Huppenenwins Southern Ontario Sprint Feature and Turner the title - Rouse, Murray win 50 lap Events, Begolo and Conley also visit Victory Lane
September 10, 2018 THOROLD, ONTARIO Welland's Jim Huppenen won the Southern Ontario Sprints Finale Saturday September 8th at Merrittville Speedway with Caistor Centre's Cory Turner the Points Championship.
St. Catharines drivers swept both 50 lap Events in the final Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series Event of the season - Brad Rouse in the 50 lap Super DIRTcar Series Race for the David Chevrolet Sportsman and Rob Murray in the Insta-Panels Duel on the Dirt 50 lap Series Event for the Hoosier Stocks.
Two time Champion Brent Begolo of Thorold won the Vansickle Pet Valu & Groomingdale's Modified Lite Feature while the Dave's Auto & Speed Centre V6 Division Feature went to Kevin Conley of Port Colborne.
"I gave it away last year," said Jim Huppenen in Victory Lane after winning a thrilling 25 lap A Main, "I had the same starting spot ... it's a thin line ... this year I didn't screw up."
"I always like it here ... our family has run lots of laps here," said Cory Turner after being crowned 2018 Southern Ontario Sprint Champion and grandson of CAA Niagara Wall of Famer and Modified Point Champion Don Turner, "we stepped up our game and it's starting to show."
Ryan Turner was first to lead until Huppenen took control with one lap complete.
Just before a lap 4 caution, Dylan Westbrook took control of third spot and when racing resumed - Turner and Westbrook closed in on the leader as the frontrunners began to close on slower cars.
With lap traffic increasing the leaders soon went three wide with Westbrook taking over second on lap 17. Scott Kreutter was on the move in the late stages and took control of third on lap 22.
With Huppenen on cruise control, the race for second went three wide again between Westbrook, Kreutter and Turner.
At the finish, Huppenen was followed by Kreutter, Westbrook, Ryan Turner and his brother Cory Turner.
"Running the top went away some," said Brad Rouse in Victory Lane after backing up his second 50 lap Sportsman Series Event in 24 hours, "I knew Brent (Begolo) is good on the bottom .. I knew I had to run the mid or high line."
Prior to taking the green flag, Fourth generation racer Dylan Davidson paced the field on his own as a tribute to his great grandfather Bob Davidson Sr who passed away September 4th. Thoughts were also with Cody McPherson whose grandfather Chuck McPherson passed away earlier that day.
Quickly Rouse, Begolo and McPherson broke away from the field and by lap 12, Begolo began to challenge Rouse.
About the time the leaders came up on lap traffic, Begolo was back out front and Brent Begolo took the field to the green flag and set the pace until Brad Rouse began to challenge by the second lap. Two laps later, Rouse was the new leader.
As the race approached the halfway point, Begolo had opened up a lead of about three seconds over the battle for second between Rouse and McPherson.
By lap 30, McPherson and Rouse were side by side with Rouse regaining the runner up spot three laps later. By lap 40, Rouse appeared to be closing in on Begolo before the first caution three laps later would definitely close the gap.
Begolo would resume the lead on the restart but one lap later - Rouse would take over top spot. James Friesen would continue a late race charge taking second from Begolo, Rouse, Friesen and Begolo were followed by Mc Pherson and Justin Sharp.
Brian Teeple was first to lead the 50 lap Insta-Panels Duel on the Dirt Series Feature before Jim Lampman was the new leader the first time into Turn 2.
With some of the best racers from across Southern Ontario at the front of the field, Jason Fontaine trailing the leaders ahead of a three wide early battle between Rob Murray, Pete Reid and Brighton Speedway's Justin Ramsey.
Unfortunately Reid and Ramsey would both suffer flat tires slowing the pace on lap 4 with Fontaine the new leader on the restart.
Just before a lap 9 caution, Murray would take top spot from Fontaine. Quickly Dave Bailey would take the runner up spot with Dave Small following suit. Small would take second on lap 13 before taking over the lead on lap 17.
Caution on lap 21 had Small back out front before slowing with a flat tire on the restart with Murray back out front once again. Just before a lap 26 caution, Bryce Richardson, Bailey and Ryan Beagle were three wide. When action resumed, Murray and Bailey were bumper to bumper ahead of Beagle and Brad Sheehan who had started 26th.
Murray would set the pace through 2 restarts as the race was into the 30s on the Randy's Smoke Shop Turn 1 lap counter until one final caution on lap 41.
In the closing laps, Murray was followed by Beagle and Small who regrouped from the earlier flat to take third. Sheehan and Chris Hale.
The 15 lap Season Finale had team-mates Jamie Gilbert in the Josh Sliter #17 and Brent Begolo on the front row and at the drop of the green, Gilhert was first to lead.
Begolo quickly pulled alongside Gilbert and became the new leader down the backstretch of lap 2.
By halfway, Begolo had opened up a lead of almost a ¼ lap. There was no slowing the two time champion who was able to stretch his lead despite coming up on slower cars by lap 10.
At the finish, Begolo came home out front by about a straightaway over Gilbert with Tyler Winger, Randy Giroux and RJ Pietz as the top 5.
Kevin Conley set the pace at the start of the 12 lap Feature for the Dave's Auto & Speed Centre V6 Division before inaugural Champion John Couture took over top spot to start lap 4.
Conley regained the lead the next lap and although Couture pulled alongside - Conley maintained his advantage. By lap 8, Conley had opened up a 5 car advantage and through to the finish stretched the margin for his first Feature win after joining the new division into the season.
Couture settled for second ahead of James Small, Colton Lane and Mike Nicholls.
UPCOMING AT MERRITTVILLE
Merrittville will host a Wednesday Night Practice on September 12th. Open to all divisions - the Pit Area will open at 5:30 and the Track at 6:30.
The 2018Insta-Panels Duel on the Dirt Series concludes Saturday September 22ndat the Brighton Speedway.
The 2018 Awards Banquet is Saturday November 24th at Club Castropignano. Tickets are in the very near future at the Speedway Office.
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
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MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY SPONSORS The 2018 67th Anniversary Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series for Merrittville Speedway's 6 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!
Cotton Inc Season Finale Night - Saturday September 8, 2018
Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series Complete Results
- Southern Ontario Sprints A Main (25 laps) Jim Huppenen, Scott Kreutter, Dylan Westbrook, Ryan Turner, Cory Turner, Ryan Susice, Mitch Brown, Travis Cunningham, Jamie Turner, Jake Brown, Mike Thorne, Holly Porter, Shawn Sliter, Warren Mahoney, Kyle Phillips, Cole McDonald, Scott Burk, Brad Knab, Allen Gilletta, Frank Baranowski, Josh Sliter, Mike Farrell.
- David Chevrolet Sportsman Super DIRTcar Series Feature (50 laps) Brad Rouse, James Friesen, Brent Begolo, Cody McPherson, Justin Sharp, Chad Chevalier, Robbie Johnston, Adam Leslie, Dylan Davidson, Jay Mallory, Tyler Puchalski, Dave DiPietro, Rob Knapp, Trevor Wright, Ryan Ferri, Jessica Power, Jordan Cosco, Lee Mallory, Dave Small, Dan Ferguson, Derek VanMil, Luke Carleton, Darrel Farraway, Garrison Kretz, Vince Fargnoli, Kyle Inman.
- Hoosier Stock Duel on the Dirt Series Feature (50 laps) Rob Murray, Ryan Beagle, Dave Small, Brad Sheehan, Chris Hale, Dave Bailey, Wade Purchase, Bryce Richardson, Ken Sargent, Ian Blanchard, Kyle Pelrine, Steve Shaw Jr., Doug Anderson, Kevin Pauls, Brian Teeple, Jens Mortensen, Tanner Podwinski, Rob Hoskins, Jim Lampman, Steve Shaw, Rich Champigny, Billy Bleich Jr., Tony Fraser, Jason Fontaine, Pete Reid, Justin Ramsay.
- Vansickle Pet Valu & Groomingdale's Modified Lite Division (15 laps) Brent Begolo, Jamie Gilbert, Tyler Winger, Randy Giroux, RJ Pietz, Sean Iftody, Rob Misener, Craig Martin, Ryleigh Sliter, Dave Cornish, Zach Trotter.
- Dave's Auto & Speed Centre Feature (12 laps) - Kevin Conley, John Couture, James Small, Colton Lane, Mike Nicholls, JJ MacDonald, Vincent Pagnotta, Tina Ronning.