“The Doctor” Danny Johnson Wins
Bob. St Amand Memorial
at Merrittville; Kevin Knapp and John Burt
By Steven Petty
Rochester, NY’s Danny Johnson was the big winner on Civic Holiday Monday at the Merrittville Speedway as L. St Amand Enterprises and St. Amand Auto and Truck Repair presented the 5th Bob St. Amand Memorial for the Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series 100.
Kevin Knapp from Thorold, Ontario was victorious in the $500 to win Duel on the Dirt event for the Hoosier Stocks while John Burt was credited the win in the final Ballhockey.com Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College.
Based on the redraw, “The Doctor” Danny Johnson and Billy VanInwegen set the front row for the 100 lap Bob St. Amand Memorial for the Big Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series and it was Johnson showing the way with VanInwegen, Chad Brachmann (CB3), Chris Steele, and Matt Billings in the top five early on. Brachmann would get around VanInwegen to move into second on lap four. “Super” Matt Sheppard and HBR Teammate Jimmy Phelps moved into the top six after passing Billings on lap five. Brachmann would then go to the outside of Johnson for the lead on lap nine but “The Doctor” held off his challenges in the first 11 laps of the main event.
The first yellow of the event came out on lap 12 as Tommy Flannigan came to a stop on the front stretch. The driver on the move early on was Phoenix, NY’s Larry Wight as he was in 13th after starting 21st on the grid. CB3 would take over the lead on lap 17 after passing Johnson on the outside. Johnson would regain the lead on Brachmann on lap 21 after pulling the slide job on the inside of the track.
At the races ¼ mark, Danny Johnson continued to show the way with Brachmann in second and was being chassed by Chris Steele, Jimmy Phelps and Matt Sheppard. The battle was on for second as “The Real Deal” Chris Steele reeled in Brachmann and would complete the pass on lap 29. One lap later, Sheppard would battle Phelps for fourth as the two HBR cars reeled in the Merrittville regulars Steele and Brachmann. Brachmann spun in turn two after Matt Sheppard made contact with CB3 to bring out the caution on lap 33. Both Brachmann and Sheppard went to the rear of the field for their involvement in the caution. The lap 37 restart saw Johnson up front as former race winner Mike Bowman took over second from Steele. Erick Rudolph and Jimmy Phelps would battle for fourth as Bill Bleich and Justin Wright came together on lap 38 to bring out the caution.
The lap 42 restart saw Johnson and Bowman on the front row as Johnson pulled away from the field. Peter Britten went to work on third generation driver Erick Rudolph for fifth and would take over the fifth spot on lap 44. Johnson would continue to show the way at the halfway mark over Bowman with Steele, Phelps, Rudolph, Britten, Billy Decker, Larry Wight, VanInwegen, and Brett Hearn in the top ten.
The leaders would hit lap traffic on lap 57, as Mike Bowman and Chris Steele would start to reel in the race leader. Bowman would catch Johnson on lap 61 but Johnson would continue to show the way as they worked in heavy lap traffic.
While the field was continuing to work in lap traffic, Jimmy Phelps would reel in Chris Steele for third place but Steele, racing in the Cosco Racing 17c was able to keep the third spot. The battle was on for fifth in the late going as Billy Decker would reel in Erick Rudolph. Bowman would reel in Danny Johnson after having fits with lap traffic. The top two pulled away from third place running Steele. Bowman tried to go underneath Johnson but Johnson kept the lead.
Danny Johnson held off a hard charging Mike Bowman and held him off by .2 of a second to pick up the victory. Chris Steele finished in third and the top five was completed by Jimmy Phelps and Erick Rudolph.
“The track was in perfect condition tonight and we are glad we went with the big block tonight against all the small blocks” stated Johnson in victory lane.
Brad Sheehan and Billy Bleich Jr led the field for the Hoosier Stocks Duel on the Dirt event with Sheehan showing the way. Sheehan spun in turn two to bring out the races first caution of the event. The early race restart saw Kevin Knapp take over the lead over Billy Bleich Jr. Jim Lampman came to a stop on the top of turn two to bring out the caution on lap three. Knapp and Chris Crawford led the field back to the green flag with the leaders dueling for the lead. Knapp used the outside to clear Crawford the lead on lap six. Mark Fawcett cleared Crawford for second on lap 10 and started to reel in Knapp at the races halfway point. Eli Mayhew came to a stop in turn four to slow the field down once again on lap 13. Fawcett took over the lead off the restart as Bleich raced his way into the top three. Mason Smith hit the turn two fence on lap 21 to bunch the field back up one more time. The late race restart saw Knapp go underneath Fawcett for the lead and Knapp regained the lead with Bleich taking over second after Fawcett slipped up the track. Knapp, who started sixth on the grid pulled away from Bleich to pick up the victory. Fawcett, Chris Crawford and Billy Hogue completed the top five finishers.
“I really wanted to pick up a win for Carl Saunders and I would like to thank the fans for their support as we raised $2500 for his family” stated Knapp in victory lane.
30 plus entrants took part in the Enduro as Vincent Pagnotta took the lead early on. Nick Hendricks took the lead off a early race restart. John Burt went to the outside of Hendricks to take over the lead. Burt continued to show the way with ten laps in the books. Bobby Ling battled Burt for the lead but Burt, driving a SOS Towing car kept the race lead. John Burt would collect the checkered flag. Bob Ling, Nick Hendricks, Ben Hague and Vincent Pagnotta unofficially completed the top five. With the victory in the Enduro, Burt is now qualified for the 100 lap Ballhockey.com Enduro on Sunday September 7th as part of Smash-o-Rama 2014.
Weekly racing return on Saturday August 9th as Meridian Credit Union presents a Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series featuring the 358 Modified Tri-Track Series race. It is also Help a Child Smile Night and the Kids Box Car Races. For the rules of the Box Car Races, log on to www.merrittvillespeedway.com
MERRITTVILLE NOTES: The St. Amand Family put together the lap sponsorships and event sponsorships for the night’s racing program and raised over $4665 for the Super DIRTcar Series race and an extra $777.20 for the Hoosier Stock event for the Civic Holiday racing special at the Merrittville Speedway.
BOB ST AMAND MEMORIAL 100 NIGHT SUMMARY – 8-4-14 Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds 100: DANNY JOHNSON, Mike Bowman, Chris Steele, Jimmy Phelps, Erick Rudolph, Billy Decker, Pete Bicknell, Larry Wight, Peter Britten, Matt Sheppard, Brett Hearn, Mat Williamson, Billy VanInwegen, Ryan Susice, Stewart Friesen, Gary Tompkins, Tyler McPherson, Justin Haers, Scott Wood, Matt Billings, Pat Ward, Carey Terrance, Tim Jones, Rich Scagliotta, Chad Brachmann, Bill Bleich, Keith Flach, Justin Wright, Randy Chrysler, and Tommy Flannigan Failed to Qualify: Robbie Krull, Chad Chevalier, Dave Flannigan, Todd Gordon, Glen Styres, Mark D’llario, Travis Miller, Brandon Easey, Mitch Primeau, Brett Clarke, Ray Bliss and James Michael Friesen
Qualifying Heats (Top 3 Redraw, Top 5 Qualify) 1: M. Sheppard, B. VanInwegen, P. Britten, B. Decker, K. Flach, T. Jones, B. Bleich, D. Flannigan, C. Chevalier Did Not Start: P. Ward 2: J. Phelps, C. Steele, M. Billings, T. Flannigan, S. Friesen, L. Wight, R. Krull, R. Scagliotta, T. Gordon, M. Williamson 3:B. Hearn, P. Bicknell, E. Rudolph, R. Susice, R. Chrysler, T. McPherson, S. Wood, R. Bliss, B. Clarke, M. Primeau Did Not Start: J.M. Friesen 4:M. Bowman, D. Johnson, C. Brachmann, J. Haers, J. Wright, C. Terrance, M. D’llario, G. Tompkins, T. Miller, B. Easey, G. Styres
Last Chance Qualifiers (Top 3 Advance to A-Main) 1: Wight, Jones, Bleich, Krull, Ward, Williamson, Chevalier, D. Flannigan, Gordon, Scagliotta, Styres 2: McPherson, Terrance, Tompkins, Wood, D’llario, Miller, Easey, Primeau, Clarke, Bliss, J.M. Friesen Pole Position/Bilstein Shocks Fast Time: Brett Hearn 15.772 seconds (51st career Fast Time)
Hoosier Stocks Duel on the Dirt 25: KEVIN KNAPP, Billy Bleich Jr, Mark Fawcett, Chris Crawford, Billy Hogue, Brad Sheehan, Kyle Pelrine, Peter Reid, Jim Lampman, Brandon Murrell, Bryce Richardson, Mason Smith, Rob Murray, Eli Mayhew, Jonah Mutton Qualifying Winners: Kevin Knapp, Billy Hogue
Ballhockey.com Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College Winner: John Burt
For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 63rd Consecutive Season in 2014 – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com.
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Merrittville Speedway is located at 2371 Merrittville Highway in Thorold.
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Join us this 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 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!
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