McPherson’s Gabe Bellante Memorial Win leads to
the Crates Series Title – Klager wins
TUSA Mod Lite Special
SMS Machine Tools hosted the final round of the 2016 David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series for the Yager Bros Trucking Sportsman Division and after 40 laps – St. Catharines’ Cody McPherson won the Gabe Bellante Memorial and the title.
Paul Klager of Beamsville went flag to flag to take the $500 first place prize in the TUSA Special 20 lap event for the Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports Modified Lites.
Tyler Lafantaisie of Welland, Dave Bailey of Hagersville and Erick Rudolph of Ransomville NY also visited Victory Lane in the Van Raine Construction 4 Cylinder, Hoosier Stock and Pinty’s Delicious Foods 358 Modified Divisions respectively.
A 6th Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Division was also on track in the rain-delayed Kid’s Box Car Races.
Some familiar last names visited Victory Lane with Justin Gaboury, Brennen Hager and Savannah Fontaine winning their respective age groups with Scarlett Gaboury winning Best in Show.
The winners received cash awards from L. St. Amand Enterprises Wall of Famer Davey Moore as did all entries. Moore provided the bonuses in memory of Gabe Bellante who was a friend.
“I was taking it easy at the start knowing that it was a long race,” said Cody McPherson after winning his 5th Feature of 2016, “you had to take it easy or the cushion would suck you in – thanks to Rick (Bellante) for the race for his dad and the extra money … Gabe used to sit with my family. Next week I hope to be back here after winning my great grandfather’s race … the Bill Willard Sr. Sterling Silvr Event.”
Chad Chevalier was the initial leader at the start until a multi-car incident just past the start-finish line on lap 2 slowed the pace. Going into the event with a shot at overtaking McPherson for the Mini-Series Title was Justin Sharp. Unfortunately the new dad’s night was done at that point after damage in the incident.
Brad Rouse was the new leader on the restart with McPherson taking over the runner up spot on lap 8. Also having an outside chance of the King of the Crates Series Title was Brent Begolo. His chances most likely went away on lap 11 after he and Paul Gaboury came together. Both drivers were able to drive away once unhooked.
Rouse set the pace on the restart once again until lap 12 when McPherson became the new leader into Turn 1.
By the halfway point on lap 20, McPherson had opened up a lead of about a half straightaway – stretching his lead even more by lap 25 despite increasing lap traffic.
Lap 31 would change things up however after caution took away the leader’s healthy advantage.
With McPherson back in control – the race to watch was the one for second between Rouse, Chevalier and Rob Knapp.
The front-runners would get another shot at the leader after a lap 38 caution but in the two lap dash to the finish – it was McPherson in top spot.
Rouse would hold off Chevalier and Knapp with Jay Mallory in fifth.
McPherson’s win was worth $1,150 with the entire field sharing in $850 additional purse provided by Rick Bellante.
“That was a boring race to watch so hopefully it was exciting for you,” said Merrittville co-announcer Travis Cunningham of Paul Klager’s caution free run in the 20 lap TUSA Special Event for the Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports Modified Lites.
“I didn’t know who was behind me,” said Klager after his 5th win of the season, “I just drove it as hard as I could every lap.”
A redraw set the field in the pits and picking P1 was Klager who was the initial leader. By lap 5, Klager had driven away to a lead of almost a ¼ lap. The excitement was back through the field early with Derek Wagner and Chris Watson battling for the runner up spot.
Still under green, the front runners Klager, Wagner and now Jamie Gilbert were separated by similar ¼ lap margins.
In the later stages, the race to watch was for one for fourth between former Champion Jeffrey May and Chris Watson.
At the finish, Klager was followed by Wagner and Gilbert with May holding off Watson to round out the top 5.
“I found out early that my car was good on the inside,” said 5 time 4 Cylinder Feature Winner Tyler Lafantaisie, “once I caught Tony (Kelly) … I knew I had to keep him off the bottom.”
Clinton Nicholls set the pace at the start of the 15 lap event with action back in the pack quickly 3 and 4 wide. On the move in the early stages was Tony Kelly who quickly landed in the runner up spot before taking over top spot just before a lap 4 caution.
By lap 5, Kelly was some 5 car lengths ahead of Nicholls who had the same advantage on Alex Riley. With a few more laps in the books Lafantaisie had taken over third spot.
Lap 8 would see the 23 car starting field slowed once again after Kyle Rothwell made contact with the front stretch wall out of Turn 4.
A couple cautions would delay the return to action but when back under green it was Kelly once more. Lap 9 would find Lafantaisie as the new leader with a lap 10 caution slowing the pace.
Lafantaisie and Kelly were side by side under the green flag on the restart before Lafantaisie took control down the backstretch.
On the move in the closing laps was Jason Coutu who took over third spot.
At the finish, Lafantaisie edged Kelly by a few feet with Coutu’s third place finish unofficial pending further technical inspection. Alex Riley and Jay Moulton rounded out the top 5.
“Thanks to the track crew,” said Dave Bailey after his second Hoosier Stock Win, “I love a tacky track like this … Thanks to all the drivers and crews that have helped me out the last few weeks – this one’s for all you.”
Chris Crawford was first to lead before an early caution for debris with the leader challenged by Kyle Pelrine. It wasn’t until the frontstretch of lap 3 that Crawford had a real advantage.
After a second caution on lap 6 – the battle for top spot went three wide between Crawford, Dave Bailey and Peter Reid before they settled into position. Bailey would become the new leader and by lap 10 was off to a 5 car advantage.
By lap 15 Bailey was into lap traffic but there was no slowing him down.
When Bailey took the checkered flag on lap 20 – runner up Reid was just exiting Turn 4. Defending Champion Mark Fawcett made a late race charge to take third spot with Crawford settling for 4th. Steve Shaw’s 5th place finish is unofficial pending further technical inspection.
“I made it to 5th quickly and had settled into third,” said Erick Rudolph after winning is 3rd Feature, “Chad and Pete were the ones to beat for sure … but I found something and made my move.”
Wayne Conn was first to lead the 35 lap Feature for the 358 Modifieds with the pace slowed right away after cars came together the first time into Turn 1.
The new leader was Shayne Pierce with the battle for top spot between the leader, Conn and Chad Brachmann quickly three wide. Conn would grab top spot only to be slowed on lap 4.
Conn again set the pace until Brachmann took control on lap 5. Out of Turn 4 to complete lap 8 Chris Steele abruptly came to a stop.
On the restart it was Brachmann out front with Pete Bicknell challenging for the runner up spot. Lap 11 the pace would be slowed once again after Mike Bowman dropped from a top 5 spot with a right rear flat.
Brachmann and Bicknell were side by side on the restart with Bicknell taking the lead but not til lap 12. Brachmann would regain the lead on lap 15. Just before a lap 17 caution, Bicknell would regain top spot until it was Brachmann one lap in after the restart.
The battle for top spot would be slowed on lap 29 and after the restart – Brachmann and Bicknell were at it once more.
Third generation driver Erick Rudolph would take second before taking over top spot on lap 32. A lap 34 caution would set up a one lap dash.
At the finish, Rudolph would take the checkered flag a couple car lengths ahead of Brachmann with Bicknell settling for third. Ryan Susice and Mark D’Ilario would round out the top 5.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY
Niagara Generators will host the Sterling Silvr Event for the Yager Bros Trucking Sportsman Division – an annual award established by former racer Ken Walsh that honors Bill Willard Senior.
The 5 Division Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Event will also feature the finale of the Triple Crown Series for the Van Raine Construction 4 Cylinder Division.
Grandstands will open at 5:30 with Show Time at 7:00 PM.
To reach Merrittville Speedway call 905-892-8266 or via e mail – firstname.lastname@example.org. Merrittville Speedway is located at 2371 Merrittville Highway in Thorold Ontario. Merrittville Speedway’s Office is open Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and is located in the Grandstand Area on the ground floor of the Lucas Oil Tower.
For all the news on Merrittville Speedway’s 65th Consecutive Season in 2016 – 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
Yager Bros Trucking Sportsman Gabe Bellante Memorial David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series Finale (40 laps) Cody McPherson, Brad Rouse, Chad Chevalier, Rob Knapp, Jay Mallory, Brent Begolo, Paul Gaboury, Charlie Lynch, Chris Bellamy, Joey Mastroianni, Mark Chiddy, Tom Richau, Dave DiPietro, Richard Farraway, Joey Herremans, AJ Custodi, Sean Dominey, John Babion, Luke Carleton, Darrell Farraway, Justin Sharp, Jesse Penner.
Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports Modified Lite Feature (20 laps) Paul Klager, Derek Wagner, Jamie Gilbert, Jeffrey May, Chris Watson, Steven Beckett, Josh Sliter, Tyler Winger, Rob Misener, RJ Pietz, Marty deMoel, Chris Perry, Craig Martin, Ryleigh Sliter, Ray Sliter Jr.
Van Raine Construction 4 Cylinder Division (15 laps) Tyler Lafantaisie, Tony Kelly, Jason Coutu, Alex Riley, Jay Moulton, Clinton Nicholls, Jeremy Smith, Mike Sadusek, Kyle Miller, Sam Iftody, Tom Neale, Garnet Wilson, Brian Teeple, Greg Lounsbury, Kourtney Kocarik, Chris Laskey, Mike Giberson, Cole Taylor, Rob Sauder, Cole Hardy, Trevor Want, Kyle Rothwell, Austyn Werstroh.
Hoosier Stock Feature (20 laps) Dave Bailey, Pete Reid, Mark Fawcett, Chris Crawford, Steve Shaw, Jim Lampman, Jason Fontaine, Kyle Pelrine, Jack Myers, Dave Small, Luke Skywalker, Chris Schneider, Tanner Podwinski, Adam Ferri, Greg Wilson.
Pinty’s Delicious Foods 358 Modified Feature (35 laps) Erick Rudolph, Chad Brachmann, Pete Bicknell, Ryan Susice, Mark D’Ilario, Tim Jones, Gary Lindberg, Wayne Conn, Shayne Pierce, Don Spiece, Fred Carleton, Mike Bowman, Tommy Flannigan, Scott Wood, Chris Steele, Todd Gordon.
MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY SPONSORS The 2016 65th Anniversary Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series for Merrittville Speedway’s 5 Divisions is brought to race fans and racers by division sponsors – Pinty’s Delicious Foods, Yager Bros Trucking, Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports, Hoosier Tire Canada and Van Raine Construction in addition to many marketing partners Visit them at . http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/sponsors.htm and visit them when you require their products and/or services.
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