Story By: JONATHON HOWE / MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY – THOROLD, ONT – St. Mathieu De Beloeil, Quebec native Jordan Poirier continued his winning ways at the Merrittville Speedway Saturday night, as he was victorious in the inaugural event for the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series.
In the first Action Sprint Tour event of 2021, Port Colborne, Ontario’s Jacob Dykstra was able to find victory lane. Third-generation driver James Friesen from St. Catharines, Ontario won his second straight Rick’s Delivery Sportsman feature. Rob Murray from St. Catharines, Ontario was victorious in the Hoosier Stocks. A worldwide audience saw the action live as the entire race program was broadcasted on GForceTV. The complete race program is available to watch on www.gforcetv.net
In the debut of the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Season, Aaron Turkey, and Jim Huppunen lead the field of 22 to the green flag, with “The Red Rocket” Jim Huppunen showing the way. Huppenen took the lead early and used the low line to start to drive away from the field. As the 14H began to catch lap traffic, Quebec native Jordan Poirier used the extreme high line to run Huppunen down. By taking advantage of where the lap cars were not, Poirier completed the pass and drove away from the rest of the field in dominating fashion. Poirier took the win in the series opener over Huppunen, Mack DeMan, Josh Hansen, and Cory Turner.
Allan Downey would take the lead early from his pole position in the Action Sprint Tour feature event. After the caution flag flew just past the halfway mark, Jacob Dykstra would start to challenge Downey. After the restart, Dykstra made the move for the lead on the bottom, completing the pass. Soon Dykstra found himself on the defense from Luke Smith. Smith running the high side, was able to avoid lap traffic and briefly take the lead. However, a caution for the #70mm of Dave McKnight, flew just Dykstra was able to get back by Smith. On the final restart with six laps to go, Dykstra was able to hold off Smith and the rest of the field to get the victory.
A chaotic start to the 25-lap feature for the Rick’s Delivery Sportsman division would see several cautions before the field was able to complete lap six. Outside pole sitter Greg Panunte was able to control several early restarts, but as the race began to run green flag laps, James Friesen would emerge as the favorite. At one point, Friesen’s lead stretched out to more than a full straightaway. However, Brad Rouse would bring out a final caution while running in the top 5 with 4 to go. Friesen held off Panunte, David Flannigan, Brent Begolo, and Cody McPherson to go back-to-back at Merrittville.
A loaded field of Hoosier Stocks would battle on the dirt at Merrittville, but it was the division’s cream of the crop who would once again find their way to the front. After Mark Fawcett controlled the first third of the race from the pole, it was multi-time track champion Rob Murray using his inside position from row 3 to start challenging for the lead. After taking the lead, the M1 found a familiar foe in his rearview. Dave Bailey who started 12th patiently made his way through the top ten before getting to the back bumper of Murray. Before Bailey could make a move, the caution waved and brought the field down for a side-by-side restart. Chris Hale had a great start and gave a shove from third place to leader Rob Murray, which forced Bailey into defense mode. On lap 17, the caution waved again and set up a single-file restart with three laps remaining. Last week, Bailey was able to slip by Murray late to win, this week it was all Rob Murray, who led the final three laps and won over Bailey, Hale, Logan Schwedyk, and Ryan Beagle.
Next Saturday, a full Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing Series will take place, headlined by the S&W Service Centre 358 Modifieds. Sportsman, Hoosier Stocks, Mod Lites, 4 Cylinders, and the V6 will all be in action. Follow Merrittville’s social media pages about ticket sales for next week’s event. Registration links will be available on social media at the beginning of the week. Racing will get underway at 7 pm.
RACE RESULTS – JULY 10, 2021
PINTY’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprints: JORDAN POIRIER, Jim Huppunen, Mack DeMan, Josh Hansen, Cory Turner, Shone Evans, Aaron Turkey, Ryan Turner, DJ Christie, Jacob Dykstra, Travis Cunningham, Liam Martin, Jamie Turner, Tyler Rand, Holly Porter, Nick Sheridan, Chris Jones, Kevin Pauls, Dan Nanticoke, Corey Gruhl, Bailey Heard, Mikey Kruchka (Did Not Start)
Qualifying Heats: Jordan Poirier, Cory Turner, Aaron Turkey
Action Sprint Tour: JACOB DYKSTRA, Lucas Smith, Nick Sheridan, Jesse Costa, Steven Beckett, Brett Stratford, Allen Downey, Darren Dryden, DJ Christie, Terry Baker, Curtis Gartley, Dan Ferguson, Trevor Young, Ryan Fraser, Austin Roes, Derek Miller, Lance Erskine, Rob Neely, Steve Murdock, Dale Curran, Larry Gledhill, Dave McKnight Jr, Dereck Lemyre, Adrian Stahle
Did Not Qualify: Eric Gledhill, Josh Hill, Tyler Powless, Noelle Teal, Johnny Miller, Darrell Pelletier, Cody Smith, Matt Hil, Andrew Marshall, Brian Nanticoke
Qualifying Heats: Steven Beckett, Nick Sheridan, Jacob Dykstra, DJ Christie
Rick’s Delivery Sportsman: JAMES FRIESEN, Dave Flannigan, Cody McPherson, Brent Begolo, Darrell Farraway, Greg Panunte, Rob Knapp, Justin Sharp, Adam Leslie, Jordan Cosco, Tyler Puchalski, Mitch Dumont, Billy Bleich Jr, Jeff Panunte, John Babion, Jason VanMil, Ryan Ferri, Terry Smith, Daniel McKay, Curtis Friesen, Emily Puchalski, Nathan Peattie, Brad Rouse, Jay Mallory, Noah Mamo, Trevor Wright
Did Not Qualify: Dave Mamo, Rob Sauder
Qualifying Heats: Rob Knapp, Jay Mallory, Jeff Panunte, James Friesen
Hoosier Stocks: ROB MURRAY, Dave Bailey, Logan Schwedyk, Chris Hale, Ryan Beagle, Kyle Pelrine, Dave Small, Mark Fawcett, Rob Hoskins, Jeff Larmet, Mike Klazinga, Clinton Nicholls, Jason Fontaine, Jim Lampman, Donny Lampman, Blake Bomberry Jr, Kyle Wert, Spencer Smolders, Kevin Knapp, Evan Curtis, Go Fast Teeple, Zach Bleich, Steve Shaw Jr, Steve Shaw Sr, Ron Loggie, Barry Beck Jr
Did Not Qualify: Kacey Huffman, Mike Thorne, Brandon Swinson, Adam Plazek, Devon Bacher, Kyle Andress, Brayden King, Tom Pearson
Qualifying Heats: Jason Fontaine, Logan Shwedyk, Mark Fawcett, Dave Bailey