Rudolph and Knapp score first wins
of Season in Lococo’s Night at Merrittville – Pelrine, Sliter and
Rouse double up

Jim Irvine Merrittville Speedway Public Relations 905-892-8266 … or


Race Fans that braved the unseasonably cold temperatures were treated to a night of hot on track action that in some cases led to overheated tempers.  

Third generation driver Erick Rudolph and Kevin Knapp scored their first 2013 wins in Lococo’s Wholesale Night  at Merrittville Saturday May 11th in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified and Hoosier Stock Divisions respectively.

Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action also saw three drivers make their second straight visits to Victory Lane – Kyle Pelrine, Josh Sliter and Brad Rouse in the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites and the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Features.

“We have been working more than a year to get this one,” thanked Erick Rudolph in Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Victory Lane for the first time in his career, “thanks to my crew and my sponsors – you had to be passive and aggressive at the same time. Now we have to be here when it’s a dry and slick!”

It has probably been close to 25 years since a Rudolph has been in Victory Lane at the Thorold facility and Erick’s dad – former racer Charlie was one of the first to congratulate him.

Around the halfway point and beyond of the 35 lap event, Rudolph and then leader Mike Bowman staged quite a battle for the lead with Chris Steele also in the fray.

The first serious challenge by Rudolph came on lap 20 after pulling alongside Bowman with Steele challenged by Scott Wood. With Bowman running high and Rudolph low – both drivers were looking for the advantage – one that Rudolph found on lap 23 after taking the lead. Caution on lap 25 would slow the pace. Again the two front-runners were side by side until Bowman regained top spot only to be slowed once again.

Rudolph was able to power back past Bowman for good with Pete Bicknell taking control of second on lap 28. The 22 time points champion still looking for his first win of the season could not catch Rudolph by the Checkered Flag however.

Initial leader Todd Gordon was put back two spots on a early caution for a multicar incident after jumping on the initial start. While waiting to take the field back to green while under red, soon to be leader Mark D’Ilario was discovered to have a broken shock tower but chose to continue.

Bowman would take control of top spot when action resumed until a lap 6 caution after Gordon slowed after loosing a front shock and spring. Bowman regained control until Steele took control before a Turn 4 incident involving Bill Bleich and Larry Lampman slowed the pace quickly once more.

There was lots of activity on the Lucas Oil Live Leaderboard as for three straight laps the lead changed hands between Bowman and Steele before settling on Bowman.

At the finish, Rudolph, Bicknell and Bowman were followed by Steele and Mat Williamson.

“You could almost go around here full steam tonight with the track in great shape,” relayed Kevin Knapp in Hoosier Stock Victory Lane, “it was a rough one last week but it helped us tonight for sure – we’ll take it.”

Knapp would out race fellow front row starter Bryce Richardson to the green flag at the start of the 20 lap event and by the lap 5 mark had opened up a huge lead.

Just prior to lap 10, Knapp would come up on slower cars. Just past the halfway point Richardson would soon be pressured by Peter Reid and quickly Reid would take over the runner-up spot.

With the entire distance run under green, the field could not catch the leader with Reid and Richardson settling for second and third. Brad Sheehan and Jason Fontaine rounded out the top 5.

“I was taught to look ahead … and look farther ahead – coming through traffic was pretty easy,” said two time Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Feature Winner Kyle Pelrine, “the crew has this car dialed in – it just stuck to the rail.”

The second win was not the only thing celebrated as with the schedule shuffled a little on account of the weather as Pelrine was also presented B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Week Honors.

Leroy Buscumb was first to lead the 15 lap Feature until Craig Coutu taking control to complete lap 2. Garnet Wilson dropped from second spot after slowing and pulling into the infield with Pelrine now in the runner up spot after starting in 15th.

Pelrine would catch the leader by lap 10 and by lap 11 – took the lead exiting Turn 4. Through to the finish Pelrine would open up a lead of a half straightaway by lap 15.

Jason Coutu battled back to second with Rob Overholt coming from last to take third. Defending Champion Rocco Conte and rookie Kyle Rothwell closed out the top 5.

Ray Sliter was first to lead the 15 lap J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature until the field was about to complete the first lap when Randy Hollingshead became the new leader.

Eventually Josh Sliter would land in second spot and by the backstretch of lap 6 was in the lead. Hollingshead now had Jason Corless to contend with the that position changing hands on lap 9.

Sliter would drive away to a lead of half a straightaway in the caution-free event with Corless settling for second. Paul Klager would take third spot with Hollingshead and Kory Howe closing out the top 5.

“I think I was lifting the left rear I was driving it in so hard the track was so tacky,” informed 2 time 2013 J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature Winner Josh Sliter, “ can’t wait to bring out our 4th team car next week.”

Josh’s dad Ray Sliter was first to lead the 15 lap Feature for the first lap when Randy Hollingshead became the new leader.

Eventually Josh Sliter would land in second spot and by the backstretch of lap 6 was in the lead. Hollingshead now had Jason Corless to contend with the that position changing hands on lap 9.

Sliter would drive away to a lead of half a straightaway in the caution-free event with Corless settling for second.

Paul Klager would take third spot with Hollingshead and Kory Howe closing out the top 5. “It’s so competitive - you got to take chances,” said 2 time Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Feature Winner Brad Rouse, “sometimes they work … and sometimes they don’t. We’ll just keep plugging away – hopefully things will keep falling our way.”

Rouse would take his chance exiting Turn 4 to complete lap 16, rocketing past then leader Rob Knapp. Rouse and Knapp were fighting for top spot while Paul Gaboury would face a challenge from Gary Lindberg before caution would calm things down on lap 20 after rookie Jordan Cosco slowed along the front-stretch coming to a stop on the infield Kart Track where he was a 2012 Champion.

Rouse chose the outside groove for the restart and regained the lead. Gaboury would take second from Knapp with Rouse opening up a comfortable lead before a multicar incident in Turn 4 of lap 23 set up a two lap dash to the finish. Rouse resumed control of top spot with Gaboury trying to overtake the leader but by the finish Rouse opened a couple car length lead.

Robert Baker beat Charlie Lynch to the green flag before caution slowed the field right away after Joey Mastroianni slowed off the backstretch. Baker resumed control on the restart  with Rob Knapp now in the runner spot.

Exiting Turn 4 to c omplete lap 5, Knapp powered underneath Baker and became the new leader with Paul Gaboury and Adam Leslie following through to round out the top 3. Caution would slow the pace for the first time on lap 12 after Travis Gagnon slowed in Turn 4.

At the finish Rouse was followed by Gaboury,  Lindberg, Knapp and Greg Panunte.

BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED FEATURE (35 laps)  Erick Rudolph, Pete Bicknell, Mike Bowman, Chris Steele, Mat Williamson, Scott Wood, Tyler McPherson, Chad Chevalier, Fred Carleton, Brandon Easey, Tommy Flannigan, Rob Krull, Billy Bleich, Jr., Shayne Pierce, Mark D’Ilario, Todd Gordon, Ken Winnfield, Bill Bleich, Larry Lampman.

HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) Kevin Knapp, Pete Reid, Bryce Richardson, Brad Sheehan, Jason Fontaine, Jim Lampman, Rob Murray, Mark Fawcett, Ryan Turner, James Thompson, Devin Habiuk, Cory Turner, Marcel Michaud, Mike Green, Rick Moreash.

J&S HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING MODIFIED LITE FEATURE (15 laps) Josh Sliter, Jason Corless, Paul Klager, Randy Hollingshead, Kory Howe, Rick Koabel, Jeff May, Dylan Davidson, Ray Sliter, Jr., Evan Leonard.

TURN 4 COLLISION 4 CYLINDER  FEATURE (15 laps) Kyle Pelrine, Jason Coutu, Rob Overholt, Rocco Conte, Kyle Rothwell, Tony Kelly, Leroy Buscumb, Evan Curtis, Sam Iftody, Dillan Sliter, Chris Laskey, Kevin Conley, Bob Gill, Mike Sadusek, Greg Wilson, Kyle Haynes, Kourtney Kocarik, Mike Giberson, Gabriel Attallah, Nathan Monahan, Tyler Lafantaisie, Garnet Wilson.

RICK’S DELIVERY DIRTcar SPORTSMAN FEATURE – (25 laps) Brad Rouse, Paul Gaboury, Gary Lindberg, Rob Knapp, Greg Panunte, Cody McPherson, BJ Willard, Jason Farraway, Boyd MacTavish, Robert Baker, Adam Leslie, Justin Sharp, Dan Miller, Robbie Rounce, Joey Mastroianni, Jason Moore, Shawn Sliter, David Flannigan, Charlie Lynch, Ron MacAulay, Paul Williamson, Austin Wood, Jordan Cosco, Travis Miller. DNQ – Rob Clark, Gord McIntosh, Chris Bellamy, Derick Hodge.

UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY Merrittville Speedway will celebrate Victoria Day with a Double Header that kicks off with a 5 Division Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event Saturday May 18th, concluding  Monday May 20th when Zavitz Financial Services and Employee Benefits presents the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds in a 100 lap Super DIRTcar Series Event plus Hoosier Stocks and the first Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College. The Grandstand Gates open each night at 5:30. Showtime is 7:00. For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 62nd Consecutive Season in 2013 – visit Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book ( Speedway) and Twitter (


Join us next 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 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 and the countdown to Saturday April 27th’s Spring Sizzler 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 . 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

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