Williamson wins Stevens Memorial - Evans takes Action Sprint Tour A Main ... Murray, Begolo and Plazek also Monday Night Winners
With files from Clayton Johns
May 22, 2018 THOROLD, ONTARIO - In 4 Brian Stevens Memorials there has only been 2 winners of the Event that honors the memory of the CAA Niagara Wall of Famer and two time S&W Service Centre Modified Point Champion. In the Zavitz Financial Strategies and ZFS Benefit Solutions Special Event that fact remains true as St. Catharines driver Mat Williamson took home the $2700 Cheque at the conclusion of 67 laps Third generation Ransomville NY racer Erick Rudolph won the first two and Williamson the next two - the latest Monday May 21st.
Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series action also had Shone Evans of Scotland ON take the first Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com 20 lap Feature while Rob Murray (St. Catharines), Brent Begolo (Thorold) and Adam Plazek (Caistor Centre) were also winners in the Hoosier Stock, Vansickle Pet Valu & Groomingdale's Modifed Lites and Dave's Auto and Speed Centre V6 Divisions.
"It's real nice to win it again in honour of Brian ... he was a great man and he's certainly missed," said Mat Williamson who was met in Victory Lane by Stevens' daughter Melissa and many former crew members of the Stevens Racing Team including Ray Samuel who in recent years has joined Williamson's team, "it's cool to do it again with Ray as my crew chief."
After a ceremonial lap with the Pole Position left open in honour of Stevens, the event's only winners led the field to Starter Steve DeVos' green flag with Williamson the initial leader.
After a lap 7 restart, Rudolph was being challenged by Mike Bowman with the two swapping the runner up spot until Ryan Susice caught the front runners. Sussice would challenge Bowman for third ... eventually taking on Rudolph for second.
Susice would take second spot on lap 12 and by lap 18 Williamson would lead the field into lap traffic with almost a straightaway lead by lap 20.
Lap 20 was also near disaster for Bowman and Gary Lindberg after the two came together in Turn 1 but both were able to continue without slowing the event.
By lap 30, Susice began to close slightly - cutting Williamson's more than 3 second lead down to 2.5 despite increasing lap traffic. 10 laps later ... Williamson increased the margin.
Just before a lap 51 caution, Susice closed to within 2.9 seconds. On the restart, Williamson pulled away to a 5 car lead with Chad Brachmann into third before a lap 59 caution.
Williamson regained the lead on the restart with Susice trying the outside to no avail.
One last caution set up a 2 lap dash to the finish with Williamson besting Brachmann who took second spot on the restart. Susice would settle for third spot with Pete Bicknell and Lindberg as the top 5.
"My team is, wow, without them I'm nothing," Evans said in Victory Lane. "They get my car going good every night. The boys back in the pits had me setup pretty good. It was a little loose, but it worked out."
Shone Evans took the lead from Brad Herron on lap 13 and survived a pair of restarts over the final seven laps to earn his first career win with the Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com at Merrittville Speedway.
Herron and Ryan Hunsinger drew front row starting positions for the main event after finishing in the top two of heat three. Both drivers had the option to take the Durnin Motors Front Row Challenge. The two front row drivers had the chance to give up their starting spots to drop to the 12th starting position for a chance at a $500 bonus courtesy of Durnin Motors if they could win the main event from the sixth row, however both drivers elected to keep their top spots.
Herron and Hunsinger raced side-by-side for the first three laps until Hunsinger prevailed with an early lead in the outside lane. The top two quickly opened a 10-car length advantage over third-place running Evans. Their advantage was erased, though, on lap three when Davey Boughton spun in turn two.
On the ensuing restart, Hunsinger got an excellent jump in his Transport Sales and Service No.43h. As Hunsinger ran the high side, Herron continued to stay low. Hunsinger continued to search for moisture on the outside and looked a little too far at the exit of turn four on lap nine as he stuck the right-rear tire into Merritville's infamous front stretch moat, allowing Herron to drive by for the lead.
After Herron had the top spot, Hunsinger tried to recover the lead, but on lap 10 went over the end of turn four and spun to bring out the second yellow of the race. Hunsinger later revealed the left-rear shock had broken on his car. The caution promoted third-starting Shone Evans to second behind Herron and ahead of Holly Porter, 15-year-old pilot Liam Martin and Jesse Costa.
Herron maintained his lead for two laps until Evans got an excellent run down the backstretch on lap 13 and drove to the outside of Herron with a burst of momentum that allowed him to grab the top spot off of turn four.
"I saw how Hunsinger and Brad were running the turns, so I knew I had a little bit more than they did," Evans explained. "I just waited for my time and finally got around him."
On the ensuing lap, the caution waved for the third time when Mike Bell parked his No.99 at the exit of turn four. Evans had no issues on the following restart and drove away from Herron to a half straightaway advantage with five laps to go.
Behind the top two, the battle for third raged on between Costa, Martin and Porter. After Evans took the white flag and appeared to have the race sewn up, the caution flag waved for the final time when AJ Lewis spun at the top of turn four, just in front of the leader.
The spin setup a green-checkered finish where Evans made no mistakes on the final lap to seal his first win with the Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com while Herron settled for second. Contact at the finish in the battle for third sent Costa sideways under the flag stand, but he held on to the final podium spot ahead of Aaron Turkey and Porter. Turkey was also the hard-charger of the race, advancing 12 positions from 16th to fourth.
After his third-place finish at Merrittville and a second-place result on Friday night at Ohsweken, Costa takes the early point lead away from the Action Sprint Tour's opening weekend.
"It's awesome," Costa said of his strong opening weekend. "I've never led the points in (Sprint Cars) or ever been close. I have to thank Wells Foundry, DNO Towing, Best Safety Training and Magnum Signs for being so supportive of all this."
Costa, Evans and Hunsinger won qualifying heat races. All 25 cars qualified for the 20-lap main event, which eliminated the need for a B-Main.
The Action Sprint Tour returns to Merrittville Saturday July 8th when Schneider Electric also hosts the Hardys Racing Triple Crown Series Finale for the Central Fabricating & Welding 4 Cylinders - also an Insta-Panels Duel on the Dirt Series Event
"It's great to win one for Steve," said Rob Murray in Victory Lane whose crew member Steve Cox celebrated a birthday Sunday, "it was a great race with Kyle (Pelrine)."
Murray closed quickly on Pelrine on lap 14 eventually taking top spot with 6 laps to go.
After the original start was called off, Dave Small was first to lead before Pelrine began to challenge for top spot. A restart after a lap 2 caution found Pelrine as the new leader. With 5 laps complete, Pelrine was the leader with Jason Fontaine trying to take top spot away.
Lap 8 would find Murray joining in the battle for top spot making it three wide with Pelrine and Fontaine. Murray would take on Pelrine for top spot while Ken Sargent was pressuring Fontaine.
After taking over top spot, Murray would drive home with a couple car length advantage over Pelrine with Sargent third. Brad Sheehan and Justin Ramsey - a Brighton Speedway racer rounded out the top 5.
Thanks to the Sliter family and the whole gang on the JSR Team... Honoured to win on Brian Stevens Memorial Night, grew up watch my father and him race so was a special night and enjoyed the holiday weekend. Was great to cap it off with a win.
"Thanks to the Sliter family and the whole gang on the JSR Team," said Brent Begolo in Victory Lane, "I'm honoured to win on Brian Stevens Memorial Night. I grew up watching my Father (Wall of Famer Jim Begolo) and Brian race together ... so it is a special night. I enjoyed the holiday weekend - the win was a great way to cap it off."
Begolo, the defending champion took the lead for the final time after a lap 5 restart after Tyler Winger flipped his car several times down the backstretch. Winger was OK after the incident and before the race went back to green - Chris Watson had to have his car towed to the pit area.
Craig Martin was the initial leader until Rob Misener took control in Turn 3 during the first lap. Misener was comfortably out front of several battles for position that included a 4 wide race to get into the top 5.
Begolo would land in second spot by lap 3 and would swap the lead with Misener before taking control before Winger's misfortune.
With Begolo out front on the restart his team mate Josh Sliter was now in the runner up spot until the multi-time champion spun his car in Turn 2 on lap 10.
In the 5 lap run to the finish, Begolo would come home in front of Sliter who drove back through the field. RJ Pietz, Misener and Jeffrey May closed out the top 5.
"It's a great night for a win," said Adam Plazek in V6 Victory Lane for the second time in 2018, "my grandparents Don and Peggy crewed for Brian Stevens and were sponsors of the team ... my Uncle Dave got to join us too. With my dad Frank a former racer and my uncles Joe and Jamie too ... it's a great night for all my family."
John Couture was first to lead the 12 lap Feature for the Dave's Auto & Speed Centre sponsored division with Plazek applying the pressure quickly. Plazek would take control of top spot to start lap 3 with the two leaders driving away from the field.
A lap 6 caution would slow the pace with Plazek and Couture side by side by lap 7 while opening up a comfortable lead once again.
By lap 9, Plazek pulled away to a couple car length lead, stretching his advantage through the checkered flag. Couture would settle for second ahead of Stephen Conway, Chris Mussat and Alana MacDonald.
UPCOMING at Merrittville Speedway
The month of May will close Saturday May 26th when CAA Niagara hosts a Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series Event that features the David Chevrolet King of the Crates Series Opener for the Sportsman Division plus 358 Modifieds, Hoosier Stocks, Mod Lites, 4 Cylinders and V6 Divisions.
CAA Niagara Members are reminded of the Special Offer available at https://caaniagara.ca/events/night-merrittville-speedway
Pits will open at 5:00, Grandstands at 5:30 and Show time is 7 PM.
Merrittville will host a Wednesday Night Practice on May 30th. Open to all divisions - the Pit Area will open at 5:30 and the Track at 6:30.
For further information - call 905-892-8266 or visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com
For all the news on Merrittville Speedway's 2018 Season, Race fans and Race teams alike can follow Merrittville on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/groups/merrittvillespeedway/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/Merrittville?lang=en
MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY SPONSORS The 2018 67th Anniversary Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series for Merrittville Speedway's 5 Divisions is brought to race fans and racers by division sponsors - S&W Service Centre, David Chevrolet, Hoosier Tire Canada, Vansickle Pet Valu & Groomingdale's, Central Fabricating and Welding and Dave's Auto & Speed Centre in addition to many marketing partners Visit them at http://www.merrittvillespeedway.com/sponsors.html and visit them when you require their products and/or services.
Celebrating more than15 years of serving the Hamilton, Halton and Niagara Regions, Bobcat of Hamilton is a leading provider of compact equipment for a wide variety of markets - striving to empower customers to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
To learn more about more about the Bobcat of Hamilton Advantage click on www.bobcatofhamilton.com
Bobcat of Hamilton ... One Tough Animal!
Zavitz Financial Strategies & ZFS Benefit Solutions Night - Monday May 21, 2018
Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series Complete Results
4th Annual Brian Stevens Memorial for the S&W Service Centre 358 Modifieds (67 laps) Mat Williamson, Chad Brachmann, Ryan Susice, Pete Bicknell, Gary Lindberg, Tim Jones, Rick Richner, Tommy Flannigan, Todd Gordon, Fred Carleton, Jay Mallory, Tom Richau, Tom Neale, Erick Rudolph, Scott Wood, Mike Bowman, Boyd MacTavish, Tyler Willard.
Action Sprint Tour powered by RaceRivalz.com Feature (20 laps) Shane Evans, Brad Herron, Jesse Costa, Aaron Turkey, Holly Porter, Jacob Dykstra, Liam Martin, Paul Klager, Derek Lemyre, Josh Hansen, Jerry Hills, Ryan Hunsinger, Steven Beckett, Hanna Ferrell, Rob Neely, Brian Nanticoke, Lofton Schuts, Trevor Young, Al Giletta, AJ Lewis, Blaine Barrow, Michael Bell, Brandon Murrell, Davey Boughton, Mike Verney.
Hoosier Stock Division Feature (20 laps) Rob Murray, Kyle Pelrine, Ken Sargent, Brad Sheehan, Justin Ramsey, Dave Bailey, Dave Small, Steve Shaw, Bill Podwinski, Tanner Podwinski, Scott McPhail, Steve Shaw Jr., Kevin Pauls, Adam Turner, Jeff Roelofs, Robin Mortensen, Wade Purchase, Tony Shintani, Jody Mason, Jason Fontaine.
Vansickle Pet Valu & Groomingdale's Modified Lite Division Feature (20 laps) Brent Begolo, Josh Sliter, RJ Pietz, Rob Misener, Jeffrey May, Chris Perry, Randy Giroux, Craig Martin, Ray Sliter, Jr., Ryleigh Sliter, Zach Trotter, Colby Bennett, Tyler Winger, Chris Watson.
Dave's Auto and Speed Centre V6 DivisionFeature (12 laps) Adam Plazek, John Couture, Steven Conway, Chris Mussat, Alana MacDonald, Vincent Pagnotta, Tina Ronning.