Story By: JONATHAN HOWE / MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY – THOROLD, ONT – Six divisions competed on Country 89 night at Merrittville Speedway on the penultimate point night of the year.
The Action Sprint Tour Fueled by Pinty’s made a return to Canada’s oldest dirt track with Port Colborne, Ontario native Jacob Dykstra winning the feature.
Mat Williamson of St. Catharines, Ontario made it 10 wins on the year in the Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modified’s.
Hagersville, Ontario’s Dave Bailey continued his winning ways in the Hoosier Stock’s, as did Thorold, Ontario’s Brent Begolo in the Rona Doidge Modified Lites. Ken Hair of Niagara Falls, Ontario won the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders feature and Dustin Duga of Welland, Ontario won the V6 feature.
Tanner Podwinski and Dave Flannigan Jr. led the field to green in the Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modified’s, with Flannigan leading early. Track championship contenders found their way to the front early, with Mat Williamson taking the lead from Flannigan with more than 20 laps to go. Points leader Ryan Susice made some aggressive moves to keep advancing positions through the field on route to a second-place finish. The caution free race allowed Williamson to manage his lead and take the win over Susice. Gary Lindberg came home third and Pete Bicknell fourth to keep themselves in championship contention heading into the final points race next Saturday, while Flannigan rounded out the top five finishers.
It was an opening lap for the ages from Jacob Dykstra, who started fourth and used the high line to advance to the lead in one lap in the Action Sprint Tour Fueled by Pinty’s feature event. Dykstra’s car was fast all race long and controlled the race while lapping nearly half the field. However, a caution on lap 22 set up a single file restart, placing 358 Modified Merrittville Speedway track champion from last season Mike Bowman right behind Dykstra. The 5D of Dykstra would prove to be unbeatable on this night and Dykstra claimed his 2nd crate sprint win of the year at Merrittville Speedway over Bowman, Brett Stratford, Mathieu Bardier and Darren Dryden.
The Hoosier Stocks opened their mostly green flag run with drivers running 2 and 3 wide, jockeying for position on the initial start of the feature. Quickly, Dave Bailey found his way to the front, chasing down and passing Kyle Pelrine who took the lead early after starting third. Bailey led the rest of the way, even after the caution came out on lap 19. The restart saw Bailey drive off to claim win number 9 over Pelrine, Pete Reid, Jason Fontaine, and Ken Sargent.
On Saturday night, Brent Begolo had to earn his 10th victory of the season. He started on row four alongside Josh Sliter, who chased Begolo throughout the race. There were 5 cautions in the event, including one incident that brought out the red flag, when R.J. Pietz spun off turn 2 and his vehicle flipped on its side after Being hit by Leroy Buscumb. Impressively enough, Pietz would rejoin the race later finishing 14th. While the restarts made things close between Begolo and Sliter, Begolo managed to do just enough to keep his good friend and championship rival at bay. Begolo got feature win number 10, extended his points lead, while Sliter came home second, Rob Misener was third, Tyler Winger fourth and Sean Iftody fifth.
A field of 22 cars put on a great show in the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders. James McDonald and Richard Hadler led the field to green, but it was Ken Hair who wasted no time getting to the front of the field and coming away with the lead. While other drivers got caught up in close quarters racing, fighting over positions, Hair was able to keep things clean up at the front to score his third feature win of the year. Vincent Pagnotta came home second, Tyler Lafantaisie third, all but sealing his track championship this season. Clinton Barrick was fourth and Austyn Werstroh fifth.
Dustin Duga continued his dominance in the V6’s at Merrittville. The driver who also now runs weekly in the 4 Cylinder class, won his fourth feature of the year. Zach Dmytrow was second, Chris Mussat third, Tina Ronning fourth, and Joe Cushman fifth.
The Merrittville Speedway community came together Saturday night to rally around one of their own. Several drivers collected money at intermission for Jessica Lynn, a photographer who had her camera destroyed after she was struck by a spinning race car the previous week. Thankfully, Jessica was back at the track this week, in good spirits while healing with only minor injuries. After over $2000 in generous donations from race fans, staff, and drivers, contributions from the Thorold Volunteer Firefighters Association and Thorold Legion, Merrittville Speedway’s Karting Club and Track Owner Don Spiece, the goal was met, and she will be able to return to shooting Race Cars and other photography soon.
Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing returns September 3rd at Merrittville Speedway for the 71st Season Championship Points Finale presented by Semenuks Esso. The event will be headlined by the 50 Lap John Spencer Memorial Race for the Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modified’s. Also in action will be the Right Choice Auto & Leisure Sportsman, Hoosier Stocks, Rona Doidge Modified Lites, and Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders. The School Bus Racing Series will cap off the night’s festivities. Pit gates will open at 5:00 pm, grandstands open at 5:30, and racing will begin at 7:00 pm.
RACE RESULTS –- August 27th, 2022
Corr/Pak Merchandising 358 Modifieds – MAT WILLIAMSON (10), Ryan Susice, Gary Lindberg, Pete Bicknell, Dave Flannigan Jr., Shayne Pierce, Brad Rouse, Chad Chevalier, Scott Wood, Ryan Ferri, Tanner Podwinski, Fred Carleton, Boyd MacTavish, Todd Gordon, Tom Neale, Derek VanMil, Luke Carleton
Qualifying Heats – Dave Flannigan Jr., Tanner Podwinski
Action Sprint Tour Fueled by Pinty’s – JACOB DYKSTRA, Mike Bowman, Brett Stratford, Mathieu Bardier, Darren Dryden, Adrian Stahle, Allan Downey, Jonah Mutton, Ashton VanEvery, Seth Roy, Johnny Miller, Sheldon Bender, Brian Nanticoke, Austin Roes, Lance Erskine, Tyeller Powless, Cam MacKinnon
Qualifying Heats – Adrian Stahle, Allan Downey, Jacob Dykstra
Hoosier Stocks – DAVE BAILEY (9), Kyle Pelrine, Pete Reid, Jason Fontaine, Ken Sargent, Jim Lampman, Donny Lampman, Gofast Teeple, Zach Bleich, Kyle Haynes, Brad Sheehan, John Couture, Jeff Bean, Chris Schneider, Mike Klazinga, Trevor Want
Qualifying Heats: Jason Fontaine, Pete Reid
Rona Doidge Modified Lites – BRENT BEGOLO (9), Josh Sliter, Rob Misener, Tyler Winger, Sean Iftody, Cohen Corbett, Ryan Anderson, Dillan Sliter, Dave Cornish, Chance Kotar, Ryleigh Sliter, Gavin Hill, Chris Watson, R.J. Pietz, Ray Sliter, Leroy Buscumb
Qualifying Heats – Brent Begolo, Josh Sliter
Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders – KEN HAIR (3), Vincent Pagnotta, Tyler Lafantaisie, Clinton Barrick, Austyn Werstroh, Trevor DeBoer, John Lubeck, Niko Hansen, Brian Aube, Anthony Kelly, Mark Deagle, Richard Hadler, Sam Iftody, Mike Giberson, Randy Always, Mason Anderson, James McDonald, Cierra Keus, Dave Winniger, Jeremy Hughes, Steven Ellis, Dustin Duga
Qualifying Heats – Trevor DeBoer, Vincent Pagnotta, Sean Iftody
V6’s – DUSTIN DUGA (4), Zach Dmytrow, Chris Mussat, Tina Ronning, Joe Cushman
Qualifying Heat – Dustin Duga