First Career Championships earn Knapp and Pelrine prestigious awards
Merrittville Speedway’s 62nd consecutive season officially came to a close with the Night of Champions Saturday November 2nd honoring the 2013 Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Champions and other award recipients.
Kyle Pelrine and Kevin Knapp both celebrated their 1st Career Championships in the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder and Hoosier Stock Divisions respectively. Josh Sliter took home top honors for the 4th straight year in the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division while Cody McPherson successfully defended his initial title in the Rick’s Delivery DIRTcar Sportsman Division. In the Bobcat of Hamilton DIRTcar 358 Modified Division - Pete Bicknell earned the title for the 23rd time of his career.
Merrittville’s Co-announcers Clint Geoffrey and Dana Curvin performed Masters of Ceremony duties – presenting the top 12 points finishers from the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinders, Hoosier Stocks, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites, Rick’s Delivery Sportsman and the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds with point fund monies accordingly in addition to a wide variety of special awards.
The Title for Kevin Knapp also saw the Port Robinson Driver awarded the Performer of the Year Award. “I’ve been racing for a number of years and to win a championship it’s quite an honor. The guys up front with me tonight are the fastest anywhere … I couldn’t do any of it without the support of my family and friends, sponsors and especially crew!” Driving the Harvey’s Restaurants of St. Catharines 4K , Knapp collected 5 wins and 17 top 10 finishes. The Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Award went to Mark Fawcett.
Kyle Pelrine’s first Career Championship earned the Port Colborne Driver the B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Year honors. “The whole season was about sportsmanship … with 4 drivers in contention for the title on the final night it was awesome to have one of my contenders … Rob Overholt help me out with a rad so I could make the feature. Thanks to my Mom and Dad and my crew for all they do.” Pelrine collected 4 feature wins and 14 Top 10 finishes leading up to his first career Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Championship in his Expert Hose and Coupling/Racer’s Classified #47. Other special award winners in the division included Tyler Lafantaisie who won the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Triple Crown Mini-Series Title, Kyle Rothwell who won Rookie of the Year honors and Evan Curtis who won the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Award.
All 5 division champs earned traditional Merrittville Speedway Championship Rings and Jackets in addition to trophies and cash awards.
After receiving his second Championship Ring, Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Champion announced that his Dad would be the recipient in 2013. “My dad puts so much work into my car week in and week out,” McPherson said of his dad and former Sportsman Racer Guy McPherson who didn’t overtake second generation driver Gary Lindberg until late in the season, “he was hot right from the start of the season … as the season went on the car finally came to me and here we are here tonight” Cody McPherson received top honors in the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division for the second straight season in his C. McPherson Jr Trucking/ Bobcat of Hamilton/ Advantage Trailers/ Maxximum Motors/ Fourth Avenue Dental/ Brian's Tire Repair/ Pine View Drywall/ Turn 4 Collision and The Trap #7. McPherson would visit Victory Lane 3 times with 15 Top 10 Finishes. Special Award winners included Charlie Lynch who won Rookie of the Year honors while Gary Lindberg took home the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Award. Greg Panunte rounded out the Awards in the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division – taking home the David Chevrolet King of the Crates Mini-Series Title.
Josh Sliter who will start his 2014 Season in Florida also announced that his preseason racing will also take him to Australia just before defence of his title and a possible 5th straight J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite title. “I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my family, my girlfiend and all our supporters – JSR looks forward to 2014 with 4 cars at the track once again.” Josh Sliter drove his Canadian Tire Port Colborne/ Thurston Machine/SWS Canada/South Coast Laser/Leader Race Cars/Crutchfield Performance # 17 to his fourth straight championship in the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division with 13 top 5 finishes including 5 feature wins. Rookie of the Year honors went to Dylan Davidson while Paul Klager won the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Award.
When asked about his 23rd Merrittville Speedway Points Championship, Pete Bicknell revealed, “this one was just as exciting as any … these days a number of younger drivers are stepping up trying to knock me off … it all results in great racing for the fans.” Bicknell’s Crew – Ted Curvin, Mike Davies and Randy Ellison were honored for the first time in their storied careers as Billy Matthews Crew of the Year Award. Pete Bicknell won his 23rd career Merrittville Speedway Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Championship winning 2 Features over the course of the season that saw him finish in the Top 10 18 times in 18 events in his Lucas Oil Products/Bicknell Racing Products # 42. Other award winners included Tyler McPherson who won Rookie of the year honors while the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Award went to Chad Chevalier.
Several history-laden awards were also presented during the event. The Ed MacPherson Construction Kelley-Winger Sportsmanship Award was presented by the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee to three generations of the Sharp Family – patriarch Neil, his son Ken and grandson and Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Driver Justin Sharp.
The Begolo-Little Award for the most improved driver in the 358 Modified Division went to Mike Bowman would rose to a career high second place finish is the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Standings.
The Gordie Award named after former Merrittville Announcer and Wall of Famer Gordie Wilson goes to a person, or group of people who exhibit dedication to the sport. The 2013 award was presented to Stock Car and Kart Photographer Julie Davidson.
The Crew Chief of Year Award named after Billy Matthews went to a group of individuals this season – those behind Pete Bicknell and his 23rd Championship – Ted Curvin, Mike Davies and Randy Ellison.
The Performer of the Year Award went to Kevin Knapp for his season leading up to his initial Hoosier Stock Championship while the B&C Truck Centre Mack Canada Driver of the Year was first time Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Champion Kyle Pelrine as he was the driver that received the most points each week during the season in the Driver of the Week Award voting.
The Awards Ceremony concluded with Nancy Bicknell addressing the audience as co-owner of the famed facility. On behalf of her husband Pete and her daughter (Merrittville GM) Erica and their partners – Randy and Tracey Williamson, Bicknell saluted the crowd and thanked everyone for their continued support throughout the 2013 Season. “Everything is starting to come together for next season,’’ informed Nancy Bicknell, “the backbone of our Saturday Night program is our fans, our staff and our race teams and we are grateful to everyone for their continued support. We are excited to announce the return of Lucas Oil for a 9th Season in addition to two of our Division Sponsors – Rick’s Delivery and J&S Heating and Air Conditionning who just confirmed their renewals with us this evening.”
For information on Merrittville Speedway’s 62nd consecutive season as the best family entertainment in Niagara – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com or call the Winter Office during business hours – 905-685-7223. Merrittville Speedway’s Winter Office is located in Bicknell Racing Products, 117 Cushman Road in St. Catharines.
Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division Top 12 in Points. Pete Bicknell – 1010, Mike Bowman – 926, Mat Williamson – 919, Scott Wood – 912, Chris Steele – 853, Robbie Krull – 839, Chad Chevalier – 802, Bill Bleich – 794, Todd Gordon – 785, Fred Carleton – 773, Tommy Flannigan – 760, Brandon Easey – 672.
Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division Top 12 in Points. Cody McPherson – 820, Gary Lindberg – 816, Greg Panunte – 752, Brad Rouse – 736, BJ Willard – 690, Justin Sharp – 675, Rob Knapp – 624, Paul Gaboury – 612, Austin Wood – 591, Adam Leslie – 574, Jason Moore – 572, Jason Farraway – 571.
Hoosier Stock Division Top 12 in Points . Kevin Knapp – 914, Rob Murray – 902, Pete Reid – 896, Brad Sheehan – 872, James Thompson – 782, Mark Fawcett – 772, Ryan Turner – 656, Cory Turner – 634, Jim Lampman – 610, Bryce Richardson – 552, Mike Green – 412, Brett Robins – 104.
J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division Top 12 in Points. Josh Sliter – 808, Randy Hollingshead – 722, Jason Corless – 684, Paul Klager – 680, Dylan Davidson – 650, Kory Howe – 640, Jeff May & Evan Leonard (tie) – 558, Ray Sliter, Jr. – 540, Rick Koabel – 530, Kellie Mason – 187.
Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division Top 12 in Points. Kyle Pelrine – 750, Tyler Lafantaisie – 748, Rob Overholt – 738, Evan Curtis – 723, Dillan Sliter – 674, Mike Sadusek – 607, Tony Kelly – 586, Kyle Rothwell – 578, Sam Iftody – 532, Rocco Conte – 496, Nathan Monahan – 494, Garnet Wilson – 488
For a complete listing of the 2013 Points Standings – click on http://www.speednetdirect.com/points.php?track_id=8430&nav_step=results