Williamson wins Spencer Memorial, Pelrine, Knapp & McPherson
and Bicknell as 2013 Champions
Brian’s Tire Repair presented the 2013 Championship Chase Finale August 31st with Mat Williamson taking home the 50 lap John Spencer Memorial for the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds. Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action also saw Greg Panunte, Brad Sheehan, Paul Klager and Mike Sadusek in Victory Lane in the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman, Hoosier Stock, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions.
While Pete Bicknell and Josh Sliter clinched Points Championships last week in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified and J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Divisional Championships Cody McPherson, Kevin Knapp and Kyle Pelrine were announced as 2013 Point Champions in the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman, Hoosier Stock and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinders Divisions respectively.
Pete Bicknell was first to lead the 50 lap John Spencer Memorial taking 5 time Spencer Memorial Winner Bruce VanDyke’s Green Flag and right away it was a drag race between two 2013 Champions – Bicknell (Merrittville) and Mat Williamson (Lernerville) with Williamson taking the early lead. Into lap traffic by lap 10, Williamson and Bicknell would pull away from the field until caution slowed the field on lap 13. Williamson resumed the lead on the restart and drove away but as the race neared the half way point, Bicknell began to close in. Lap traffic allowed Bicknell to catch Williamson on lap 26 with the race three wide at times as they picked off slower cars. Bicknell would quickly take the lead but just as quickly Williamson was back out front. Lap 35 would find Williamson driving away from Bicknell stretching it to almost a straightaway lead until a caution on lap 46 brought the field back to the leader. Williamson led the field to the green for the 4 lap shoot out with defending race winner Mike Bowman taking third spot to be the hard charger after being forced to his back-up car and started tail on the field. Williamson, Bicknell and Bowman would be followed by Rob Krull and Tyler McPherson.
eff May was first to lead the feature for the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites – out racing Ray Sliter Jr. to the initial green flag. Dylan Davidson would take over the runner up spot with the two breaking away from the field in the early stages. Davidson would catch the leader but May would drive away with the 12 year old now being challenged by Paul Klager. By lap 5 Klager was now in the runner up spot with May loosing a huge lead he’d built up for a caution on lap 13. May was back in front on the restart with Paul Klager and Josh Sliter mounting a challenge in the last 5 laps. The battle for top spot was slowed on lap 17 with May back out front on the restart. Klager would edge ahead on lap 18 and in the closing laps held off Josh Sliter by a car length with Jeff May settling for 3rd. Jamie Gilbert and Derek Wagner closed out the top 5. “Brian Simms and his family have been awesome,” thanked Team Brian’s Tire Driver Paul Klager in Victory Lane, “ I wouldn’t be here without them or any of my sponsors, “we’ve picked it up some the last month here and on the road – I can’t wait to take on the invaders next weekend.” “I want to think I can do well in the International,” said the 4 time J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Champion Josh Sliter, “I’ve said that before and haven’t had good results – I don’t want to jinx myself again.”
With Bicknell and Sliter clinching their point titles last week, the night would see 3 Championships possibly going right down to the final lap with a potential for lots of drama. Best of friends Evan Curtis and Kyle Pelrine went into the 15 lap Finale for the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinders tied in points with Rob Overholt and Tyler Lafantaisie also sharing the same total and just 4 points off the leaders. Chris Shepherd was first to lead on start before Sam Iftody took control down the backstretch. As quick as he took the lead it appeared that he had a flat tire with Leroy Buscumb was the new leader. By lap 5 Tyler Lafantaisie was in the runner up before caution slowed the field on lap 6. A number of cars came together in Turn 4 including Evan Curtis and Rob Overholt with Curtis’ title hopes going away after a broken suspension. “We’re going to finish 4th aren’t we,” asked Curtis when interviewed by Co-Announcer Clint Geoffrey, “I didn’t expect to do that well. We planned on testing and tuning the new car this year and get ready for 2014 but we had so much success with it – the season was beyond our expectations. Buscumb was back in control on the restart with near disaster for Pelrine after making contact with another car but he wasn’t slowed. Down the front stretch of lap 11, Mike Sadusek charged into second and quickly took control of the lead. Through lap traffic, Sadusek wasn’t slowed en route to his first ever Feature Win. “It was great to win on the last points race of the season.” Commented the overwhelmed second year driver Sadusek, “Thanks to my girlfriend, Tracy and Rob for all they do.” The Brian’s Tire Repair Hard Charger was Dillan Sliter with Tyler Lafantaisie third. Kyle Pelrine and Kyle Rothwell closed out the top 5. “”It was a little bit of a relief … but not the way I wanted to see it decided … I wanted to race for it until the very end,” said newly crowned Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Champion Kyle Pelrine, “I had to keep Tyler in my sights and it was a crazy race for sure. I started the season hoping to be a contender and here we are.”
Brad Sheehan was first to lead the 20 lap Hoosier Stock Feature with James Thompson staying right with the leader until a lap 3 caution after Billy Bleich came together with Rob Murray. On the restart the new leader was Thompson with the two pulling away to about a 5 car lead on Kevin Knapp by lap 8. Three laps later Knapp closed in on the two frontrunners despite being challenged by Pete Reid. With Sheehan maintaining the lead his Team Brian’s Tire Repair team-mate Murray would race back to 6th spot after the earlier misfortune with 5 laps to go. Thompson would take control but Sheehan would pull side by side allowing Reid to take third while Sheehan retook the lead in the closing laps. Sheehan would hold off a late race charge from Reid who took second from Thompson with the 2013 Hoosier Stock Champion Kevin Knapp fourth. Cory Turner was 5th. “We had a little trouble with the car this year,” relayed Sheehan in Hoosier Stock Victory Lane, “we seem to have it fixed and it handled better tonight. Thanks to Brian … without him we couldn’t do it.” When Knapp pulled into Victory Lane to celebrate his first Points Title the first to greet him were members of the Sheehan and Murray Race Team. “It’s alright,” said the multi-time Champion Murray who went into the night 8 points behind Knapp, “I’ve been rooting for Kevin for some time now. We’ve been long-time friends and we come from the same neighborhood so it’s good to see him win the title. It’s good for the sport – hat’s off to him.” When the feature began, Co-announcer Dana Huffman announced that one of his sponsors – Sylvia Tavormina would present Knapp with a $200 Bonus should he win the race. The RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Rep changed her mind and handed over the cash. “I love this division so much – it’s one of the most competitive divisions with 3 and 4 wide racing … door to door. Every year everybody steps it up. This car was new last year and we’re starting to get it to work. Thanks to everyone that helped put it together and thanks to the fans … you’re the best in the world.”
A similar stage was set for the 25 lap Feature for the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division with defending Champion Cody McPherson leading Gary Lindberg by 8 points. Travis Miller was first to lead but not until Turn 2 with the second generation driver beating front row starter Gord McIntosh to the top spot before caution slowed the field on lap 1 after Austin Wood and Derick Hodge came together. After a red flag to separate the two cars, Miller was back out front until Greg Panunte became the new leader at the start finish line to start lap 7. Caution would slow the pace on lap 10 and the race for the points championship was on with Cody McPherson and Gary Lindberg in 4th and 5th. Panunte resumed control on the restart with McPherson landing in the runner up spot before caution once again on lap 13. Panunte would be slowed once again on lap 15 with the leader back in control with McPherson in second ahead of Lindberg. Starting from 21st spot, Justin Sharp was now into the Top 4. With Panunte pulling away to a huge lead the race to watch was the one for second with Lindberg taking the spot away from McPherson. At the checkered flag, Panunte, Lindberg and McPherson were followed by Sharp and Boyd MacTavish. 13th place finisher Robbie Rounce was presented a $100 Cash Award from Brian Staff. “The first time I saw Gary I knew I could let him go,” revealed two time Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Champion Cody McPherson who came into the night with an 8 point advantage, “I knew all I had to do was finish 3rd.” McPherson who took the lead just last weekend added, “the start of the season found us down 40 or 50 points. We tore the whole car apart trying to find the problem and found a bad fuel pump – it changed the whole season for us.” “My racing career is coming to an end,” announced 23 year veteran and former Champion Greg Panunte in Victory Lane for the first time of the season, “it’s a little emotional … my guys never gave up on me this year even though I did so thanks to them and to Rick Bellante – he’s been a great car owner and an even greater friend. Thanks to my family too – it’s been a great career.
PIT NOTES Kyle Rothwell was the B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week. Merrittville Speedway would like to thank all the Champions and Contenders that participated in the Pre-race Car Display and Autograph Session as well as the 50th Anniversary Merrittville Pace Car owned by Elliot Boyuk in addition to the Lloyd Holt Vintage Race Car.. With the win, Williamson became the 6th driver in the modern era of the John Spencer Memorial in a roster that includes Bicknell, Bowman, Larry Lampman, Fred Carleton and Chad Brachmann. Original winners were Bruce VanDyke, Jerry Winger, Murray Stricker, George Winger, Bill Rafter, Sandy MacPherson and Lloyd Holt. For a 2003 Article on the John Spencer Memorial by Rick Kavanagh click on http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/Memories/SPENCER.html
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY The 2013 Season at Merrittville Speedway concludes with the Annual Tripleheader Saturday September 6th to Sunday September 8th. The J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Stars International Modified Lite Championship Weekend opens Friday Night featuring Modified Lites, 4 Cylinder Cars, 4 Cylinder Trucks and a $500 to win Hoosier Stock Event. Night 2 for the Modified Lites also includes a 50 lap Super DIRTcar Series Event for the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman and a 50 lap $1000 to Win Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Big 6 Combined Event against the Brighton Speedway Pro Stocks. The Grandstand Gates open Both Nights at 5:30. Showtime is 7:00. The 2013 Season concludes Sunday September 8th with Smash-o-Rama 2013 featuring the 100 lap Enduro accelerated by Niagara College and Monster Trucks. The Pit Area opens at 9 AM … Grandstands at 11 AM with Show Time at 1 PM. For further information - call the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266 or visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com.For directions to Merrittville Speedway click on www.merrittvillespeedway.com/track_map 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)
BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED JOHN SPENCER MEMORIAL FEATURE (50 laps) Mat Williamson, Pete Bicknell, Mike Bowman, Robbie Krull, Tyler McPherson, Scott Wood, Brandon Easey, Mark D’Ilario, Tim Jones, Steven Schumacher, Bill Bleich, Todd Gordon, Fred Carleton, Rick Hoctor, Bobby Winters, Chad Chevalier, Brian Page, Tommy Flannigan, Ken Winfield, Chris Steele, Chris Hawkins.
J&S HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING MODIFIED LITE FEATURE (15 laps) Paul Klager, Josh Sliter, Jeffrey May, Jamie Gilbert, Derek Wagner, Dylan Davidson, Jason Corless, Randy Hollingshead, Kory Howe, Evan Leonard, Kellie Mason, Jeff Teeters, Rob Misener, Marty deMoel. Ray Sliter Jr., Dave Mamo.
TURN 4 COLLISION 4 CYLINDER (15 laps) Mike Sadusek, Dillan Sliter, Tyler Lafantaisie, Kyle Pelrine, Kyle Rothwell, Leroy Buscumb, Tony Kelly, Rob Overholt, Nathan Monahan, Chris Shepherd, Garnet Wilson, Greg Wilson, Kyle Haynes, Kourtney Kocarik, Brandon Boychuck, Mike Giberson, Sam Iftody, Gabriel Attalah, Terry Larmet, Evan Curtis, Dave Small.
HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) Brad Sheehan, Pete Reid, James Thompson, Kevin Knapp, Cory Turner, Rob Murray, Billy Hogue, Mark Fawcett, Ryan Turner, Paul Wichert, Jack Meyers, Marcel Michaud, Billy Bleich.
RICK’S DELIVERY DIRTcar SPORTSMAN FEATURE (25 laps) Greg Panunte, Gary Lindberg, Cody McPherson, Justin Sharp, Boyd MacTavish, Jason Moore, Adam Leslie, Brad Rouse, Jason Farraway, Joey Mastroianni, Chris Bellamy, Charlie Lynch, Robbie Rounce, Travis Miller, Gord McIntosh, Paul Williamson, John McKenney Jr., Paul Cunningham, Paul Gaboury, Rob Knapp, Austin Wood, Jordan Cosco, Derick Hodge, BJ Williard.