Story By: JONATHON HOWE / MERRITTVILLE SPEEDWAY – THOROLD, ONT – Under a full moon at Merrittville Speedway, stock car racing wrapped up with two lengthy races and a visit from the Southern Ontario Sprints.
Cody McPherson of St. Catharines, Ontario put the icing on the cake of an amazing Merrittville campaign by winning the 50 Lap Right Choice Auto & Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman feature event.
Ryan Turner took home the win in the Southern Ontario Sprints event. Hagersville native Dave Bailey scored the win the Hoosier Stock St. Catharines Husky Duel on the Dirt Combined Race. Clinton Barrick from Port Colborne, Ontario won the Vansickle Pet Valu/PV On the Lane 4 Cylinder feature, while Dustin Duga of Welland, Ontario completed his perfect season in the V6 division.
Ryan Ferri and Terry Smith started on pole in the 50 lap DIRTcar Sportsman event but it was third place starter Cody McPherson who quickly went to the front of the field. The first of several cautions fell on lap 10 when Nelson Mason had a mechanical failure. The field stacked up on the restart with Jeff Panunte getting the worst of it and spinning. Just three laps later Justin Sharp brought out the yellow after contact with the inside wall. Then Spencer Smolders slowed a lap later on the restart for the fourth caution in 14 laps. A long green flag period brought James Friesen to Cody McPherson, and Friesen was even briefly alongside for the lead before snapping a drive shaft just past the halfway point in the race. Spins by Doug Walsh brought the caution out again with 10 and 6 laps to go, and on the final restart Adam Leslie emerged as the new challenger with Friesen out. Leslie, using a similar high line to Friesen, was able to catch McPherson but came up a few feet short in a photo finish. McPherson got the win, Leslie settled for second while Brad Rouse, Brent Begolo and Rob Knapp rounded out the top five.
The Southern Ontario Sprints made their final stop at Merrittville Speedway on Saturday Night. Liam Martin was the strongest car at first, quickly using the outside to get to the lead and then grow the margin significantly over Ryan Turner. However, a caution on lap six reset the field, and while initially strong on the restart, Martin’s car faded in lap traffic. The lap cars brought Ryan Turner to the back of Martin, and he was able to make quick work of Martin. Ryan Turner led the rest of the way, although Mitch Brown made it close, ultimately running out of time to make any serious moves on Turner, who won the 25-lap feature event over Brown, and Martin.
Chris Hale and Steve Shaw Sr. made up the front row of the 50 lap St. Catharines Husky Duel on the Dirt feature event. Hale and fourth place start Pete Reid were strong early, however both drivers would be collected in an incident when a lap car spun in front of the top five off corner two. Dave Bailey worked his way up from 11th starting spot to take the lead. The track champion for 2022 at Merrittville Speedway remain unchallenged for much of the race. Even on a late restart with 7 to go that erased an over seven second lead, the field had nothing for Bailey who won the final event of the year at Canada’s oldest dirt track. Justin Ramsay came home second, Ryan Beagle third, Rob Murray fourth and Ken Sargent fifth.
It was a frantic feature event for the Vansickle Pet Valu/ PV on the Lane 4 cylinders in their final event. Pole sitter Clinton Barrick made it one to remember by scoring the win. After a restart with 4 laps to go, Barrick found himself under challenge for the top spot where he had been all night. Trevor DeBoer came up to challenge for the win after a restart with 4 laps to go but Barrick wouldn’t be denied. Barrick scored the victory over Deboer, Leroy Buscumb, Matt Christie, and Austyn Werstroh.
In the final V6 exhibition feature of the year, Dustin Duga made it a perfect season. He dodged the mayhem on lap 1 when Joe Cushman and Nick Hoffman came together. On the restart, he took the lead and made it a perfect season, winning every feature on the season in the limited schedule for the division.
While Bobcat of Hamilton Weekly Racing has come to a close at Merrittville Speedway, some marquee events remain on the calendar. Next Saturday, September 17th, Tim Hortons Presents Wreckfest featuring a 100 lap enduro, school bus demolition derby and more. The show will begin at 6:00pm. Monsters of Merrittville presented by 97.7 HTZ-FM return September 24th with two show times at 1pm and 7pm. 6 monster trucks, Pro Rider Freestyle Motocross and multiple stunt shows will wow Merrittville crowds.
RACE RESULTS –- September 10th, 2022
Right Choice Auto & Leisure DIRTcar Sportsman – CODY MCPHERSON (8), Adam Leslie, Brad Rouse, Brent Begolo, Rob Knapp, Ryan Ferri, Billy Bleich Jr., Taylor Vanderzanden, Jay Mallory, Jordan Cosco, Trevor Wright, Mitch Dumont, Curtis Friesen, Jeff Panunte, Terry Smith, Noah Mamo, Nathan Peattie, Matteo Panunte, Doug Walsh, Cameron Lane, James Friesen, Spencer Smolders, Justin Sharp, Nelson Mason
Qualifying Heats – Cody McPherson, Billy Bleich Jr., Adam Leslie
Southern Ontario Sprints – RYAN TURNER, Mitch Brown, Liam Martin, Cory Turner, Jim Huppenen, Jake Brown, Jamie Turner, Glenn Styres, Kyle Phillips, Shone Evans, Todd Hoddick, Travis Cunningham, Aaron Turkey, Bailey Heard, Warren Mahoney
Qualifying Heats – Kyle Phillips, Liam Martin
Hoosier Stocks – DAVE BAILEY (10), Justin Ramsay, Ryan Beagle, Rob Murray, Ken Sargent, Steve Shaw Sr., Zach Bleich, Donny Lampman, Kyle Pelrine, Ron Loggie, Chris Hale, Calvin Fox, Dave Small, Kacey Huffman, Trevor Want, Jeff Larmet, Kevin Kocarik, Jim Lampman, John Dunn, Jason Fontaine, Gofast Teeple, Jeff Bean, Ross Crowe, Tyler French, Pete Reid, Wesley Burning
Qualifying Heats: Zach Bleich, Pete Reid, Ken Sargent
Vansickle Pet Valu/PV on the Lane 4 Cylinders – CLINTON BARRICK (3), Trevor DeBoer, Leroy Buscumb, Matt Christie, Austyn Werstroh, Vincent Pagnotta, Ken Hair, Anthony Kelly, Sam Iftody, John Lubeck, Doug Erskine, Danny Wurster, Richard Hadler, Hana Rothwell, Chis Laskey, Randy Always, James Marshall, John Couture, Tyler Lafantaisie, Jacob McIntyre, Braden Keus, Jordan Denobriga, Steve Ellis, Jay Moulton, Mason Anderson, Kyle Rothwell, Mark Deagle
Qualifying Heats – Sam Iftody, Leroy Buscumb, John Lubeck
V6’s – DUSTIN DUGA (6), Jeff Marsh, Zach Dmytrow, Nick Hoffman, Joe Cushman
Qualifying Heat – Dustin Duga