Sheppard Drives to Victory Lane in
Bob St. Amand Senior
Memorial at Merrittville – Friesen, Murray and
visit Victory Lane in
Civic Holiday Extravaganza
Matt Sheppard won the 4th Annual Bob St. Amand Senior Memorial Big Block Super DIRTcar Series 100 lap main event presented by L. St. Amand Enterprises and St. Amand Auto and Truck Repair Monday August 5th.
Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action also saw Rob Murray win the Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Big 6 Series Home Track Event while James Friesen came home out front in the Non-winners 20 lap Feature for the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division.
The Civic Holiday Classic concluded with Ken McLeod taking home the final Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College.
Gary Tompkins and defending race winner Mike Bowman led the Super DIRTcar Series Modifieds to the double green flags of Super DIRTcar Series Starter Dave Farney and it was Bowman showing the way on lap one over Tompkins, Pete Bicknell, Chris Steele and Matt Sheppard. Steele would pass Bicknell for third on lap two and quickly challenged Tompkins for second place. Bicknell would go to work on Tompkins for third and “Mr. Small Block” would move into the podium position on lap four. By lap ten, Mike Bowman hit lap traffic and with the leader in traffic, Chris Steele began to reel in Bowman. While the leaders were closing in on each other, Matt Sheppard went three wide with Bicknell and Tompkins and moved from fifth to third. The three time Super DIRTcar Series Champion would run down Steele for second on lap 20 with Mike Bowman continuing to show the way. At the race’s one-quarter mark, Bowman continued to show the way with Steele, Sheppard, “the Doctor” Danny Johnson and Gary Tompkins racing in the top five.
Chad Brachmann would bring out the races first caution on lap 28. The lap 30 bonus for the first Small Block and Big Block would be scored by race leader Mike Bowman and Matt Sheppard. On the restart, Bowman continued to show the way as Sheppard passed Chris Steele for second place. Danny Johnson and Brett Hearn were on the move as Johnson took over third on lap 38 and Hearn raced his way into fifth on lap 39. Hearn, from Sussex, NJ raced his Madsen Overhead Doors Teo Chassis #20 into fourth on lap 40 after passing Steele and quickly began his chase of Danny Johnson. Matt Sheppard used lap traffic to chase down Mike Bowman but Bowman continued to show the way at the cross flags over Sheppard, DJ, Hearn and Dale Planck racing in the top five.
Brett Hearn went to the outside to take over third but Johnson used lap traffic in the “pick and roll” to regain the third spot on lap 52. Sheppard continued to use the bottom of the speedway and Sheppard went underneath Bowman but Bowman, in his small block powered on by Sheppard on lap 60 as they battled in heavy lap traffic. Matt Sheppard took the race lead on lap 63 and Danny Johnson took over second after Bowman jumped the cushion exiting turn four. Bill Bleich Sr hit the turn one wall and brought out the races second caution on lap 67. Just as the field was about to go back to the green flag, Tommy Flannigan went up in a puff of smoke.
On the lap 74 restart, Sheppard would power by Danny Johnson as Brett Hearn passed Bowman for third and went to work on Johnson for second place. Pete Bicknell returned to the top five after passing Dale Planck on lap 78. “AJ Slideways” Alan Johnson, who started 18th on the grid raced his way into sixth on lap 84 after passing Planck. The third yellow of the race came out on lap 85 as Merrittville regular Scott Wood lost the handle of his racer all by himself in turn four. On the restart, Sheppard pulled away from “the Doctor” with Hearn, Bowman and Bicknell racing in the top five. Sheppard pulled out all the stops as “Super Matt” picked up the victory. Danny Johnson would finish in second and was followed to the line by Brett Hearn, Mike Bowman, and Mat Williamson completing the top five.
“We have had a lot of great cars here over the years and this car was the best I think we have ever had” stated Sheppard in victory lane. “I would like to dedicate my win tonight to my grandmother who passed away Sunday night” Sheppard continued.
On Monday May 20th in the Zavitz Financial Strategies & Employee Benefits 358 Super DIRTcar Series 100 – it was Sheppard who also came home the winner. Prior to Mike Bowman’s win last year, Sheppard had won the event three straight years, (2009, 2010 and 2011). “I am really proud of my team and am glad to come out with a second place finish” stated runner up finisher Danny Johnson who brought back many memories to race fans in the 1980’s throwback Orange 27J sponsored by Finger Lakes Livestock Exchange and in memory of Mike Maroney.
“Matt had the car to beat tonight” said third place finisher and Super DIRTcar Series Point Leader Brett Hearn.
Brad Sheehan and Pete Reid led the field to the initial green flag for the 25 lap Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Home Track Event until Reid drove away to a comfortable lead with Sheehan, Jim Lampman, Billy Hogue, James Thompson amd Mark Fawcett all in the mix at the front of the pack. Lampman would face a challenge from Thompson and eventually Rob Murray joined in for quite a three wide battle for third. Murray would take the spot catching Hogue who was in second approaching half-way. The race to watch was the one to settle the top 5 with Thompson leading Jason Fontaine, Kevin Knapp and Lampman. Reid would run away to about a 3 second lead by lap 17 – one that would be lost when Billy Hogue slowed with suspension problems. Reid would lead Murray back to green with the two side by side with 5 laps to go. The battle for top spot allowed Kevin Knapp to close in on the leaders with Murray edging ahead. Murray would hold off a late race charge from Reid who fell about a ¼ second behind. Knapp would also hold off a late challenge from Jason Fontaine with James Thompson rounding out the Top 5.
“It’s awesome … we had 20 people at the house today helping me get her back together from Humberstone Sunday Night,” thanked Rob Murray, “what a day … then we had to fix the rear end after the heat tonight.” “Thanks to everyone … especially James Thompson, Vince Fargnoli and James Thompson who offered their cars if we needed,” added Rob’s wife Kelly.
The 20 lap Non Winners Race for the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division saw Rob Clark in control of top spot until Darrell Farraway became the new leader before lap 5. James Friesen quickly landed into the runner up spot and by the halfway point was closing in on the leader. The first caution slowed the field on lap 12 with Farraway back out front on the restart. To start lap 13 Friesen edged ahead and the next time around held a couple car advantage with Farraway being challenged by Justin Sharp. Friesen had pulled away to a comfortable lead until caution on lap 17 slowed the field once again. Friesen resumed control on the restart with Sharp trailing by a car length with one lap to go. At the checkered flag it was Friesen and Sharp followed by Farraway, Paul Gaboury and Bobby Davidson.
Bob Whiteman was first to lead the final Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College before Steve Damario took control in Turn 4 to complete lap 2 with a red flag on lap 4 stalling the event for a stranded car. Damario was back out front with Rob Hardy challenging and taking top spot unto Turn 1 with a second red for a stranded car between Turns 3 and 4. Damario was back out front on the restart until Hardy regained the spot. Through slower cars Hardy kept control of top spot despite being pressured from Karl Sault before a third red flag on lap 16. Sault was back out in front until Ken McLeod became the new leader – keeping top spot through to the finish with Sault settling for second. Dan McNeil. John Burt and Peter Polchak as the top 5.
Pit Notes: On behalf of the race teams, L. St. Amand Enterprises, St. Amand Auto & Truck Repair and Merrittville Speedway would like to thank everyone that sponsored laps, supported the packages and bought Bob St. Amand Memorial T Shirts and Wristbands. Almost $11,000 was added to the event.
For a complete listing of all those that contributed – click on http://merrittville.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=3852
Todd Gordon was awarded the Hard Luck Award after rolling his car in his heat and was presented an award by Heather St. Amand. Chad Chevalier was the recipient of the races Hard Charger Award presented by Bob Sr.’s grandkids and also received a new right rear Hoosier Tire from Seaway Fluid Power Group’s Darryl Bowman for being the highest finishing Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Driver from 6th to 15th in the point standings. Bob Sr.’s Grandkids – Annaya, Treyvon, Dontrell, Madyson, Bryley, Ethan and Liam gave the “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” command with the starting field lined up right in front of the grandstands and the race teams lined up along the backstretch before Grand Marshall Hannah Baker let the field loose with the Green Flag.
42 Super DIRTcar Series Modifieds signed in pitside in which 41 took time. Tyler McPherson failed to take time.
BOB ST. AMAND SENIOR MEMORIAL BIG BLOCK MODIFIED SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES (100 laps) Matt Sheppard, Danny Johnson, Brett Hearn, Mike Bowman, Mat Williamson, Pete Bicknell, Alan Johnson, Erick Rudolph, Dale Planck, Justin Haers, Gary Tomkins, Chris Steele, Brandon Easey, Chad Chevalier, Ryan Susice, Pete Britten, Robbie Krull, Carey Terrance, Mark D’Ilario, Jimmy Phelps, Rich Scagliotta, Scott Wood, Billy Dunn, Billy VanInwegen, Bill Bleich, Tim Currier, Matt Billings, Justin Wright, Tommy Flannigan, Dave Rauscher, Chad Brachmann, Tim Jones.
Qualifying Results (Top 5 Qualify, Top 3 Redraw)
Heat 1 – Dale Planck, Brandon Easey, Scott Wood, Brett Hearn, Erick Rudolph, Bill Bleich Sr, Brett Clarke, Robbie Krull, Don Brown, and Todd Gordon
Heat 2 – Matt Sheppard, Mike Bowman, Mark D’llario, Justin Haers, Alan Johnson, Freddie Carleton, Rich Scagliotta, Tim Jones, Pete Cosco, Tommy Flannigan and Erik Martin
Heat 3 – Chris Steele, Gary Tompkins, Chad Brachmann, Justin Wright, Ryan Susice, Tim Currier, Chad Chevalier, Matt Billings, Steve Paine and Jeremiah Shingledecker
Heat 4 – Pete Bicknell, Mat Williamson, Danny Johnson, Peter Britten, Carey Terrance, Billy VanInwegen, Jimmy Phelps, Dave Rauscher, Bruno Lepage, and Billy Dunn
Time Trials: Brett Hearn 15.597 sec.(Fast Time)
Consolation Races (Top 3 Advance to feature)
B-Main #1 – Bleich, Flannigan, Krull, Carleton, Scagliotta, Cosco, Jones, Brown, Clarke
B-Main #2 - Currier, Chevalier, VanInwegen, Phelps, Billings, Paine, Rauscher, Shingledecker, Lepage Failed to Qualify: Bruno Lepage, Steve Paine, Pete Cosco, Fred Carleton, Don Brown, Erik Martin, Jeremiah Shingledecker, Todd Gordon and Tyler McPherson
HOOSIER STOCK DUEL ON THE DIRT BIG 6 SERIES FEATURE (25 laps) Rob Murray, Pete Reid, Kevin Knapp, Jason Fontaine, James Thompson, Cory Turner, Jim Lampman, Brad Sheehan, Mark Fawcett, Bryce Richardson, Leslie Mow88 leas at, Barry Blanchard, Ryan Turner, Billy Hogue. Qualifying Winners: Jim Lampman, Ryan Turner
RICK’S DELIVERY SPORTSMAN FEATURE (20 laps) James Michael Friesen, Justin Sharp. Darrell Farraway, Paul Gaboury, Bob Davidson, Jason Moore, Rob Knapp, Charlie Lynch, Joey Mastroianni, Travis Miller, Rick Bellamy, Nick Cupolo, Robbie Rounce, Ron MacAulay, Gord McIntosh, Rob Clark, Derick Hodge. Robert Baker, Paul Cunningham, Jordan Cosco, Paul Williamson. Qualifying Winners: Rob Clark, Rob Rounce, Darrell Farraway
ENDURO QUALIFIER ACCELERATED BY NIAGARA COLLEGE (25 Laps) Ken McLeod, Karl Sault, Dan McNeil. John Burt, Peter Polchak.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
CMH Sales & Leasing will present Help a Child Smile Night Saturday August 10th featuring a 5 Division Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event. The highlight of the night will be the Annual Box Car Races for the Grantham Lions Kids Club. Any child 12 years of age is eligible to enter.
For Box Car Rules – click on http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/box-car-rules.html. The Grandstands open at 5:30 with Show Time at 7 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)