Story By: JONATHON HOWE / MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY – THOROLD, ONT – The first of two race nights at Merrittville Speedway over the Civic Holiday Weekend, provided great storylines and great racing action.
Ryan Susice of Wilson, New York won the Cor/Pak Merchandising 358 Modified feature.
It was redemption for Curtis Friesen from St. Catharines, Ontario, who won the Right Choice Auto & Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman feature. Hoosier Stock action saw Kyle Pelrine of Smithville, On. return to victory lane. Thorold, On. native Brent Begolo won the Rona Doidge Modlite feature. Ken Hair from Niagara Falls, On. claimed victory in the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders and Dustin Duga of Welland, On. won the V6 feature.
Dave Flannigan Jr. and Todd Gordon lead the field to green in the Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 feature Saturday Night. The start was short lived as Mat Williamson had a mechanical failure coming to the green flag and stopped on the Merrittville Speedway front stretch. The second attempt at the first lap was more successful, with Chad Chevalier grabbing the lead after a few laps. Fred Carleton took the lead and drove off from the field, amassing an over five second advantage on second place Ryan Susice. However, the caution waved again with a little than 10 laps to go, for Brad Rouse coming to a stop on the back stretch. On the restart, Carleton again led, but Susice stayed with him. The two began battling for the lead with less than 5 to go. Susice completed the pass coming to two laps to go and never looked back. The victory was Susice’s second of the year Merrittville. Carleton was second, Pete Bicknell third, Scott Wood fourth, and Erick Rudolph fifth.
The Right Choice Auto & Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman feature was a race of redemption for Curtis Friesen. The previous week’s feature had left his Read’s Haulage number 68 sportsman incredibly damaged, and the driver walking away from a scary looking flip on the front stretch. This week, Friesen took advantage of his outside front row starting position to take the lead early. Friesen built an over two second lead on Terry Smith, but the caution came out for Jesse Mason. Smith would hang with Friesen for a few laps on the restart but couldn’t complete any pass attempts. Friesen would find victory lane just a week after a nightmare wreck, winning over Smith, Justin Sharp, Cody McPherson and Rob Knapp.
Jim Lampman and Zach Bleich made up the front row for the Hoosier Stock feature race. The first caution came after Dave Bailey and Kraig Handley making contact in turn 4 and John Couture spinning after being involved. Jim Lampman restarted with the lead before being tracked down Kyle Pelrine. Bailey was involved once again in the second caution when Chris Schneider spun in turns 3 and 4, and Bailey making small contact on his way by. After the restart with 15 laps to go, Kyle Pelrine would drive away from the field, but as he negotiated lap traffic, Mark Fawcett began reel him in. However, lap traffic would get in the way of Fawcett’s way during an attempted pass for the lead, allowing Pelrine to drive off and lead the final 2 laps and score his first win since 2019 at Merrittville Speedway. Fawcett was second with Rob Murray, Jim Lampman and Dave Bailey rounding out the top 5.
The caution waved early in Rona Doidge Building Centre Modified Lites action when Greg Zack spun on Lap 3. On the restart, Brent Begolo made his way through the field to take the lead. Josh Sliter attempted follow Begolo’s tracks, who he started along side in row four. However, clean air helped Begolo build a lead that never fell below .6 of a second. A caution with 2 laps to go for Ryan Anderson, set up a single file green-white-checkered finish. Josh Sliter had a great restart but would be unable to complete the pass, giving Begolo win number 6 of the season. Sliter was second, Sean Iftody third, Rob Misener fourth and Dillan Sliter 5th.
Hana Rothwell and Randy Alway were on the front row for the start of the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinder. On lap 2, Dylan Llord spun and collected Jay Moulton, Anthony Kelly and others that resulted in a red flag. Soon after the race restarted, Austyn Werstroh made contact with Randy Always and put the race back under caution. After the field began to click off clean laps, Ken Hair emerged as the leader. Tyler Lafantaisie would briefly take the lead before Hair fought back, with the two making contact while racing hard with under 5 laps to go. Hair would survive the charge to win his second feature of the season while Lafantaisie would settle for second. Clinton Barrick finished third, Trevor Deboer fourth, and Vincent Pagnotta fifth.
Dustin Duga of Welland made it 4 feature wins in 2022 as the V6’s once again opened the race night at Merrittville Speedway. Chris Mussat lost a tire, while Nick Hoffman lost an entire wheel after making contract with the front stretch wall. Duga would survive the restarts no problem to show once again why he was the 2021 V6 Track Champion. Zach Dmytrow finished second and Tina Ronning was third.
The second night of the Civic Holiday doubleheader weekend is set, as Baron Roofing presents the inaugural Canadian Grand Nationals on Monday August 1st. The 358 Modified’s will compete for a $5000 to win prize, while the DIRTcar Sportsman and Hoosier Stocks run for $3000 and $2500 respectively. $3000 will be awarded to winner of the Mod Lites feature, as well as the winner of the St. Catharines Husky Duel on the Dirt in the 4-cylinder class. Fans will also get in on the winning, as one lucky fan will win $1000, and one lucky kid in attendance will go home with 1000 pieces of candy. Pit gates will open at 5:00 pm, grandstands open at 5:30, and racing will begin at 7:00 pm.
RACE RESULTS –- July 30th, 2022
Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modifieds – RYAN SUSICE (2), Fred Carleton, Pete Bicknell, Scott Wood, Erick Rudolph, Gary Lindberg, Todd Gordon, Chad Chevalier, Luke Carelton, Dylan Davidson, Steve Bernier, Dave Flannigan Jr., Shayne Pierce, Dalton Slack, Brad Rouse, Tyler Willard, Ryan Ferri, Boyd MacTavish, Tom Neale, Derek VanMil, Brandon Gruhl, Mat Williamson
Qualifying Heats – Chad Chevalier, Dylan Davidson, Gary Lindberg
Right Choice Auto & Leisure Sportsman – CURTIS FRIESEN, Terry Smith, Justin Sharp, Cody McPherson, Rob Knapp, Trevor Wright, Billy Bleich Jr., Greg Panunte, Adam Leslie, James Friesen, Noah Mamo, Jay Mallory, Spencer Smolders, Jason VanMil, Jordan Cosco, Daniel McKay, Jesse Mason, Matteo Panunte, Nathan Peattie, Taylor Vanderzanden
Qualifying Heats: Adam Leslie, Greg Panunte, Terry Smith
Hoosier Stocks – KYLE PELRINE, Mark Fawcett, Rob Murray, Jim Lampman, Dave Bailey, Kraig Handley, Jason Fontaine, Donny Lampman, Zach Bleich, John Couture, Remington Price, Gofast Teeple, Rob Disher, Chris Schneider, Trevor Want, Jesse Duguay
Qualifying Heats: Jim Lampman, Zach Bleich
Rona Doidge Modified Lites – BRENT BEGOLO (6), Josh Sliter, Sean Iftody, Rob Misener, Dillan Sliter, R.J, Pietz, Tyler Winger, Chris Watson, Leroy Buscumb, Cohen Corbett, Dave Cornish, Ryleigh Sliter, Gavin Hill, Greg Zack, Ryan Anderson, Chance Kotar
Qualifying Heats – Josh Sliter, Brent Begolo
Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders – KEN HAIR, Tyler Lafantaisie, Clinton Barrick, Trevor Deboer, Vincent Pagnotta, Brian Aube, Mark Deagle, Anthony Kelly, Jordan Denobriga, Danny Wurster, Mason Anderson, John Lubeck, Hana Rothwell, Chris Laskey, Richard Hadler, Randy Alway, Niko Hansen, James McDonald, Scott Simpson, Ciera Keus, Austyn Werstroh, Sam Iftody, Dylan Llord, Jay Moulton, Rob Goulding, Kyle Rothwell.
Qualifying Heats – Ken Hair, Randy Always, Jay Moulton, Trevor DeBoer
V6’s – DUSTIN DUGA, Zach Dmytrow, Tina Ronning, Nick Hoffman, Chris Mussat
Qualifying Heat – Dustin Duga