McPherson wins Lucas Oil Slick Mist 50 Jerry Winger Memorial at Merrittville – Game and Stevens latest L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame Inductees
Since Merrittville Speedway’s first event in 1952, Western Hill residents have played a major role in the Thorold facilities history. When the 63rd Season was celebrated July 12th it was a huge night for the St. Catharines neighborhood. Tyler McPherson won his first Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature – taking home the 50 lap Lucas Oil Slick Mist 50 Jerry Winger Memorial after his brother Cody McPherson won his third Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Feature of 2014. Both second generation drivers grew up in Western Hill.
Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series action on Blast Entertainment Night also had Chris Crawford of Welland win his first Hoosier Stock Feature of 2014, Beamsville’s Paul Klager and Welland’s Tyler Lafantaise both winning their second events in the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions respectively while Kevin Zack took top honors in the Vintage Race Car Feature.
Just prior to race time former racers Carl Game and Brian Stevens – lifelong residents of the Hill were inducted into the L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Fame by the Merrittville Speedway Reunion Committee. “You race your whole career and you just love it … it consumes you,” remarked the 60 year old Stevens, son of the legendary Driver, Car Owner, Mechanic and Crew Chief and previous inductee - the late Ray Stevens, “ I’d like everyone here tonight not to clap for me though … do it for the crews and their families and the race team sponsors.- without any of them … this is really cool though.”
Stevens is a two time Merrittville Speedway Modified Champion (1982 and 1992) and among other championships won more than 150 Feature Events in his almost 40 year driving career. “It’s been a long-time since I’ve been here,” said an overwhelmed Carl Game who last raced in the mid 80’s, “it’s quite an honor for me to be inducted alongside so many I raced against over the years.” Game won a Late Model Championship in 1969 and is a former New York State Late Model Championship.
“I watched my brother for 25 laps and on the restarts … I knew I’d have to take the bottom groove and get back up high,” said Tyler McPherson in Victory Lane joined by his brother, family and friends, “it’s a battle out there – so many good cars. I have to give it to the fans and drivers and our families – we couldn’t do it without them.”
The start of the 50 lap event had Chris Steele lead the field to honorary starter Brian Stevens’ Green Flag with second generation driver Todd Gordon challenging the leader right away until an early caution slowed the field. While it was a good night for some Western Hill natives, it wasn’t for Mat Williamson who slowed off the pace only to return until retiring from the event. Gordon would challenge Steele once again on the restart. Through a couple restarts Steele and Gordon would swap top spot several times until Steele pulled away to a comfortable lead to the halfway point. The driver on the move was Tyler McPherson who was quickly in the runner up spot – taking the lead out of Turn 4 to complete lap 29. Steele would soon face a challenge from second generation driver Ryan Susice who took the spot on lap 35. Also making a late race charge was Chad Brachmann who had come from tail after being involved in an earlier caution. A lap 46 caution set up a 4 lap dash to the finish with McPherson holding a 5 car length advantage at the finish over Brachmann with Susice settling for third. Tim Jones was fourth with Steele holding on to fifth. A post race draw by McPherson saw Scott Wood awarded a new tire courtesy of Hoosier Tire Canada.
“Once we were able to get to the top … the car works great.” said three time and defending Champion Cody McPherson in Victory Lane at the conclusion of the 25 lap Sportsman Feature. McPherson took the lead from initial leader Joey Mastroianni on lap 5 and 5 laps later had opened up a lead of almost a full straightaway. Several cautions to the halfway point and beyond had McPherson in control until a final yellow on lap 25 set up a one lap dash to the finish. McPherson held the lead over James Friesen, Boyd MacTavish, Gary Lindberg and Jay Mallory. Joey Mastroianni was also awarded a new tire from Hoosier Tire Canada after McPherson picked his finishing position in Victory Lane.
“The last three weeks my car has been a rocket … but ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” revealed first time Hoosier Stock Feature Winner Chris Crawford, Rookie and former 4 Cylinder Champion Kyle Pelrine was first to lead the 20 lap Event before a caution right away after Rob Murray slowed with a flat tire. Pelrine resumed control on the restart but by lap 4 was facing challenges from Chris Crawford and Mark Fawcett by lap 4.Crawford became the new leader on lap 5 with Fawcett following into second on lap 6. Crawford and Fawcett ran side by side until Crawford had the advantage until caution on lap 9. Just as Fawcett was battling for top spot – Billy Hogue was now in the runner-up spot. Fawcett would lose control of his car slowing the field which all avoided the stranded car. On the restart, a race for second between Kevin Knapp and Hogue had Crawford pulling away to a 10 car length advantage until one last caution on lap 17. With Crawford and Hogue out front the race for third finished with Jason Fontaine, Kevin Knapp and Brad Sheehan rounding out the top 5. Fontaine unfortunately received no points and purse money after failing post race technical inspection in the borrowed Vince Fargnoli #90.
The 15 lap Feature for the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites saw Rick Koabel as the initial leader before Evan Leonard took control the first time down the backstretch. Two back to back early cautions eventually had rookie Chris Watson as the leader until a lap 4 caution would slow the former karter. The restart saw Watson challenged by Paul Klager and Rob Misener with the two side by side until Klager had control of top spot in Turn 2. Klager would drive away to about a ¼ lap lead at the finish. Misener would settle for second with Josh Sliter third. Watson and Leonard would round out the top 5. Once again the 15 lap Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Feature had to be a car enthusiast’s dream with quite a battle between Fords ,,, VWs and Nissans. Caution would slow the field on lap 4 just as Rob Overholt took control from Chris Shepherd with Sam Iftody the initial leader. Overholt would be challenged by Tyler Lafantaisie on the restart with the two leaders door to door until caution slowed the pace on lap 8. Lafantaisie would take control on the restart with Overholt keeping pace. At the finish, Lafantaisie’s Nissan finished ahead of Overholt’s Mustang while the battle of the VWs had Jason Coutu, Kyle Rothwell and Rob Goulding closing out the top 5.
PIT NOTES Merrittville Speedway and the Reunion Committee would like to thank L. St. Amand Enterprises, CAA Niagara and Auto FX Graphics and Signs for their support of the 2014 Reunion Night and Wall of Fame in addition to all of the Alumni and Vintage Cars that attended. Merrittville Speedway would also like to thank the Tallman Family and Philbrick Farm & Garden Equipment for their generous support in 2014 of the Stihl Trimmer Draws. For your next Stihl or Cub Cadet purchase or service … visit their Vineland location or on line at http://pfgequip.com/
Hoosier Stock Driver Billy Bleich Jr, was named as the Archer Truck Service Driver of the Week.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY Semenuk’s Esso and Archer Truck Services will present a Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event Saturday July 19th that features the second round of the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Triple Crown Series in addition to action in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds, Rick’s Delivery Sportsman, Hoosier Stock and J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Divisions.
The Grandstand Gates open at 5:30. Showtime is 7:00. 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)
Lucas Oil Slick Mist Jerry Winger Memorial 50 for the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds (50 laps) Tyler McPherson, Chad Brachmann, Ryan Susice, Tim Jones, Chris Steele, Mike Bowman, Tommy Flannigan, Scott Wood, Bill Bleich, Brandon Easey, Travis Miller, David Flannigan, Jr., Pete Bicknell, Dennis Giancola, Todd Gordon, Ken Winnfield, Brett Clarke, Luke Skywalker, Chad Chevalier, Mat Williamson, DQ (Weight) - Fred Carleton.
Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division – (25 laps) Cody McPherson, James Friesen, Boyd MacTavish, Gary Lindberg, Jay Mallory, Austin Wood, Jason Farraway, Justin Sharp, Brad Rouse, Joey Mastroianni, Adam Leslie, Jordan Cosco, Charlie Lynch, Gord McIntosh, Ryan Turner, Jim Harbison, Rob Knapp, Paul Gaboury, Brent Begolo, Robert Baker, Matt Sharpe, Derick Hodge, Paul Cunningham.
Hoosier Stock Feature (20 laps) Hoosier Stock Feature (20 laps) Chris Crawford, Billy Hogue, Jason Fontaine, Kevin Knapp, Brad Sheehan, Jim Lampman, Billy Bleich, Jr., Kyle Pelrine, James Thompson, Mike Klazinga, Mark Fawcett, Pete Reid, Marcel Michaud, Mason Smith, Rob Murray
J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Feature (15 laps) Paul Klager, Rob Misener, Josh Sliter, Chris Watson, Evan Leonard, Jeffrey May, Dylan Davidson, Dean Pronovost, Rick Koabel, RJ Pietz, Bob Davidson
Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Feature (15 laps) Tyler Lafantaisie, Rob Overholt, Jason Coutu, Kyle Rothwell, Rob Goulding, Evan Curtis, Leroy Buscumb, Sam Iftody, Chris Shepherd, Mike Sadusek, Garnet Wilson, Mike Giberson, Kyle Haynes, Kurtis Wiley, Greg Wilson, Jeremy Smith, Katie Cosco, Kourtney Kocarik, Jocelyn Wiley, Cam Collens..
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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