Brachmann, Friesen, Fontaine, Wagner
and Sliter kick off
Championship Chase with wins
in Lococo Wholesale
5 drivers visited Victory Lane May 10th kicking off the 2014 Championship Chase in the Lococo Wholesale Event at Merrittville Speedway Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Feature action saw Chad Brachman hold off Pete Bicknell by a car length to win the initial 35 lap Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Feature, James Michael Friesen, Jason Fontaine, Derek Wagner and Dillan Sliter were also first time 2014 winners in the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions respectively.
Brachmann has got to like opening nights at the Thorold DIRTcar-sanctionned facility as the Sanborn NY Driver also took home the win in the first event of 2013. What’s different this season for the 2008 Point Champion is that he will once again be a regular competitor. “Very happy with how things went tonight,” said Brachmann after having to get pushed to Victory Lane, “I think it might be out of fuel … I don’t know really but it wouldn’t start. Thanks to the crew … and to my new car owners Anthony and Rich … if every week turns out this way – we can’t wait to do it again.” Brachmann of Sanborn NY, who was in his first race for Team Owners Anthony Macri and Rich Stock almost needed every drop of fuel to hold off a home stretch challenge from defending and 23 time Champion Pete Bicknell who fell a car length short at the finish. Mat Williamson and Ryan Susice led the field to the initial green flag with Susice taking control the first time down the backstretch. Two early cautions delayed the event with Susice setting the pace. By lap 5, Tommy Flannigan had caught the leader with the two in a see-saw battle until Flannigan took contol by lap 8 Brachmann took control of the runner-up spot by lap 15 with Susice now facing a challenge from Williamson and Bicknell. As the two got both were able to overtake Susice – Brachmann was able to close in on Flannigan to lap 20. By lap 25, the battle for top spot was down to a couple car lengths before a caution made it even closer. Just as Brachmann became the new leader on the restart two consecutive cautions, Flannigan was back out front until Brachmann regained top spot. Pete Bicknell was soon in the runner up spot and by lap 30 was some 5 car lengths behind Brachmann. Brachmann and Bicknell were followed by Flannigan and Susice. Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Heat Winners were Williamson, Susice and Flannigan.
“Hopefully we can keep this rolling,” said Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Feature Winner James Michael Friesen, “to compete with these guys we have a new frame and motor this year.” Just past lap 15 of the 25 lap event, Friesen of St. Catharines would take control of top spot as the front-runners raced into increasing lap traffic. Through to the finish, the leaders and lap cars were 4 wide at times with Friesen prevailing. Gary Lindberg made a late race charge to take the runner-up spot on the white flag lap after catching Brent Begolo by lap 20. The initial leader and defending overall Mr. DIRTcar Champion Brad Rouse was the initial leader at the start until the halfway point. Begolo settled for fourth with Justin Sharp rounding out the top 5. Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division Heat Winners were Rouse, Adam Leslie and Friesen while Scott George won the B Main.
A lap 9 caution in the 20 lap Hoosier Stock Feature would find Mark Fawcett put back two spots after the initial leader jumped the original start. To the race’s first caution quite a battle waged between Billy Hogue and Jason Fontaine with Fontaine in control on the restart. With Fontaine out front, the battle for second turned into a three wide challenge between Hogue, Fawcett and former Champion Rob Murray. Eventually Hogue would settle into second with the Port Colborne’s Fontaine ahead by a couple car lengths. By lap 15 Fontaine would stretch his lead over the battle for runner up spot which was the one to watch. Hogue would hold off Fawcett by a mere .012 of a second with James Thompson making a late race charge to get by Murray. Hoosier Stock Heat Winners were Fawcett and Thompson.
Derek Wagner of Middleport NY outraced fellow front row starter Paul Klager to the initial green flag of the 15 lap Feature for the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lites before Klager took control on lap 2. By lap 5 the two leaders had opened up a comfortable lead on defending and 4 time Champion Josh Sliter until a lap 7 caution slowed the pace. With Klager back in control on the restart, Wagner would edge ahead until taking definite control of top spot along the backstretch of lap 8. A lap 12 caution would slow the field once again with Wagner resuming control on the restart. By the finish, Wagner would open up about a 10 car margin of victory over Klager with third place finisher Sliter about the same distance behind. Jeffrey May and Rick Koabel would close out the top 5. J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Heat Winners were Wagner and Klager.
Mike Sadusek was first to lead the 15 lap Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Feature before a lap 4 caution with Sadusek and Evan Curtis leading the field back to green. Curtis would become the new leader in Turn 2 after the restart with Sadusek quickly challenged by Dillan Sliter. Sliter would take over second on lap 7 and by lap 10 closed to within a car length of Curtis. Curtis and the front runners were into lap traffic by lap 11 – having to split the slower cars out of Turn 2. The maneuvering would see Sliter as the new leader with Sadusek back into second. In the closing laps, Curtis would regain control of second but Sliter was able to pull away to a comfortable lead at the checkered flag. Sadusek would settle for third with Rob Goulding and Leroy Buscumb as the top 5. Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division Heat Winners were Sadusek and Curtis.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY The Welland and Fort Erie Timber Marts will kick off the first doubleheader of the new season Saturday May 17th with a full Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Race Card that features the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modifieds in the opening round of the new for 2014 Tri Track Series presented by Van Raine Construction and VP Race Fuels. Grandstand Gates open at 5:30 and Showtime is 7:00. Monday May 19th ZFS Benefit Solutions and Zavitz Financial Strategies will present the 100 lap 358 Modified Super DIRTcar Series Main Event with a Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Home Track Event and the first Ballhockey.com Enduro Qualifier accelerated by Niagara College. Grandstands open at 5:30 with Show Time at 7 PM.
PIT NOTES The flags were at half mast in memory of members of Merrittville’s racing family who had passed away in the off season - Gabe Bellante, Norm Cole, Pauline Chrysler, Ruth Saltarelli, Richard Gay, Debbie Burghall, Roy French and racers Jimmy Hatt and Steve Hulsizer. The first of several FREE Draws courtesy of Philbrick Farm & Garden Equipment and STIHL saw Carol McPherson winning a STIHL Trimmer. Gail Black won the Lucas Oil Prize Pack and Photographer Preston Haskell won the first St. Catharines CYO Hockey 50-50 Draw of the season taking home $818.00.
TURN 4 COLLISION 4 CYLINDER FEATURE (15 laps) Dillan Sliter, Evan Curtis, Mike Sadusek, Robert Goulding, Leroy Buscomb, Rob Overholt, Sam Iftody, Jason Coutu, Tyler Lafantaisie, Jeff Hill, Jocelyn Wiley, Greg Wilson, Garnet Wilson, Kyle Haynes, Chris Shepherd, Kurtis Wiley, Mike Giberson, Kourtney Kocarik, Jeremy Smith, Cam Collens, Alex Riley.
J&S HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING MODIFIED LITE FEATURE (15 laps) Derek Wagner, Paul Klager, Josh Sliter, Jeffrey May, Rick Koabel, Rob Misener, Tim Anderson, Chris Watson, Dylan Davidson, Colton Ledingham, Kristy Dulaj, Evan Leonard.
HOOSIER STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) Jason Fontaine, Billy Hogue, Mark Fawcett, James Thompson, Rob Murray, Chris Crawford, Jim Lampman, Kevin Knapp, Brad Sheehan, Jack Meyers, Billy Bleich Jr., Dave Small, Kyle Pelrine, Pete Reid, Marcel Michaud, Vince Fargnoli, Mason Smith.
RICK’S DELIVERY DIRTcar SPORTSMAN FEATURE – (25 laps) James Michael Friesen, Gary Lindberg, Brad Rouse, Brent Begolo, Justin Sharp, Austin Wood, BJ Willard, Boyd MacTavish, Paul Gaboury, Cody McPherson, Scott George, Rob Knapp, Rob Clark, Adam Leslie, Jason Moore, Gord McIntosh, Ryan Turner, Charlie Lynch, AJ Lewis, Derick Hodge, Joey Mastroianni, Jordan Cosco, Robert Baker, Jason Farraway, Paul Williamson, Jim Harbison, Jay Mallory.
BOBCAT OF HAMILTON DIRTcar 358 MODIFIED FEATURE (35 laps) Chad Brachmann, Pete Bicknell, Mat Williamson, Tommy Flannigan, Ryan Susice, Chris Steele, Tim Jones, Mike Bowman, Bill Bleich, Brandon Easey, Robbie Krull, Scott Wood, Tyler McPherson, Shayne Pierce, Todd Gordon, Steven Schumacher, Fred Carleton, Ken Winfield, Chris Bellamy, Dennis Giancola, Travis Miller, Chad Chevalier, Travis Cunningham, Rick Hoctor.
Merrittville Speedway is located at 2371 Merrittville Highway in Thorold. For directions click on http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/directions.html or call 905-892-8266 or via e mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 63rd Consecutive Season in 2014 – 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).
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