Three timer McPherson and four first time champions honored at 63rd Awards Night
Merrittville Speedway’s 63rd consecutive season officially came to a close with the Night of Champions Saturday November 1st honoring the 2014 Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Champions and other award recipients.
Cody McPherson of St. Catharines took home top honors for the 3rd straight year in the Rick’s Delivery DIRTcar Sportsman Division. Mat Williamson (St, Catharines), Mark Fawcett, (Canfield), Jeffrey May, (Mount Hope) and Leroy Buscumb (Port Colborne) all celebrated their 1st Career Championships in the Bobcat of Hamilton DIRTcar 358 Modified, Hoosier Stock, J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite and Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Divisions respectively.
Merrittville’s Co-announcers Clint Geoffrey and Dana Curvin performed Masters of Ceremony duties – presenting the top 12 points finishers from each division with point fund monies in addition to a wide variety of special awards.
The 2014 Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division Championship went right down to the final lap with second generation driver Cody McPherson edging James Michael Friesen also of St. Catharines by just 2 points. Friesen, a third generation racer and grandson of former Merrittville co-owner and Wall of Famer Stan Friesen was announced as the Archer Truck Service Driver of the Year. Friesen was one of 14 different drivers to be honored as a Driver of the Week during the season but was the only one earn it multiple times – 3 … the same number of wins he would rack up in 2014. McPherson’s 5 win season included a pair of victories in the David Chevrolet King of the Crates Mini-Series in which he won as well in 2014 in his C. McPherson Jr Trucking/Bobcat of Hamilton/Turn 4 Collision/Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports/Fourth Avenue Dental/Brian Staff/Brian's Tire Repair/The Trap #7.
After finishing in the runner up spot three straight years to 23 time Champion Pete Bicknell, Williamson rebounded from a third place finish last season to win his first Championship which earned him the Performer of the Year Award. Driving the S&W Service Centre/Optional Hose & Hydraulics/Jasen Enterprises/Darryl Johnson Inc./Champion Oil/Robitaille Racing #6, Williamson collected 5 wins and 14 top 10 finishes.
The 2014 Hoosier Stock Title Race also went down to the final lap between the top three drivers who would be separated by just 6 points at the final checkered flag. Mark Fawcett would best Welland driver Billy Hogue by 4 points with defending champion Kevin Knapp third – just 2 points behind Hogue. Fawcett drove to his first career Championship with 3 wins and 17 top 10 finishes in his Cars & Parts Auto Recycling/Universal Collision Centre/Niagara Custom Signs & Graphics/London Arms and Kahunaville/Muya Thai Niagara/Gale's Auto Aftermarket/WildGoose Performance/Sticker-it Signs& Graphics #32.
With 15 Top 5 finishes, surely consistency was the key to the title run. Consistency was also one of the keys to Jeffrey May’s first Championship in the J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division. Despite racking up impressive results - 14 Top 10 finishes with 11 of them in the Top 5, the second generation driver did not visit Victory Lane during the season in his HomeAwayFromHome.ca/Inkster Opportunities/Chadwick Electric/Mountainwide NAPA Auto Parts/Metalworks Powdercoating/Kleen-Flo/RCM Racing Equipment # 23 In the TUSA Canada East Series – three wins away from home led to a Championship in that Series as well in 2014.
Leroy Buscumb also had a break out season in winning his first career Championship in the Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division. With 15 Top 10 finishes, 2 of his 3 wins also earned him the 2014 Turn 4 Collision Triple Crown Mini-Series Title in his C&L Auto Wreckers/Niagara Battery & Tire/Tire Tracker/John Bear Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC/Eric Gas & Electric/TC Decals/W. Buscumb Transport/J Line Transport #71M All 5 division champs earned traditional
Merrittville Speedway Championship Rings and Jackets in addition to trophies and cash awards. Special Awards: Kurtis Wiley, (Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division), Chris Watson, (J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division), Kyle Pelrine, (Hoosier Stock Division), Ryan Turner, ( Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division) and Travis Miller, (Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division) received 2014 Rookie of the Year Awards. Lucas Oil Slick Mist Best Appearing Car Awards were presented to Kyle Rothwell, (Turn 4 Collision 4 Cylinder Division), Paul Klager, (J&S Heating and Air Conditioning Modified Lite Division), Kevin Knapp, (Hoosier Stock Division), Gary Lindberg, ( Rick’s Delivery Sportsman Division) and Chad Brachmann, (Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division).
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 second generation driver and former kart racer Ryan Susice of Ransomville NY, who finished in 4th spot in the Bobcat of Hamilton 358 Modified Division. The Begolo-Little Award for the most improved driver in the 358 Modified Division went to Chris Steele, 5th in the Bobcat of Hamilton Divisional Standings.
Although away on a European vacation, Steele and his fiancée Sami Pierce were the originators of a brand new award honoring the memory of Pete Cosco who passed away late this season. Pete and his wife Linda were presented with the inaugural Pete Cosco Memorial Merrittville Speedway Car Owner of the Year Award. In addition to owning Pete Cosco Haulage and Humberstone Speedway, their race team support includes as car owners and/or sponsors of Steele, their grandsons Jordan Cosco, Dylan and Tyler Davidson and Rob Ledingham.
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. Dan ‘Moose’ Sider – who has been part of the CAA Niagara Tow Truck Crew since the mid 1980’s was the 2014 recipient. Sider was also an integral part of his brother George’s racing career in the 1990’s.
The Crew Chief of Year Award named after Billy Matthews went to former racer Brian Halliwell who was behind 2013 4 Cylinder Champion Kyle Pelrine’s move to the Hoosier Stock Division. Halliwell’s father Dave – an L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Famer is a previous winner of the award.
For information on Merrittville Speedway’s 64th 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.
For a complete listing of the 2014 Points Standings – click on http://www.speednetdirect.com/points.php?track_id=8430&nav_step=results For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 64th Consecutive Season in 2015 – visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com.