Dylan Davidson, Josh Hansen, Kyle Sopaz, and Brad Sheehan Pick Up Canada Day Wins at Merrittville

by Steven Petty     THOROLD, ONTARIO (July 1, 2019) … Fourth generation driver Dylan Davidson from St. Catharines, Ontario earned his first career Sportsman victory after winning the 40-lap main event for the Race of Champions 602 Dirt Sportsman Modified Series at the Merrittville Speedway on Canada Day Monday. A packed grandstand saw fireworks on the track and in the air as Graybar Electrical and Schneider Electric presented the Canada Day program. Josh Hansen from Welland, Ontario scored his second win on the season with the Action Sprint Tour. Trenton, Ontario’s Kyle Sopaz scored his first career Merrittville checkered flag in winning the Northeast Late Model Alliance Brad Sheehan from St. Catharines, Ontario score the win in the Insta Panels Duel on the Dirt for the Hoosier Stocks.

The second visit of the season by the Action Sprint Tour presented by Racerivalz.com saw “The Beamsville Bullet” Paul Klager and Matt Farnham on the front row for the 20-lap A Main with Farnham taking over the lead as Josh Hansen moved into second at the end of the opening circuit. Hansen would look to the outside and would pass Farnham for the lead on lap two. The leader would hit lap traffic on lap six, as Farnham would catch Hansen while Hansen was battling in lap traffic. Liam Martin would pass Farnham to move into second on lap nine and would quickly go after Hansen. Dave McKnight would spin in turn one to bring out the caution on lap 10. Off the restart, Hansen would take off as Martin, Farnham, and Jacob Dykstra raced inside the top four. Hansen would reel in Noelle Teal spun in turn four to bring out the caution with three laps remaining. The late-race restart would see Hansen pull away from Martin and Farnham to score his second win with the Action Sprint Tour at Merrittville.

Race number two of the 2019 Race of Champions 602 Dirt Sportsman Series presented by Product 9 saw Adam Leslie and Greg Panunte on the front row with Leslie showing the way. Panunte would use the launch off of turn two to battle with Leslie as Cody McPherson, along with past Series champions Brad Rouse and Chad Chevalier raced on. Cody McPherson was able to get around Leslie and Panunte to take over the lead prior to the ¼ mark. McPherson, Brad Rouse and Panunte were able to pull away as Dylan Davidson battled with Chad Chevalier for several circuits. Davidson was able to clear Chevalier and was able to pass Panunte just past the halfway mark to move into third place. Davidson would take second from Rouse on lap 29 and would go after McPherson. Davidson would pass McPherson with five laps to go and would go on to score his first career Sportsman victory. Race three will take place at Ohsweken Speedway on July 23.

The Crate Late Models returned to Merrittville as part of the Vanderlaan Building Supplies Northeast Late Model Alliance as Zanchin Truck and Trailer presented the Late Model portion of the program. David Pangrazio and Kyle Sopaz brought the field to the green flag for their 30-lap feature with Sopaz taking the lead away from Pangrazio. Pangrazio would challenge Sopaz off an early race restart as Sam Pennacchio, Tim Gillespie, and Adam Ferri raced in the top five. Rob Pietz and Charlie Sandercock moved up through the field and entered the top five on lap eight. The leaders would hit lap traffic before the halfway mark as Sopaz started to pull away from Pangrazio and Pennacchio. Charlie Sandercock drove to the outside to take over third place on lap 14, as Pennacchio overdrove the corner and spun in turn four to bring out the caution. Off the restart, Sopaz would pull away from Pangrazio and Sandercock and Pietz battled for third place. Sopaz would go on to score his first career win at Merrittville.

The Hoosier Stock Insta Panels Duel on the Dirt combined race saw Brad Sheehan show the way off the start of their 40-lap main event. After a caution on lap eight for the spinning Rob Murray and Billy Bleich Jr, Ken Sargent moved into second after clearing Pelrine off turn two. Ken Sargent and Steve Shaw made contact off turn two, giving Shaw the runner up position. The leaders would hit lap traffic on lap 15 as Rob Murray started to work back up through the field after his early race spin. The caution would wave once again on lap 21 as Rob Murray and Mark Fawcett were hooked together coming off turn four. The restart would see Sheehan continue to show the way. Murray would again work his way through the field and would enter the top five with five laps remaining. Sheehan would go on to score the win.

NEWS AND NOTES:  *** cars signed in pitside for the racing program. Fans of all ages were delighted seeing Fireworks in the sky to celebrate Canada Day as well as a bounce house and free cupcakes to celebrate the holiday.

Action picks up on Saturday, July 6 as Gaston’s Auto Sales presents a full Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series program. Race time is at 7pm. Pit gates will open at 5 and the grandstands will open at 5:30pm. Fans will have the opportunity to take Fan Tram Rides during intermission on the Bellinger Electric Fan Tram.

Saturday July 13 is the annual Nostalgia Night and CAA Wall of Fame Induction night. This year’s class includes Bob Webster, Bruce Bonham, the Semenuk family, and Colleen Curvin. RSVP for the pre-race dinner for all Merrittville alumni by contacting Rick Kavanagh or Erica Bicknell-Jones. The night will feature the Jerry Winger Memorial for the 358 Modifieds. The pre-race dinner will be served starting at 4:30pm.

Follow Merrittville Speedway on social media including Facebook (facebook.com/MerrittvilleSpeedway), Twitter (@Merrittville), and online at www.merrittvillespeedway.com

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