Thorold, Ontario- “We’ve really got to thank our fans … it was a tough night,” expressed Merrittville Speedway co-owner and winner of the 50 lap Jerry Winger Memorial L. St. Amand Enterprises 358 Modified Feature Pete Bicknell, “we got through the first shower and thought we were clear … and then it came back – our race teams and our officials did an awesome job helping out too – without them we wouldn’t have been able to get the night in – thanks so much to everyone.”
The Hingston Metal Fabricators Night at the races that underwent some refabricating even before it started with the rain delay of the Lucas Oil Nostalgia Night hosted by Merrittville Speedway’s Reunion Committee faced two rain delays resulting in a more than 2 hour wait for each Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series division’s feature event.
When it was all said and done – Hingston Metal Fabricators showered feature winners with Cash Bonuses. Joining Bicknell in a 5 driver Victory Lane Celebration were Greg Panunte, Graham MacKay, Josh Sliter and Garnet Wilson in the L. St. Amand Enterprises 358 Modified, Original Pizza Logs Sportsman, Hoosier Stock, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions respectively.
After the first hit of rain the 2010 L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame Inductees were announced in front of the grandstands rather than the customary CAA Niagara Stage while the track was being run in. 20 years ago the tribute to Merrittville Speedway’s Alumni all began with local racing pioneer Bill Willard Senior as the first inductee. Joining his father and daughter (former Sportsman Champion) Tammy Willard is Allan Willard. Opening the inductions was former driver Bob Hatt.
For biographies on Hatt and Willard and other Alumni by Reunion Committee Chairman Rick Kavanagh visit http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/anniversary.htm.
Following the pre-race ceremony, 2009 Inductee and Pastor Howard Disher paid tribute to Alumni who have recently passed including Don Ledingham. “Gramps” and his #31 Vintage Race Car were loyal supporters of Reunion Nights and his nephew Rob Ledingham paced the start of the Jerry Winger Memorial with the car in his honour.
Joining in the main event’s parade laps were Bill Willard Senior’s grandchildren BJ Willard in his own 77Jr Sportsman and Tammy Willard in her cousin Cody’s #7.
Second generation driver Todd Gordon was first to lead the 50 lap Jerry Winger Memorial with two early cautions slowing the pace. The most notable -lap 5 when Rob Pietz made heavy contact with the front stretch wall. Just prior to the yellow flag Mat Williamson had taken over top spot with Gordon back in control on the restart. While under caution Gordon stopped on the track to point out to officials some debris before racing resumed and when it did Williamson quickly overtook Gordon once again.
Pete Bicknell joined in the battle for top spot with the front runners going three in the battle for P1. Bicknell and Williamson would take off in their own cat and mouse chase before Bicknell pulled away to a comfortable margin – all by lap 10.
Lap 11 saw another caution and on the restart it was Mike Bowman joining the Bicknell and Williamson war. Racing to the lap 20 mark Williamson again mounted another challenge but Bicknell was able to hold his own. Just prior to halfway caution once again eased the pace with rookie Chad Chevalier now sitting in third spot. Chevalier and Williamson were into quite a race for the runner up spot allowing Bicknell to pull away from the younger drivers. Chevalier eventually took the spot and with 15 laps to go was some 5 car lengths behind the leader.
With 10 laps to go the leaders were coming into lap traffic allowing Chevalier several chances to close in on the leader. At the finish however it was Bicknell in front by a car length. Bicknell, Chevalier and Williamson were followed by Mike Bowman and Scott
Rich Farraway was first to lead the 25 lap Original Pizza Logs Sportsman Feature before Jamie Gilbert took control the first time down the backstretch. An early caution slowed the pace after Ryan Susice fell victim to a flat tire. With Gilbert out front on the restart quite a battle erupted behind. Rob Knapp, Brad Rouse, Farraway and Greg Panunte were 3 and 4 wide. Approaching the half way point Panunte found himself in second although almost half a lap behind Gilbert. With 10 laps to go Panunte had made up a lot of ground and with lap traffic playing a factor – Gilbert now had Panunte right on his rear bumper. After clearing the slower cars Panunte was now out front by a half a car length at the white flag. At the checkers it was a whole car length for Panunte with Gilbert having to settle for second. Rob Knapp. Brandon Easey and Brad Rouse closed out the top 5.
The family of Don Ledingham presented Panunte with the Don Ledingham Memorial Award after his win.
“I prefer a drier track,” said a relieved Panunte post race, “it plays more into a driver’s hands then but a wins a win … we haven’t really done much since the start of the season – I didn’t think we were ever going to get back to Victory Lane.”
Ron MacAulay set the pace at the start of the Hoosier Stock Feature before Graham MacKay took control out of Turn 4 to complete lap 3. With the leader pulling away from the field – the battle for second was the one to watch between Vince Fargnoli and Al Sleight. MacKay had ran away to almost a half lap lead before caution on lap 11 slowed the event after Ed McNamara lost a wheel off his car in Turn 4.
While under caution – the event almost went under red flag conditions after a major fire developed under the hood of Charlie Lynch’s car. Lynch was able to pull off the racing surface to the aid of officials. With MacKay out front once again on the restart – Fargnoli and Sleight resumed the race for second. Quickly Ken Sargent joined in however a little too quickly as he was penalized two spots for being out of line in the return to racing.
Sleight would eventually shake Fargnoli but could not catch MacKay by the finish. “I really didn’t know I had that good of a lead,” admitted MacKay in Victory Lane, “it’s nice not to have to come from the back of the pack – it’s all about having fun this year.”
MacKay, Sleight and Fargnoli were followed by Paul Wichert and Kevin Knapp.
After a false start in the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature Derek Bredin was in control before Blair Young took control on lap 3. Young would soon face a challenge from Randy Hollingshead, Josh Sliter and Paul Klager with Ryan Grady too. Along the backstretch of lap 9 Josh Sliter took over top spot and right away he was off to about a ¼ lap lead. With 5 to go the gap had stretched for Sliter who ran away to his 5th straight victory. “My Uncle (Shawn Sliter) and Jamie (Gilbert) have been helping me with this car for like 3 weeks,” thanked Josh Sliter who remains undefeated since June 27th, “and wow … is it ever coming together!” Sliter was followed by Klager, Hollingshead, Young and Grady. “We just got a good start and just rode it,” relayed Garnet Wilson in Turn 4 Collision Victory Lane, “we have had so many problems this year … I can’t describe how great it is to be here … you name it … it’s happened to us!”
There was no stopping the elder Wilson on this night though. Right away he was off to a comfortable lead. In fact the race to watch was for second between Tony Kelly and third generation driver Austin Wood. Kyle Pelrine and Damian Gore rounded out the top 5 in the early going and the 5 drivers had opened quite a lead on the rest of the pack. Late in the race however contact between Pelrine and Gore had Gore sent to the pits early but Pelrine was able to rejoin the event despite losing several positions with no yellow slowing the field.
In the closing laps it was still the race for the runner up spot that allowed Wilson to pull away from Kelly and Wood. Wood – grandson of Wall of Famer Lyndon Wood had just won his first ever feature win this past Sunday at Humberstone could not get by Kelly but nonetheless a fine third place finish.
The late race incident shuffled the finishing order with Rob Overholt and Aaron Wiley avoiding the incident to take 4th and 5th spots. For complete results from Boltworks Night at the Races visit http://www.speednetdirect.com/results.php?track_id=8430http://www.speednetdirect.com/results.php http://www.speednetdirect.com/results.php
Inside Track Motorsport News Pit Notes
Wamuran Australia’s Darren Latimer – a V8 Modified regular at the Archerfield Speedway in Queensland and other tracks won his qualifying heat just days after arriving with his family. Latimer’s new BRP Chassis will be shipped to him in time for the start of his racing season which starts in the fall.
At their annual Golf Tournament at the Beechwood Golf Club Friday Night, Baron Roofing and Siding’s Terry Keagan was introduced as the new main sponsor of the Thorold Baron Roofing Blackhawks Jr. B Hockey Team. Former Assistant Hawk Coach and longtime Merrittville Race Director Bob St. Amand Jr. celebrated his 50th Birthday. St. Amand served under head coach Chris Johnstone who his back behind the bench this coming season.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
Merrittville Speedway’s Civic Holiday Doubleheader is here!
Action kicks off Saturday July 31st with Cotton Inc. presenting a Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Program that features a 40 lap King of the Crates Sportsman Series Event powered by Niagara Motors, the rain delayed Turn 4 Collision Triple Crown Event for the 4 Cylinders and the final Grantham Lions Ironman Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College. Rounding out the event will be the L. St. Amand Enterprises 358 Modifieds and Hoosier Stocks.
Gates open at 5:30 and Show time is 7:00!
L. St. Amand Enterprises are proud to present the 1st Annual Bob St. Amand Senior Memorial – Monday August 2nd featuring the 100 lap Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series plus 25 lap Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Big 6 and the Modified Lite Championship Tour. When the gates open at 4 – the Club Castropignano Pasta Dinner takes place with show time at 7 PM.
For further information on the 59th Season – race fans and race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book and Twitter.
Join us this season on a Saturday Night for a LUCAS OIL WEEKLY RACING SERIES EVENT featuring FIVE Divisions featuring local heroes and up and coming new stars and special events including the inaugural Bob St. Amand Memorial proudly presented by L, St, Amand Enterprises Monday August 2nd. The 100 lap Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series Event will be joined by another
round of the Duel on the Dirt Big 6 Series and the Modified Lites Championship Tour.
A Kids Bike Giveaway will also take place in addition to the famous pre-race Pasta Dinner hosted by Club Castropignano.
For Pasta Dinner Ticket Information – call the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266
Race fans – check your 2010 Ticket Stubs for a Crazy Offer from Little Caesars Pizza – located at 572 Niagara Street in Welland. With the purchase of a HOT-N-READY Pizza and Crazy Bread – receive a Free Crazy Bread!
Enjoy all the play by play from the Merrittville Announce Team of Clint Geoffrey, Mikey Kruchka and Fran Buschardt and special guests all season long on our new state of the art Yorkville NX Series Loudspeakers. Race fans and teams can also tune into 89.9 FM to listen to live feeds from our FM Transmitter.
Your Local Dirt Track is where it’s at!! Merrittville Speedway “The Best Family Entertainment in Niagara”
Make your plans … call your friends and maybe even get a carpool together 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!!! Merrittville Speedway ‘The Best Family Entertainment in Niagara.”
MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY SPONSORS
The 2010 Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series for Merrittville Speedway’s 5 Divisions is brought to race fans and racers by division sponsors – L. St. Amand Enterprises, Original Pizza Logs, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning, Hoosier Tire Canada and Turn 4 Collision in addition to contingency sponsors Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shock Absorbers, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Hoosier Tire, Lucas Oil Products, Inside Track Motorsport News, Intercomp, ISC Racer’s Tape, Jaz Products, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Motorsports Safety Systems, Outerwears, Port City Racing, R.J.S. Racing Equipment, Racing Optics, Schroeder Torsion Bars, Schoenfeld Headers, Ultra Shield Race Products, Wrisco Industries and XRP, Inc.
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 their favorite automotive retailer or maintenance centre including Drummond Home Hardware, KC Auto Parts, RCM Racing Equipment and Tim Phillips Garage