps) – 1. Josh Sliter, 2. Paul Klager, 3. Jason Corless, 4. Rick Koabel, 5. Jeff May, 6. Randy Hollingshead, 7. Kory Howe, 8. Dylan Davidson, 9. Ray Sliter Jr., and 10. Evan Leonard. Heat winners were Klager and Corless.
Hoosier Stocks: (20 laps)- 1. Rob Murray, 2, James Thompson, 3. Pete Reid, 4. Cory Turner, 5. Brad Sheehan, 6. Ryan Turner, 7. Jason Fontaine, 8. Mark Fawcett, 9. Marcel Michaud, 10. Mike Green, 11. Jim Lampman, 12. Paul Reichel, 13. Kevin Knapp, and 14. Bryce Richardson. Heat winners were Lampman and Murray.
4 Cylinders: (15 laps) 1. Kyle Pelrine, 2. Rob Overholt, 3. Rocco Conte, 4. Evan Curtis, 5. Dillan Sliter, 6. Tyler Lafantaisie, 7. Tony Kelly, 8. Kyle Rothwell, 9. Mike Sadusek, 10. Chris Laskey, 11. Sam Iftody, 12. Kourtney Kocarik, 13. Nathan Monahan, 14. John Janssens, 15. Garnet Wilson, 16. Bob Gill, 17. Kyle Haynes, 18. Kevin Conley, 19. Greg Wilson, 20. Mike Giberson, 21. Jason Coutu, 22. Terry Larmet, 23. Jeff Larmet, and 24. Chris Sheppard. Heat winners were Kelly, Overholt, Conley, and Greg Wilson.
By: Dave Sully
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